CAROLYN Lochhead describes life with a newborn baby as something akin to hurtling down a terrifying swimming pool flume.

“When I was a child, my local swimming pool had one called the Vortex, and you’d plummet down a twisting tunnel, thwacking uncontrollably off the sides, until you hurtled, dazed, into the pool below,” she says.

“The experience was not unlike my life between February 2013 and the start of 2015. During that time, I transformed from a busy, professional woman with a social life and time to read the Sunday papers, to a frantic mother-of-one.”

Carolyn’s daughter Eilidh was born in 2013. The unknown world of pregnancy and the chaotic joy of motherhood were baffling for Carolyn, she admits. But she found salvation in the weekly meet-ups she had with fellow members of her NCT ante-natal class.

She was so grateful, she has written a book, called Three Toothbrushes (and Other Essays on Motherhood, Mindfulness and Making Sense of it All) to raise money for the organisation.

“I didn’t know anyone else with children, so the National Childbirth Trust class was fantastic,” recalls the 41-year-old, who lives in Cathcart.

“The first session, we were all a bit shy, and didn’t chat too much but by the end we were very close.”

She adds: “Our final session together was really emotional – suddenly, we realised what was happening – we were actually going to be parents.”

The women met in Govanhill Baths, but after the class had officially come to an end, they decided to keep meeting up.

She smiles; “At first, we tried cafes, but it just got too stressful, so we met in each other’s houses, turn about once a week for a whole year.

“And we helped each other through it all - birth, recovery, breastfeeding, weaning, and going back to work.

“We’re still great friends, five years - and four more babies - later.”

Carolyn’s poignant and often humorous self-published collection of essays is now available on Amazon.

She explains: “Writing it was quite cathartic, to be honest. I used to write a blog and I missed it, and that made me a bit sad. I wanted to keep writing about all these experiences I was having – perhaps it was even a bit selfish.

“I was really keen to raise money for NCT – they helped me in so many ways.

“The first days of breastfeeding were so difficult, for example, and I almost gave up. But their breastfeeding counsellor Margaret gave me calm, sensible advice and helped me keep going.”

Carolyn, a public affairs manager for a mental health charity, and her husband David, who is a web developer, have a second daughter, Kirsty, who will be three in July.

“I’ve had some really nice feedback about the book, and it’s just early days,” she says.

“I suppose it covers my attempt to appreciate and enjoy those early days of being a mum, despite the lack of sleep, anxiety, constant mess and fear of being judged.

“It’s the all-encompassing nature of having a new baby that surprised me the most. You just don’t get a minute of time off. It’s not like going to work and stopping for a teabreak.

“It is a full-on, intense, 24-hour-a-day job and I don’t think anything can prepare you for that.”

Carolyn adds: “There is a lot of pressure on parents, generally, and mothers in particular. Mothers do feel judged. It’s hard not to bottle all that up.

“Everyone has something to say, everyone thinks they can do it, and I suppose if I have one aim for the book – other than raising as much money as possible for the NCT – it’s that it might make people stop and reflect for a moment.”

She pauses.

“If it makes people give each other a break and act a bit more kindly, then that would be great,” she adds. “Because, ultimately, I think we are really all just doing the best we can.”

Three Toothbrushes and Other Essays on Motherhood, Mindfulness and Making Sense of it All by Carolyn Lochhead is available on Amazon now.