October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's often thought of as the pink and fluffy form of cancer, but when you've seen it from the inside, it's anything but. A breast cancer diagnosis can quickly turn from a distant nightmare into a surreal but grim reality where you have conversations you never thought possible and plan for things that it physically hurts you to think about.
When I was at primary school in the late 80s, if you liked a boy, it was pretty much law that you had to test out your future married name in a variety of felt-tip colours and swirly writing styles before doing anything so rash as talking to him.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Everyone says it. You'll be up half the night so you should have a nap when the baby does. When I had my son, three years ago, I didn't listen.
I've been a good girl this year. I've tried really hard not to have tantrums in the supermarket and I haven't bitten a single one of my friends. I hope I'm on the good list, because there are a few things I'd like for Christmas. If it's possible, please bring me: 1.A lie-in.
Can we talk about religion for a minute? I'm not evangelical, I promise. I'm a devout atheist. I always have been. My husband is too, and so our children are being brought up without religion. When they're old enough to make their own decisions, they can do so. It's pretty simple, really.
When I was sixteen, my family relocated and I had to start at a new school. It was hideous. Being the new girl is awful; everyone's trying to work out whether you're worth getting to know while simultaneously ignoring you. I made some very good friends, but it took bloody ages.
Pregnancy can be an anxious time, so finding a lump in my breast on the morning of my 20 week scan was far from ideal. Being diagnosed with breast cancer a month later was worse still. I was 35, surely too young to worry about things like that?
So there you are, sitting on the floor in your lounge, surrounded by presents and discarded wrapping paper. Perhaps you're six, and your mum's flapping about the turkey being dry while your dad tops up her sherry and Slade plays on the radio.