I have been granted entry to Club Preggo.
I have queued up 19 times to try and be let into this exclusive club, and on the 20th attempt, the bouncer finally unhooked that velvet rope and stood aside to let me in.
I’ve been partying in Club Preggo for 10 days now, but I’m not fully enjoying myself.
Because I was let in, but thousands of others weren’t.
Why me? Why am I special this time? I wore the same clothes and shoes as the other months I tried. In fact, this month, I joined the queue quite drunk compared to previous attempts to gain entry and was always refused before. But this time, the doorman deemed me worthy of entry into his prestigious club.
I hadn’t done anything differently. It was simply luck. The bouncer finally thought “Yep, okay, you can go in. But not your mates.”
Whilst I’m so excited about FINALLY gaining entry, I have to walk past everybody else I’ve been queuing with for so long. I see their disappointed faces, masked with a “yay! I’m so happy for you!” smile. I can see they’re not genuine, but I appreciate their effort to be pleased for me. I smile at them sadly. I ask the bouncer – why can’t they come in too? They deserve it just as much as me. They’re dressed the same. They’re not drunk. They’ve been patient.
But he doesn’t answer. He ushers me inside and the door is closed behind me.
I feel overwhelmed.
Do I check my coat in to the cloakroom? Am I staying for long enough to do that? I don’t feel secure enough yet, so I keep hold of my coat for comfort.
Am I going to like it in here? I’ve been desperate to see inside for so long, that I’m still trying to get my bearings for the place.
In Club Preggo you’re one of the ‘special ones’. Some of these ladies were shown in through the VIP entrance. I don’t think they fully appreciated how lucky they were to be let in without queuing in the rain with blisters on your feet, to only be turned away time and time again.
There are lots of kind and supportive women encouraging you to visit the different floors of the Club – nutrition, nurseries, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, buggies, baby slings… I don’t feel qualified enough to explore yet. I’ve only just arrived. I need to acclimatise. I still feel a bit of a fraud. I’m worried if I get too comfy I’ll be asked to leave.
“Sorry ma’am, there’s been a mistake. We’re going to have to ask you to go. Don’t make a fuss now….”
Please don’t kick me out. Please. I’ve only just got in. The bouncer may not let me back ever again.
I find myself loitering by the entrance, waiting for my friends to get into Club Preggo. I look through the window and see them staring back at me. I bet they’re thinking “why her? What’s so special about HER?”
I can’t answer that. I don’t feel I am special. Just lucky. The doorman liked me this month.
Some of the ladies in the queue turn their backs on me. They don’t want to see me having fun in Club Preggo whilst they’re on the outside looking in. I understand that. I was in their shoes many times before when I queued up with them.
Some of the ladies wave at me and try to shoo me back inside. “Go on and have fun!” they say. “I can’t. Not without you lot here to enjoy it with me.” “Don’t wait for us! Enjoy it whilst you’re in there!”
I approach the bouncer.
“Can’t you let a few more in? There’s plenty of space in the club. And loads are leaving all the time to make space for new ones. It won’t be crowded…”
“Sorry. I don’t make the rules. It’s out of my control.”
Yep. It’s out of ALL our control.
Some months you’re lucky. Some months you’re not.
Some months you’re turned away from the club. Some months you’re in the right place, at the right time, your face fits, and you get let in.
I’m heading into the club now ladies. But I’ll keep checking over my shoulder to greet you when the doorman lets you into Club Preggo.
I’ll never forget those months standing out in the rain with you all, with blisters on my feet.