It is a truth universally acknowledged that once you have given birth and shown multiple strangers all of your bits, several times over, any coyness you had about your own body pretty much disappears. This became apparent to me two days after getting out of hospital with my first child. The midwife came over to our house to weigh the baby (it turns out). I thought that she was there to check on me and how I was doing, and before she even managed to sit down on our sofa, I'd whipped out my arse to show her a funny rash I was a bit worried about. The curtains were open. To this day, I'm surprised she didn't report me for sexual harassment.
I thought I was totally beyond any type of embarrassment. I had had a midwife "sweep" pre-labour (medicalised fingering). I had had two midwives simultaneously pop their hands up to "have a feel". I had had at least six different midwives show me how to breastfeed by squeezing my tits. There was no way I could be further embarrassed. I had disconnected totally from my body.
Until this pregnancy.
To put it bluntly, I have always had something of a sensitive digestive system. This is not helped by iron tablets, needed for anaemia. While most people apparently get a bit constipated on iron tablets, they have the opposite effect on me.
Picture this. TheBloke (TM) and I take advantage of a rare afternoon that's free, and head into Romford for a nice meal. After our nice meal, we take a wander (OK, waddle, in my case) around HomeSense. Suddenly I need the loo. There are no loos.
I go to the front desk and ask if they have a toilet I can use. Whilst this is clearly not normal procedure, they take one look at my massive comedy tummy and two members of staff take me through the stockroom, where they have - presumably - a staff toilet. I am in no position to take my time and thank them. I lock the door and proceed to complete what can only reasonably be described as Very Noisy Shitting, punctuated with stomach cramps and religious expulsions. ("Jesus Christ! Oh God!")
Fifteen minutes or so later, with newly-formed haemorrhoids the size of small dogs, I wash my hands and stumble blindly back into their stockroom area. It's at this point it turns out that HomeSense clearly has a policy of not allowing customers unattended in the stockroom, which I guess is fair from a shoplifting perspective. There are three worried/amused-looking members of staff standing right outside the toilet door.
"We were beginning to wonder if you were OK," says the area manager. "You were in there a long time, and making some worrying noises. We thought you'd gone into labour."
"No. Just... you know... iron tablets plus irritable bowel syndrome," I stuttered.
I was led back through to the main store. TheBloke (TM) had found some nice children's books that the toddler might like. But now I knew everyone in store far better than I wanted to, the only option was to get out, stay out and move house in case anyone ever recognised me ever again.
So we don't live in London anymore. And we do most of our shopping online. Where no-one need know that you sometimes have to poo.