Hi Liesy. How have you been the past three weeks?
I had an epidural, a caesarean and was just having my period. To be honest I was vaguely annoyed but generally just very tired and really bored.
Is it true you called up the NHS Women’s Services helpline and asked if you could volunteer to give birth by Caesarean?
My husband and I wanted to do it but didn’t realise the consequences. Being a woman, I get worrying over myself all the time. I’m right up there with Instagram when it comes to worrying. It’s actually quite exhausting and, in the end, quite depressing.
You write in your blog that women are encouraged to stay in their uteruses to avoid the birth of their babies. It’s an aspiration that causes you a headache.
The NHS doesn’t make it easy and it certainly doesn’t celebrate it. But there’s something so beautiful about birth that hasn’t been acknowledged. When a woman has her baby she feels it so completely. She doesn’t have to pretend she’s pregnant to promote hospital-style birth.
Maternity wards and the NHS are forever in the media for their uselessness. So why do you love them?
I love them because they offer the possibility of childbirth for a woman for as long as possible and not be torn apart.
How do you keep it all together?
Well, I’m not about to give birth in jeans. This is the least private part of your body you are ever going to see. But I do find socialising with other women really beneficial. We become connected and become a community.
Do you feel parents should be allowed to wear their hoodies for the first 30 minutes after birth?
I don’t. Why would I take up the space of the birth floor and someone else? I might go as a photographer but not a speaker. It could be really funny and make people’s day but for me it just would ruin it.
Do you think the “baby badge” is the latest fashion trend?
I think the flag that’s going round the hospital is more stylish.
Do you remember the first time you said “I’m pregnant”?
[Flashes back to before doctors told her she was having a boy] “All I remember is not wanting to say it. I was just so nervous that I didn’t.”
You’re running in this weekend’s Kitten Disco London Coachella run in aid of Shelter. How was it?
It was utterly exhilarating. The club is incredible. I met the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was completely crazy. I don’t think I’ll ever run the real thing again. I had a woman come up to me afterwards and she had seven kittens and I was like: “Do you want me to buy you a kitten?” And she said: “No!” I was like: “You’re a bunny magnet!”
Is it really true you are an alcoholic?
That’s a lie. I went for anger management. You could take that as a recommendation.
Your new podcast When Can We Stop Wearing Masks features a bunch of unhygienic people trying to recreate the infamous “La Mancha salad sandwich”. They may be able to, right?
I was a bit nervous about how it would be but they were all so enthusiastic and funny. I’m not sure I would ever be able to eat that.
You’re a big fan of – and an editor of – Shondaland, the TV adaptation of Shonda Rhimes’s series of shows. What do you think of last week’s season finale of Grey’s Anatomy?
I thought it was… awful! I was extremely upset. I think they purposefully did not pull back, but I do really like the direction of season 13. But I think the main problem is there is far too much emphasis on the sexual assault story and the “Summerland” [Grey’s) interns. And the finale just stuck out like a sore thumb because everyone was incredibly happy and loved each other so much.
Is Shonda Rhimes, creator of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, a feminist?
I’ve never met her but I would like to. I wish she saw the purpose of what she’s doing as just pure fun.
From right to left: Ab