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festivals

The particular sadnesses of a pregnant woman at Glastonbury

Oh hi there, I’m the fucking worst. This time last year, you see, I was at Glastonbury for free on my husband’s press pass.

I was washing in the hospitality area’s only slightly traumatic facilities (as opposed to the fully PTSD-flavoured ones the public had to use). I was sleeping in a weather-proof Wendy house instead of a tent. I had unlimited access to the backstage VIP area.

And I was fucking miserable.

I mean miserable. I scowled through a DJ set at Bloc 9. I threw a legitimate tantrum because my husband had the temerity to do his actual job for a couple of hours and, while he was away, I fell over briefly. I cried when the Pixies played, because they were so old and sour-looking.

I know. I know. I am the worst.


In my defence, I was two months pregnant.

And I wasn’t a good, glowy, blooming content sort of pregnant – I was in the stage where you just want to go to bed forever and shut the world out. I was hormonally unpleasant to be around.

Let me be clear, I went to Glastonbury voluntarily. I’d been to a million Glastonburys in my teens and loved then, so I assumed I’d enter into the spirit of things once I got there. But I entirely failed to do this.

I hated the mud. I hated the noise. I hated tramping for miles through soggy filth only to end up at the arse-end of a crowd, downwind of the loos, watching tiny people on a faraway stage perform songs that I ALREADY OWNED STUDIO VERSIONS OF.

I hated being buffeted by loud, happy fools who kept walking into me without psychically intuiting that I was pregnant. I hated not being able to drink. I hated how it wasn’t the 1990s and I wasn’t 16 and The Orb wasn’t playing and I wasn’t on some dodgy mushrooms having the time of my life.

Most of all, though, I hated being such an ingrate. I was here on The Guardian’s buck, and was probably spoiling Stuart’s first Glastonbury, but I didn’t seem to be able to stop being such a buzzkill.

My feet hurt. My back hurt. I kept having to throw up every couple of hours (a month after this I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum), and I’m afraid to say I got quite whiny about the loos. I very specifically wanted to be on my sofa watching TV and getting a foot rub, and I was biologically opposed to anything that wasn’t that. I think I tried to persuade my husband that we should go to bed early on Friday night, and not in a sexy way.

Things improved markedly on Saturday, though, and I put that down to one horrendously obnoxious revelation.

I saw her dancing aimlessly in the Green Fields while I was glumming around in the rain, halfheartedly contemplating getting some sort of hemp aura massage: a happy pregnant woman.

There she was, contentedly swaying in the drizzle, her bump protruding prettily under her tie-dye skirt, all beads and ear-cuffs and smiles. She seemed perfectly happy to be here in the middle of this stupid field with all these trustafarians. She didn’t seem like she was going to lose her mind over a spilled chai tea latte like I had that morning.

Maybe, I thought, I should learn from her example, let go of some of this preggo angst, and make the most of things.

But then I thought, maybe fuck her.

Maybe fuck her stupid dreadlocks and her stupid band of adorable mop-haired children probably all called Fern, and her stupid crocheted bra top, and her stupid tan and scruffy partner and circle skirt and open smile and perfect bump.

They say love is the greatest power, but I’d have to disagree. At that moment it felt amazing to turn off my guilt-sodden misery and activate 1,000 volts of pure, undeserving hatred.

And it allowed me to enjoy the rest of the festival. Obviously I constantly wanted to go home with every fibre of my being, but occasionally thinking fuck that happy pregnant woman, fuck this, fuck everything somehow freed me up to crack a smile at Jurassic 5, dance at Fujiya & Miyagi, and even briefly contemplate returning with my child to enjoy the kids’ field.

And now, one year later, as I sit here with my son and glass of frizzante enjoying the Glastonbury coverage from the comfort of my sofa (foot rub pending) I’d just like to thank that woman for being the unwitting recipient of my silent, horribly obnoxious attentions.

Happy pregnant woman, thank you, and I’m sorry. But I couldn’t have done it without you.