I'd never given the American pop star Jessica Simpson much thought before. Nice blond hair, reality TV show origins, some songs I can't remember. Until last week, when she became so fully gestational that all her famous friends started banging on about it. "Has Jessica Simpson had that baby yet?! I'm getting anxious," tweeted fellow pop star Katy Perry. TV presenter Chelsea Handler, recently voted one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine, asked much the same thing, only worse: "How has Jessica Simpson still not given birth to this baby? I'm getting frightened." At the risk of suggesting that a woman who hasn't had a baby might not know as much about the subject as one who has, it is clear that neither Perry nor Handler know what it is to be very, very pregnant.
When you are very, very pregnant, the size of two small countries that have recently forged a political union and are setting up a communal parliament somewhere to the north of your groin, you are often quite keen to stop being so. You tend to want to have the baby, this being why you got up the duff in the first place. You walk around feeling like the expository dialogue at the start of a bad drama series that clunkily tries to explain who the characters are and why they are there. You are the support act, thrilled to have the gig at all, but increasingly aware that everyone has come to see the headline band.
They're impatient. It rarely occurs to them that you might be impatient too. That you have now had so much advice about curries, pineapple chunks and raspberry leaf tea that you are taking these products intravenously while goosestepping up hilly streets with one foot on the curb and one foot off, like the world's only voluntary applicant for the North Korean military. That, despite all this, the baby will be born when it is ready and not a moment sooner, unless it does come out a moment sooner, or several weeks sooner, in which case it's also FINE, the hospitals really are marvellous now, PLEASE STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT.
I was lucky enough to have a very comfortable pregnancy, despite my bump looking as if it had been put there by a rogue fertility doctor flouting the multiple embryo laws. But because of having the memorable due date of 11 September, and having told everybody (including someone who turned out to be Osama bin Laden's niece – that was a weird party), I then had to fend them off as I went not one, not two, but nearly three weeks overdue.
So many Facebook friends asked if I hadn't had that bloody baby yet that I deleted my wall. Others texted constantly. I started to feel like that Jacky Fleming postcard where the smug looking post-coital bloke says "Did you come?" and the woman beside him goes, "No. When I come I go aaaaaahhAAAAHHHaaaahh." So please, if somebody you know is very, very pregnant, ring for a chat about Rihanna's latest song, or Jeremy Hunt's future, or, you know, bees. Just don't ask if she's quite sure she hasn't had that bloody baby yet.