I don’t know about you, but after I gave birth, I expected some serious adoration, praise, and general worship. A small eulogy on the wonders of my cervix or a small (cushioned) pedestal would not have gone amiss. However, like most women who give birth in hospital, it was quickly made clear that as a new mother I was not, in fact, a goddess, but part of a prime consumer market.
Most rites of passage involve symbolic gift giving, and so it is with hospital birth. You will be visited by men and women in strange outfits who will proffer words of wisdom and hand you … The Bounty Bag. This is a plastic bag containing a disparate collection of ‘goodies’ supplied by various companies who, make no mistake, do not love you. Sorry, but they just want your baby bucks.
This demented version of the frankincense, gold and myrhh story usually consists of some leaflets about formula breast milk, a free nappy, some leaflets, a pot of Sudocrem, some leaflets, baby wipes and some leaflets. And just in case you are in any doubt about your new role as Queen of the Laundry, there will also be a sample of washing powder. WASHING POWDER!!!!!! What is this? 1952?
SOD THAT! This is what should actually be in The Bounty Bag:
1. A medal. This should ideally be forged from enough quality gold that it equates to the value of lost income over a lifetime that every mother experiences.
2. A big vat of chicken soup containing all the nutrients a new mother needs. Also, several laminated copies of the recipe to be handed to friends and relatives with the words, “Do not arrive on my doorstep without tupperware filled with this.”
3. Another laminated sign aimed at parents and in-laws that reads, “No advice necessary. You have already shown me all you can about parenting.”
4. A tube of Touche Eclat and the sort of mirror Dorian Gray might use.
6. Some sort of wank machine for your partner, or alternatively some “Closed for Business Until Further Notice” stickers that fit nicely across your newly arranged croissant.
7. An electronic sanding machine to run over your nipples thereby toughening them up for breastfeeding.
8. Gin. Oh God, have I said that already?
What have I missed?