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Tent life debut of fearless mother

THE one thing that having a child has done for me - aside from learning what 5.30am looks like while sober, growing a belly that looks like it is made of comedy foam rubber and suddenly being the kind of person who gets smiled at in the street, learning that I could, if I had to, chop a man to death with my bare hands if he insinuated Dora's insistence on wearing mis-matched socks is anything other than the work of a genius - is made me fearless.

I used to be so squeamish that I couldn't even watch Itchy and Scratchy, the cat and mouse on The Simpsons. Even animated violence made me cover my eyes, and I knew that, when it got dark, Bob from Twin Peaks took up his usual hiding place on top of the bathroom door, waiting to pounce on me. Going into labour changes all of that. It's a woman's war. You come out of it adult. Frankly there is nothing I could ever endure that would be worse than a four-day posterior labour with four failed epidurals and 20 hours on an accelerant drip. That kind of pain marathon burns all the idiot fears out of you.

The first thing I did when I came out of hospital was watch the scene in Gladiator where someone gets their head cut off. I actually laughed at his pain because it had not lasted four days or involved wearing a back-fastening paper gown.

All of this explains why, by the time you read this, I will have spent this year's Glastonbury Festival, just me and Dora, in a two-man tent. Now my fear has receded that some wild half-man, half-creature will come pressing his face against my canvas, I'm actually looking forward to living in Third World conditions with a toddler. I like the fact that it will all be very simple. All I have to do is look after my cub, and all she has to do is understand that the bosoms in the Naked Trampolining Bosom Field really aren't anything to do with her breakfast.

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