Claudia Winkleman: Take It From Me

'Almost from the minute after you've lit your fag and said, 'That wasn't unpleasant', you start to heave a little'


According to French scientists with a laser machine, Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa looks like she's in a slightly odd mood because she's pregnant. They discovered that she's wearing a smock, something that women in 16th-century Italy wore before giving birth. There's been a lot of "Ah, well, that makes sense" - mainly from men.

Let's analyse this further. If you've either had a baby or lived with someone having yours, you will have noticed the following pregnancy characteristics.


This starts early. Almost from the minute after you've lit your fag and said: "That wasn't unpleasant," (my favourite line - and no, my husband doesn't like it much) you start to heave a little.

It's not startling at first, just a small tummy rumble. You go to a restaurant and someone orders haddock, and a tiny bit of sick shoots up the back of your throat. You put it down to prawn madras the night before and tuck into the bread.

Then the waves of nausea grow. It's two weeks in and the bunch of cells in your stomach make you feel like you're on a rollercoaster. You do a test; both the windows have a blue line. After the initial hooray, you've got your head down the loo.

Even if you're not actually following through with a whole bucket of sick, you feel like you want to hurl 24/7. This might in fact be worse because there's no let-up. Instead of old asparagus coming out of your mouth, you just need to spit all the time. No one is supposed to know you're pregnant at this point, so your friends who turn up waving bottles of gin don't understand why you keep guzzling fizzy water, eating breadsticks and dribbling on bits of tissue. The sick thing lasts about 16 weeks and by the end you can't be arsed to get to a bathroom any more. Your home is covered in small mounds of vomit.


This mounts as the months go on but the hormone surge at the beginning really kicks it off.

There's an ad on the telly. A small boy waves goodbye to his dad, a puppy makes friends with an aloe vera plant, and a friend offers another friend a tortilla chip. It's all too much. The weeping begins and it doesn't stop for 40 weeks. Your boyfriend says you don't look chubby and you crumple on the floor in a heap, gently rocking and moaning "thank you". Someone hums the theme tune to Titanic on the bus and you cry out: "Why did Jack have to die?"


"Could you just get me a beer from the fridge, babe?" is replied to with an "ARE YOU MAD?" Brushing your teeth and choosing another pair of elasticated rayon trousers feels like you've walked up Everest. Phoning directory enquiries to get the number for Domino's ("Yes it's, um, for four people and could you just throw in some potato wedges for the morning?") is exhausting. People keep asking if you're doing pregnancy yoga like Gwyneth and you want to cry.


You love life. You're making a tiny little baby and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" goes round and round inside your head.

Then people start sharing their opinions. "Seriously though, you're not going to actually call it Fred, are you?" A relative enquires whether you really need that sip of red wine, and people you've never met before retell their birth stories. "I crapped myself during labour"; "Craig hasn't been able to get it up since"; or "You're going to feel such pain, you should consider a general anaesthetic."

The "isn't life good" frame of mind quickly turns into "I HATE EVERYONE". As the months drag on and more strangers come up to have a feel of your bump ("You don't mind, do you?") and every single person you meet wants to know when and where you're having it, if you're going to be going for the non-painkiller option (that'll be a no) and if you're going to let your husband film "the messy end", you start grinding your teeth with anger.


You start the pregnancy thinking that, Posh Spice-like, you'll eat grilled fish and rocket. By week three you're making risotto for breakfast. The peanut butter talks to you all day, and large hunks of cheddar are eaten as a matter of course. You go from one stone heavier to FOUR stone heavier. You look and feel like Roseanne Barr (pre-tummy tuck) and decide that the only thing left to do for the remainder of the pregnancy is eat. You can't buy knickers in Topshop and you can't get pissed on vodka, so that only leaves family boxes of Celebrations to spend your money on.


This kicks in towards the end, and it's so powerful you can't smirk - let alone smile. Magpies that you haven't even seen are saluted. Umbrellas are banned from the house (even if it's January) and wishbones are pulled with such fervour you almost break your finger. You lie in bed at night praying and praying to a god you've never believed in that your baby is going to be all right.

Boys, Mona Lisa wasn't pregnant. She isn't fat, there's no sick on her chin, she's smiling and she doesn't look like she wants to MURDER someone. She might have just bought a great new dress, she might even have had the shag of her life, but I promise you, she wasn't up the duff.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
MP David Lammy would become the capital’s first black mayor if he won the 2016 Mayoral election  

Crime, punishment and morals: we’re entering a maze with no clear exit

Simon Kelner

The two most important parts of Obama’s legacy could be on the brink of collapse, and this time there's no back-up plan

David Usborne
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn