There’s nothing that’s both as exciting and scary at the same time as starting a family. Whether you’re coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy, or meticulously following a life plan, it’s natural to feel at least a little lost as the bump grows and the big day of arrival looms. Perhaps you’ve been trying for years, and finally found success from IVF or with a little help from a fertility acupuncture specialist’s sessions, and now the mood has turned from frustrating periods when trying to conceive to the nervous but excited anticipation of your child’s entry into the world.

Of course, no-one knows exactly when the time will come, unless for some medical reason you need intervention which could be planned well in advance. What’s more likely is that you’re reading up on creating your birth plan and taking part enthusiastically in antenatal classes or even aquanatal classes.

If there’s one thing that you need to remember, it’s that you’re about to find out how many opinions there are in the world. Everyone you know is about to demonstrate how good they are at opinions, even if they hate kids, have no kids and have never even seen kids. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that you missed the class at school where they explained to everyone in great detail how to bring up children, yet everyone else remembers it perfectly (even if they all remember different rules)!

That’s not what’s going to help you though. What really helps is remembering that the human race did just fine without opinions for thousands of years, just as it did without gas and air, paracetamol, birthing pools and an epidural! If you find yourself wishing that the baby will just hurry up, why not spend some time looking in the mirror and practicing the face that looks like you’re listening while your brain is thinking “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!….”. It’s going to happen, and it will probably be your mother in front of you, or someone else you would normally hold dear.

My dear old mum gave me the advice that I’d know I was in labour because I’d feel like I was dying. Not only was it possibly the most unhelpful thing she has ever said (particularly as advice) but it was also totally not what it felt like. Not sure why I’m surprised about that though in hindsight! Perhaps I should have just emailed the never croaking agony aunt from this morning for help with my ailments instead. Thanks mum.