What pregnant women don’t tell you (and a temporary goodbye)

I wrote this column at the start of my pregnancy when I felt freaked out, like I was playing host to Sigourney’s ALIEN, and guilty about not having any maternal feelings. If this is you, THIS IS NORMAL. Maternal feelings DO come in their own time (sometimes six months after the birth), and I’m happy to report that I’m now quite bonded with my little alien. Which is fortunate, as his foot is lodged somewhere round my liver, and is due to come out literally any minute.  I’ll be taking a little break from the blog while I figure out food/cuddles/poo/keeping-cats-off-baby’s-airway, but I look forward to coming back when normal brain function returns. 

Before getting pregnant, I viewed pregnancy the same way I viewed the gluten-free: something other people did and were smug-annoying about.

Things I wish I’d known:

Could a ‘growth mindset’ be the real secret to success?

By conventional measures, David Fitter is the picture of success. After almost a decade playing rugby for the Australian Wallabies, he decided to become a doctor. (As you do.)

Now in his second year as a medical resident, he’s taken up skateboarding in his downtime. Not put off by the stares of local kids, he’s just mastered the 180 varial kickflip. But according to Fitter the key to his success is that he’s never naturally been good at anything.

‘White flight’ in schools: it’s not about racism

I wrote this in a fury after a report in Melbourne’s Age newspaper claimed that parents who didn’t send their children to local disadvantaged schools were racist. It was published in the the Opinion section and was the site’s most read (and commented on) of the day. I was heartened that amidst the predictable – and somewhat illogical – personal attacks (‘ur white! & denying racism! So u must b racist!’) the piece did trigger a wider discussion on education and resources. 

What are they playing at, these smug, middle-class families deserting their local state school just because it’s next to commission housing? (White flight: race segregation in Melbourne state schools) How dare those “Greens-voting, socially liberal” white families drain these “sink schools” of their affluence and high-achieving Charlottes, Matildas, Ollies and Finns?

The secret world of sex addiction

As a writer, you don’t always finish a piece and think ‘Jeez, I’m glad I did that one’. But was fascinating and humbling to talk to these three lovely people about their experience, and I hope some readers get something out of it:

WHAT comes to mind when you think of sex addicts in recovery?

Sleazy men in trench coats trying to have sex with nymphomaniac Girls Gone Wild? Platoons of strippers who love their jobs more than is healthy? Or perhaps it’s the image of yet another celebrity caught in a cheating scandal, vowing to “get help”?

The benefits of getting a ‘signature look’

(My personal signature look is currently ‘Pregnant Scozzer’. Think coral Target maternity t-shirt paired with diamente earrings and a tight pony-tail. That’s #practicalglamour)

THE ‘French chic’ look has become a bit of a cliche. Target’s Jean Paul Gaultier collection — striped tops, capri pants, ballet flats — almost designs itself.

But in reality, it’s not that there’s one thing that all French women do well — it’s that they all do one thing (whether it’s hair, wardrobe or make-up) so well that the rest doesn’t matter. In short, they understand the power of a signature look.

How to double your wardrobe without buying a thing

This piece first appeared over at news.com.au. I’ve been wanting to write about sustainability, but since that’s kind of boring/worthy to read about, I figured ‘doubling your wardrobe’  was a good trojan horse. What you reckon?  

We all have those ‘old reliables’ in our closets we turn to on our fat days, our ‘don’t have anything to wear’ days and our ‘can’t be arsed but want to feel presentable’ days.

What your doctor is really thinking

Ever wondered how ER doctors treat a Viagra overdose?* They see us at our most vulnerable yet they don’t bat an eye. But what’s really going through your doctor’s mind as you peel down your pants? I interviewed a ER doctor for this piece; we chatted embarrassing bodies, anti-vaxxers, the ‘worried well’, drugs and addiction.

(*they ‘cut it to let the blood out’)

Why ‘good manners’ disadvantage women

If the foundations of good manners are caring for others’ comfort, listening more than you speak, and glossing over the poor manners of others, “good manners” actually grossly disadvantage women.

Two days after I moved into my house, our new handyman Pete came to fix the windows. After showing him the problem, I made a polite retreat to my home office. Pete called out a regular commentary on all things window, and when he was done making them worse (“I’ll need to come back and take the whole frame apart!”) I got up to politely see him out.

Must motherhood kill your creative career?

I found out I was pregnant the same day a literary agent agreed to represent the manuscript I’d sent her.

Friends and family were ecstatic – about the baby. I interpreted this as ‘having a baby is more important than that writing-hobby-thing you do’. Having a baby is undoubtedly more life-changing, yet I felt a much greater sense of achievement about the book. Finishing it required huge sacrifices and – regardless of the outcome – altered me as a person. Getting pregnant required functional ovaries and a calendar.