'What did you think when you saw me for the first time?' asks my 9-year-old.
I cough up a cornflake. When my slimed and bloodied first-born was laid on my chest I remember very clearly my reaction: 'Get it off me!' I shrieked to the midwife.
Most women who write of their birth experience describe a transcending bliss. My own mother still melts at the memory of meeting my infant eyes for the first time. I longed for the birth of my baby. I charted her foetal development in a foot-high stack of pregnancy guides. I gazed raptly at the readied cot that would one day contain her. I even gave up lager for six days a week.
But, when the moment arrived, I was terrified by the idea of a separate living entity issuing, sci-fi like, from me. For the first days of her life I fed her and changed her and rocked her with appropriate devotion. I would have leapt from a tower block to keep her from harm. But I could not fully fathom the fact that this self-possessed small person belonged to me.
Two years later when my son was born, I should have been more seasoned. 'God, he's ugly!' I shrilled as they placed a scrawny, scaly, howling scrap of flesh in my arms.
Still now, when I regard my twosome at the school gate, I struggle sometimes to comprehend that they sprang from me. Or that those infant strangers could have metamorphosed into such vivid individuals.
So when my daughter asks me what I thought when I first beheld her, I hesitate. 'It was,' I tell her,' love at first sight.' And hindsight has taught me that that is true.
Am I alone in my unwomanly reaction? Come clean: was your birth moment less ecstatic than it was supposed to be?