By KATE HUNTER
Or may I call you Kate? You can call me that, by all means.
You might not believe this, but we have a lot in common besides our names: tall husbands, fathers-in-law who’ve been in the military, AND we both played hockey at school! We’re practically twins.
Anyway, I just thought I’d drop you this quick note to wish you the best for the arrival of the little one. I hope all goes well, and that you and William get to enjoy a bit of privacy before the world completely loses its mind because you’ve given birth.
Now, I have three children of my own, so I feel well qualified, along with every other parent on the planet, to offer you a few words of advice on what to name your baby. Also on how to feed, dress, sleep and educate him or her. But I won’t, because you seem pretty smart. Plus, your baby is loved and wanted. Those kids normally do okay.
What I will do is tell you a story which may or may not interest you during those first weeks. Granted, you might find sitting down with a packet of Jaffa Cakes and a Hello magazine does the job perfectly well. Up to you.
Anyway, in 2001 I rocked (or more accurately, waddled), into the Prince Of Wales (!!!) hospital in Sydney to deliver my first baby.
I was put into a room with another woman, also called Kate. Brusque questioning by nursing staff revealed we are both married to men named James, are both christened Katherine (with a K), share the same middle name (Louise) and were born in the October of 1967, three days apart. Our babies were delivered by the same doctor, within an hour of each other.
Really quite amazing when you think of it, but at the time, it wasn’t even interesting. We were about to have babies then no doubt go on to redefine modern motherhood. You’re probably thinking the same thing right now. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but there might be days where you’ll wish you’d got yourself a goldfish.
For Kate and I, the next few days were a blur of learning to breastfeed and trying to sleep. We were in separate rooms by then, but we’d pass each other on the way to baby-bathing class, and smile in an exhausted, terrified kind of way.
Not a lot of conversation happened, but the morning we were discharged (both of us, I think, stunned we were deemed competent to take our babies home) we swapped phone numbers and talked vaguely about, ‘catching up’.
I don’t think either of us thought we’d do it. Why would we need to? Both of us had lots of friends, great husbands and careers we could stay involved in, even during our time off.
Fast forward six weeks. My tears splashed onto my Vegemite toast. I was lonely. I missed my job. Most of my pals were still working, and those that had small children had them of the WRONG AGE.