Roz Kelly: OMG Am I Leaking Milk On Air?!
It's the Australian Grand Prix: the season-opening event in the glamorous world of Formula One.
There are millions of fans wondering: Will Lewis Hamilton take a step toward Michael Schumacher's record of six Drivers' Championships? Will Ferrari live up to all the pre-season hype? How will Aussie Daniel Ricciardo go with his new team, Renault?
And me: Am I leaking milk on live TV?
A calm voice whispers through my earpiece: "One minute left in the break."
Cue milk let-down.
Oh God. Did I put enough layers of padding in? What if I didn't put enough layers of padding in?
"Forty-five seconds left in the break.”
Oh God. The left side definitely feels like it’s leaking.
I glance down at my notes and scan for seepage in the process.
Oh God. They may explode. Do I look like Pamela Anderson now?
Deep breath. In. Out. In. Out.
Okay just focus on this segment and then you can go relieve the pressure (express) soon.
Please God, don’t let me lactate on air.
“Three, two, one … cue.”
"Welcome back to Melbourne’s Albert Park street circuit as we count down to the Australian Formula One Grand Prix..."
A few weeks later, it's time to record 10 News First National News. It's 5.40 pm: My Saturday pilgrimage from the sports department to the studio.
I wonder how the kids are doing. Have they eaten dinner yet? Is little Leo asleep? He’s so cute when he’s sleeping.
Cue milk let-down.
Oh God. I’m wearing pastel pink. Why did I wear pastel pink? Why didn’t I wear black, or that nice navy jacket? Oh God, I don’t have time to change.
I take my seat next to Chris Bath, one of my journalism heroes. I have known her for a grand total of six weeks.
“Will you let me know if I suddenly leak?”
Oh God. I didn't even so much as greet her.
Of all the things I thought I would discuss with one of Australia's most accomplished journalists, this was most certainly not one of them.
She calmly looks up from her computer as though I’d simply asked what she’s having for dinner.
“You’re good. You'll be fine. I’ll keep watch.”
Relief floods in -- she understands.
The anxiety of new motherhood feels like it was yesterday, she recalls, before regaling me with tales of her own awkward experiences.
Sometimes this season of life can feel like a lonely journey: just you and your nervous, insecure little internal dialogue. And then moments like the aforementioned happen which make you recognise you’re actually now part of something greater: a universal sisterhood, if you will.
The following are just a few tales from a few women in my orbit -- school mums, friends of friends and even social media acquaintances. They are all on vastly different journeys, but forever united by a common bond: motherhood. The only role on the planet which transcends geography, culture, class, race, age and faith.
Sarah, lawyer and mother-of-two, never thought she would utter these words: “I had to take my toddler into work one day. She disappeared into the office coat wardrobe and did a poo. I guess she needed some privacy.”
Stay at home mother-of-one Nat Petersen can laugh about this now: “It was our first overseas family holiday and long-haul flight with our eight-month-old... who projectile vomited all over the woman next to me just hours into the flight. I felt bad but was secretly happy he missed me.”
“I thought I was passing moisturising cream to my husband, which was actually bum cream and he slathered my son full of it,” is one of the few things Elana Shaw, mother-of-two recalls from newborn night shift.
Sleep deprivation. It makes good people do crazy things.
An environmental engineer, who prefers to go nameless, is also in the thick of the newborn fog and lived out all of our worst fears.
“It was the weekly grocery shop. My husband was pushing bub in the pram, and I was pushing the trolley through the checkout.
"He parked the pram out of the way so we could load the trolley, and when we paid, he started pushing the trolley and I just walked off alongside him.
"At the door HE was the one who remembered the baby.”
Mother-of-two, Katie, told me: "I accidentally bought five meters of fairy lights during a very hazy 2 am feed once."
"I woke up at a more normal time to PayPal notifications saying ‘thank you for your order’ and was like WTF?!”
Leaky boobs, poo, vomit and baby brain certainly don’t discriminate, even when your live on air.