Charlotte Philby's Parental Leave: 'I suppose you see things like that all the time?' 'No,' says the sonographer

A mother's weekly dispatch from the pre-school frontline

Sunday, 5pm, sprawled beneath a blanket in front of Three Men and a Baby, with the four-year-old. "Ahhh," I begin gently, sensing my moment. "That's a sweet baby, isn't it?" No reply. I pause briefly, and then: "Do you think one day you might like another little baby around like that?"

At the sound of my own words, I am struck by a sudden flashback. It is 16 months previously in the maternity ward and I am lying, marooned on my back, my belly smothered in a thick, cold, jelly-like substance, while a beautiful young Spanish sonographer fumbles around my tummy with a large plastic prod.

In the corner of my eye I'm vaguely aware of the outline of our first-born, aged two, a few steps away. "I don't want to look at the baby any more." Well, I say, we won't be long, mummy just needs to see... Whereupon the sonographer cries out: "No, look!" I turn just in time to find my daughter, trousers around her ankles, halfway through a significantly dirty protest.

Launching myself from the bed, I scoop her up, entrails and all, and scuttle towards the bathroom, past a queue of horrified mothers-to-be, my top still tucked up into my bra. When I return five minutes later, I look desperately at my witness: "I'm so sorry..." I say, "but I suppose you must see things like that all the time?" She looks up with the tightest of smiles: "No".

Back in present day, a voice filters through as the closing credits roll on the film. "What, mummy?" I look down at her, my blood cold. Nothing, I say, lunging for the Digestives. Biscuit?

motherland.net

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