I’VE never been one for diets, detoxes, abstinence, or self-denial. Life is too short. Yet it can be long too, and that’s why doing the odd naughty thing that may or may not shorten it but will certainly enliven it can be good for you too.
After all, no matter how much we slap anti-wrinkle cream on our drying cheeks or dye on our greying hair, the inevitable is coming. Why not have a little fun before the last train leaves the station?
This has been my way of life for the past decade. (Before that, my philosophy was basically never be the first to leave a party) It’s a case of maintaining a sensitive equilibrium. You can smoke the odd roll-up, for example, if you do some form of exercise five days a week. You can have a glass of wine every night if you accompany it with good food and a good mood. You can eat whatever you like as long as it’s a small-ish portion. It’s essentially a less insane version of the 5:2 Diet. The Happy 7, if you like.
Imagine the confusion, then, that came with a positive pregnancy test. How was the Happy 7 going to be accommodated now? For the first time in my adult life I was going to have to deny myself the things that make me happy. For nine months, certainly. And then, hopefully, for another six months of breastfeeding. I was looking at 15 months of abstinence at the very least. Would I be able to be happy without my daily quotas of naughtiness?
The social or perhaps antisocial experiment is well into its third trimester now. It’s almost month nine in the Ramaswamy house and I’m writing this in a hair shirt, bouncing on a birth ball, supping on a smoothie the colour of pond scum, and reading a book called Hypnobirthing: A Natural Approach To A Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing. Joke! I’m wearing a silk kimono, not a hair shirt…
Seriously, everyone says that pregnancy changes you, but no one mentions that it turns you into a Seventies hippy. In true Woodstock fashion even your hair gets bigger (it stops falling out during pregnancy). A friend told me the other day that I remind him of “that folk dude in Searching For Sugarman”.
Anyway, alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine, late nights, lie-ins, belts, anything scary or sad on the telly, runny yolk, raw meat and fish, oozy smelly cheese… all this is gone from my life. It’s been remarkably easy, largely thanks to the psychology of distraction. When you have a new life strumming your belly, there’s not much time to miss your old life.
It’s funny, though, how new sources of pleasure emerge where others have dried up. Bath bombs, for example. They are my new jam – rose ones, avocado ones, bubbly ones, silky ones. Bath bombs are basically the nicotine replacement therapy of pregnancy. Also: full cream milk, Reese’s Pieces, leggings, bras, Cheerios, yoga, San Pellegrino fizzy grapefruit juice, sleep, bananas, Beethoven symphonies, cake, Paul O’Grady’s For The Love of Dogs, Fifties romantic comedies, pillows, and baby oil. I honestly never thought spending five minutes rubbing baby oil into my belly would be as good as a 21-year-old Islay malt, but there you have it. And who knows what all of this will be replaced by once Boyo comes… I can’t wait to find out.