Colette Fitzpatrick: Being pregnant is carte blanche to anyone who wants to cop a feel. Hands off my bump, guys
I'M sending a T-shirt to Holly Willoughby that says 'Hands Off My Bump'.
Not 'Baby on Board', 'Big Mutha' or 'Mommy to Be'.
Holly announced on TV this week that she's expecting her second child. My T-shirt is a directive -- 'back off or I'll grab one of your love handles'.
It's one of the things I'm most looking forward to in a few weeks' time. Not having to put up with people I barely know rubbing my stomach and commenting on how I'm 'all there' or 'so neat'.
Being pregnant seems to be a carte blanche for space invaders who want to cop a feel. You may be bigger, but you're not a brood mare. In other circumstances, you'd have them for assault.
Why Holly told the world so soon is a mystery to me. She'll just have to spend more time fielding questions such as whether or not she's having a glass of wine, was it planned, can she remember the conception, if she's going for pain relief.
Amateur gynaecologists, especially the male ones, are intriguing. Please don't ask me if the baby's engaged. It sounds like we're going to war. And 'we're' not pregnant. Last time I checked 'I' was the one with the child inside me and he was the one packing in as much socialising as he can, in anticipation of the prohibition that's inflicted with a new baby.
Am I reading Gina Ford? Have I heard of the baby whisperer? Yes and yes and now I feel under even more pressure to have a robot baby that sleeps and eats on cue. Yes it's a milestone in your life, but even rats multiply. They seem to get by just fine without endless advice on which oils to use to avoid stretch marks.
I kept my own pregnancy under wraps for as long as I could, though I was camouflaging a bump with sheets of paper, loose clothing and keeping my jeans on with a straining hair bobbin.
I'm sure the Miss Marples around the office copped, but were too polite to say anything, but at least it lessened the time I had to defend and explain my decisions to the Mommy Mafioso.
I remind them that some of the things that our own mothers did would land them in jail now, and we're all still here to tell the tale.
Dressing for TV is challenging; it really does make you look a little bigger.
But a jacket a few sizes up and a camera head on makes a baby bump almost invisible. It's there alright; ask my co-anchor and he'll tell you stories about straining buttons, and unzipped waistbands.
I'm reliably informed that the bump is with you for quite a while after you've given birth. Then maybe, when someone asks me when my baby is due, I'll have the chance to say, 'I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat', just to see the look on their face.