The tricky Christmas meal with colleagues

"I was 11 weeks pregnant, sick as a dog and had to go to a posh work Christmas dinner. There were only eight people there, mostly execs, and I didn't know them that well. I accepted a glass of wine as I arrived, which I pretended to sip at regular intervals before taking it to the loo with me and throwing it down the sink.


"As we sat down to eat, I sneakily refilled it with sparkling water. I thought I was a genius. I then had the food problem to tackle - I couldn't eat anything, as everything made me feel sick - just the smell of the Brussels sprouts had me running to the loo!

"At the very end of the meal we all stood up to toast the boss. I took a great big swig of what I thought was the water, except that I'd picked up the wrong glass and it was actually wine. So I spat it straight back into the glass in a really nasty fashion and let out a loud 'euggghhhh!'. I tried to pretend it had gone down the wrong hole, but by this point I was clearly that weird anorexic in the corner who spits her wine back into the glass. All class."

Rachel, 31, mum to Mia

The maternity fashion disaster

"Office Christmas parties are the worst when you're pregnant. Everyone else looks gorgeous and weighs about 8½ stone. I was 8 months pregnant at Christmas and had splashed out on a brown stretchy, bias-cut dress which, until I saw the photos, I thought looked stunning on me.

More like this

"Later, I discovered I actually looked more like a giant Christmas pudding. As the night drew to a close I was herding the drunken size 8s into cabs like a mother hen. My advice is, carry a bottle of indigestion remedy in your handbag - it goes really well with the champagne - and never wear brown."

Anne, 38, mum to Luke, Ben and Nancy

The tears in public

"I was heavily pregnant with twins and had one day to get all my Christmas shopping done. I recall waddling around, having to stop every 15 minutes to sit on steps for a rest. Then I burst into tears in a department store because I couldn't find anywhere to get any food - you forget that if you don't eat every hour, you start losing the plot!

"Miles, my husband, was so embarrassed, he had to run across the road and buy me a chocolate bar from the newsagents, while the girls on the make-up counter got me a chair and I just sat there weeping. I felt like a 3-year-old."

Andrea, 38, mum to twins Ella and Grace

The Christmas dinner disaster

"Never try to cook Christmas dinner when you're pregnant. I did dinner for eight on Christmas Day when I was 8 months pregnant and had a total sieve for brains. I even had Delia Smith's step-by-step guide, but I just couldn't cope. I'd forget where I put anything, then I'd forget the sentence I'd just read and have to waddle back to the book and read it again. So I started to cry.

"My husband and my friends took over, while I sat there feeling like a failure, convinced I'd started to develop early Alzheimers."

Gemma, 35, mum to Alice

The annoyed in-laws

"With the way my sense of smell increases when I'm pregnant, there's no way I'd be able to cook a roast. I once passed out on a train because I could smell that one of the passengers hadn't washed his jeans! My in-laws suggested that I do Christmas dinner last year because I have a big kitchen, never mind that I was heavily pregnant with twins and was constantly being sick. I said absolutely no way and they were quite peeved!"

Alison, 26, mum to twins Peter and Benjamin

The Christmas labour and birth

"Kira was due on the 21st. We were gearing up for the birth and just forgot about Christmas. I started to go into labour on the 23rd and was still having contractions on Christmas Day. We had no presents, no decorations and no food in the house. The advantage was that when we drove to the hospital, the roads were completely deserted.

"The only time we saw any hint of Christmas that year was the big tree in King's College Hospital reception, and the maternity nurse coming into the delivery room wiping Christmas pud from her chin! My husband, Carlos, was a bit put out, but I was relieved at not having to bother with Christmas for once!"


Mina, 36, mum to Kia