AS Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex prepare for their baby, here are some of the ridiculous things first-time parents think.
1. You can control labour with a "birth plan", some tinkly music and candles. Believe me, the very last thing you'll be thinking about is your bloody play list when you are sweating, screaming and stark naked in a room full of people. Too much detail? The only plan you need is a safe delivery for both of you. Giving birth either by hipster hypnosis doesn't make you a better mother. That all comes down to the actual parenting afterwards - you know, the part nobody seems to bother planning.
2. The baby will be like a pet. Before you have a child, you have no idea. You think it will be somewhat like looking after a puppy - you just feed it, pat it, and put it down where it will snuffle about a bit and go to sleep while you enjoy a glass of red. The reality is, of course, your child will demand all of your time forever until you feel like you are losing your marbles and you will NEVER sleep again. Not to alarm you or anything.
3. It will fit into your schedule. Er, no. Before I had my first baby I declared to my boss that my unborn child would "just have to fit into my life" as I confidently told him I would be back to work full-time in a few months. I pretended not to notice the flicker that traversed his face. The baby didn't and I wasn't.
4. You will still be able to go out. Nope, not that, either. You could tentatively pencil something in for 2020 perhaps, but best not commit. Look, there are those impressive parents that hotfoot it out with bubs sleeping quietly in a car seat while they enjoy a slap-up meal but they're freaks.
5. You can play dress-ups with adorable outfits. Well you can, but they will vomit all over them as you are about to leave the house. You may start off buying Burberry baby clothes but a few months later they will be in Bonds like everyone else, when you discover newborn poo is neon yellow and never comes out. Oh, and as soon as your child can speak it will refuse to wear anything other than a Batman outfit accessorised with wellies and swimming goggles. To a wedding.
6. You need 867 baby gadgets. Nappy bin, changing caddy, bottle warmer, baby swing… before you give birth you mistakenly believe every item in Babies R Expensive is essential. You need it all and you need it piled up ready before you deliver, or parenting just won't work. I remember flapping about whether I should get a high chair before my first child was born. By baby number three I hadn't bought anything other than a box of nappies and a onesie. Relax. You don't need a mountain of stuff. None of it will make your job significantly easier; frankly you will have no idea what you are doing, whether you have a wipes warmer or not.