Motherhood changes you alright.  That mother tiger stuff is real, only for mother tiger read bad ass bitch.  Overnight I transformed from a meek, mild, people pleaser, who smiles politely and says ‘Of course not’ when some foul nicotine addict asks, ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ to a savage, snarling harpy, leaping on unsuspecting strangers with a cry of, ‘How dare you smoke in front of my baby?  Are you crazy?’

I had never been jealous and possessive with my boyfriends but I was with my baby.  I tensely hovered around as loving relatives and strangers held MY baby, ready to grab her back at any sign of distress.  Motherly protectiveness going into overdrive, I rudely informed relatives that their perfume/deodorant fumes were too strong for the baby and requested them to refrain from artificial fragrances around her.

On the other hand, my cherished adult autonomy had somehow slipped away.  When I grew up and left home I relished being able to do exactly what I wanted with no-one telling me what to do.  Now I was being hen-pecked by two tyrants.  Not hubby, he’s sweetness itself.  No, my new bosses were evolutionary design, aka Mother Nature, and the baby.

My long held dreams of hang-gliding and parachuting now seemed like a really bad idea indeed.  Ma Nature is this stern nana that says ‘how can you think of throwing yourself out of an aeroplane when you have a baby to care for?’  Anything that might result in my premature death was now well and truly off my bucket list.

Pregnancy nausea had made car and bus travel a nightmare.  Now it was the baby’s turn.  She hated her baby capsule and wailed the whole time we were in the car, reducing car travel to absolute necessity.  She loved going for walks in her baby sling, but only in town.  Our long forest walks were now off the schedule.  The dark trees gave her the heebie jeebies but she loved people and colourful shop fronts.  An unusually serious, dour child, her rare smiles beamed out at the handsome young waiters at the ice cream cafes.

Still, everything passes and, excitingly, my sense of adventure has now returned.  Good old Ma Nature designed us to breast feed for seven years and she doesn’t change her plans, Weetbix or no Weetbix.  But my youngest is now 8.  Recently, at the top of our local mountain, we watched some hang-gliders and paragliders taking off and there was nothing I wanted to do more than launch myself off the top of a mountain entrusting my life to a flimsy piece of canvas.  Ma Nature has obviously decided that, now my child no longer relies on me for bodily sustenance, I am dispensible. 

Maybe that’s why men in their 50’s buy motorbikes.  Nothing to do with mid-life crisis, it’s Nature telling them, 'Ok, you’ve raised your family, now you can go smash yourself to bits.  Knock yourself out.'