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Does anyone out there have a baby I could borrow?

COMEDIAN Maeve Higgins (31) takes us inside her surreal world with her new book, We Have A Good Time, Don't We? -- including attending a Pilates class for mums and babies and realising, oops, she didn't have a baby

Ask anyone at all and they'll tell you: my pelvic floor is super-tight. That's the kind of statement I was hoping to be able to make right after my first Pilates class two years ago. I didn't realise a couple of things.

It takes a while to figure out where your pelvic floor actually is. You can't really tell from the outside whether or not someone has a super-tight pelvic floor, unless they are doing some kind of public show about it.

Oh, and I hadn't expected that at times, Pilates feels like a sex class, but not in a sexy way. More like 'going through a series of moves from a particularly mechanical sex manual' way, specifically when the teacher tells you to squeeze, lift and then zip up your jeans.

Luckily, that distracting idea darted away quickly when we went on to the Bridge and the Hundred, and all I could think about was trying to stay as steady as the girl beside me.


That was one curious thing about the class I joined in my local community centre: it was all women. I didn't think too much about it. Although I'm not exactly a doctor, I am a woman, and can say with complete authority that it's important for women to take care of their pelvic floors. Pilates helps you do that, as do Kegel exercises (a pelvic floor exercise which consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor).

Top tip: a fun thing to do when you're out on the town with your girlfriends is to guess when they're doing their Kegels. I do that, and it's easy. We'll be sitting in a pub and they'll be telling everyone about the book they're reading, and suddenly I'll cut across them. "Now?" I shout. "Are you doing them now?"

If I've guessed right, they have to buy me a small bag of roasted peanuts as a reward.

Another ideal spot is in the cinema -- I simply lean across and whisper: "Are you Kegeling right night?"

If their answer is: "Stop being such a creep Maeve", I sit back, disappointed in them and do not offer them any more Minstrels.

So, back to my first Pilates class. The teacher made a short speech in the beginning, about how we were going to reclaim our bodies, build up a strong core once more, and take this one hour a week for ourselves and ourselves alone. She had me at "reclaim". I actually love when women talk like that.

The first few weeks were tricky. I realised early on that because so much happens on the inside, I could get away with lying on the mat and kind of doing nothing, except maybe just the breathing part. Then I manned up, really applied myself and started to figure it out. At the end of the first six weeks, our teacher said: Okay everyone -- next week bring your small ones: it's a Mammy-and-me class.

I scoffed and looked around, but everybody was nodding and rolling up their mats as if there was nothing strange about her assuming we all had babies. That's when I figured out that it was a Pilates class for new mothers, more specifically, as the woman in charge of the community centre later told me, a Dublin City Council class for unmarried mothers.


It suddenly made sense that everyone looked so tired! It also explained the empowering speech at the start and one of my classmate's neck tattoos that read: Only God Can Judge Me. I loved the class, so kept schtum and spent the next day phoning around friends and family to see if they had a reasonably toned baby (preferably with dark curly hair and a side fringe) that I could borrow, just for an hour. I'm a smart cookie, see? A smart cookie with, at this stage, a reasonably tight pelvic floor.

We Have A Good Time, Don't We? by Maeve Higgins, published by Hachette Books, price €14.99