Three kids later and I'm reclaiming my body. Since December 2008 I've been either pregnant or breastfeeding. Gordon Brown was prime minister when this business all started.

Babies are parasites. They steal everything they need, regardless of whether it was something you could do with a bit of too.

woman having facial
'I need a series of facials to moisturise and refresh my craggy face' iStock

Over the years they've sucked me dry of iron and vitamin D, caused me blood loss during births, destroyed my core strength, grabbed and broken every necklace I've ever treasured and deprived me of hundreds of hours of sleep. Make that thousands, as that's how it feels.

So I'm calling in some experts and taking back control over my body. The baby needs – finally – to be off the breast. Yes she's one and it's gone on too long but she's my last and, well, breastfeeding is – was – something I do. There are people we see infrequently who are convinced that the same baby has been gummed to my breasts for the last five years.

But no more. Their bodies are strong enough to be independent of mine. And mine is a wreck in need of attention. This is what it needs, in entirely the wrong order:

A series of facials to moisturise and refresh my craggy face. The buggers have aged me faster than Downing Street has done David Cameron. Then a serious grown up skincare regime like the magazines have been telling me is essential since I was 16. My sister, who is 10 years older but you wouldn't know it, says I need QMS on Sloane Street. She is always right about these things so I'll have to get over the price and sign up.

Pilates is required at least twice a week to restore core muscle strength. And to tackle my weird distended belly that looks at a bad angle like I could be brewing number four. Distressingly, the youngest sometimes tries to feed on my belly button. East London Pilates, consider yourself briefed.

A low-carb, low-sugar diet to see off the final pounds of baby flab. To be fair to my parasites, they have gobbled about as much fat from milk as they've added during pregnancies. But the weight-metronome – which has been hurling me through a range of a couple of stone – needs to click to a stop at a sensible weight I can maintain for the rest of my life. This involves chucking biscuits into the bin, remembering not to scoff the kids' chips and convincing my husband that not every meal requires bread and potato.

A severe fashion update. Skinnies, it seems, are very 2014 and every shoe needs a thick white sole. I crave newness and freshness: mint green and hot pink, vivid prints, delicate cashmere, underwear without clips, bright lips and dangling earrings.

Culture. Five years with scant glance at art, film or music. Oh, please someone take me out. I'll watch or visit anything. Anything. Even Mad Max looks distracting.

Last and most of all, I need to spend time with and give my attention to the man I married. He'll be much cheered that I can drink more and he'll really love Mad Max.

When to stop?

'The people who tell you you don't notice the third child either have horrible memories or are horrible liars' iStock

On another note, the question I'm most often asked is: "Should I have a third baby?" To which I always start by saying no.

If pushed, I ask their baby number: at 20, how many kids did they want? They say us cosmopolitan-late-motherhood-types fall one short.

My number was three. So, even in the moments when it seems like we're drowning in children, the fact that our family looks perfect to me is strangely reassuring.

But the thought of another is terrifying. I observe my two friends with four children each with quiet astonished awe and take any contraceptive advice given.

The real question is, do you have the capacity for another, in you head, in your world? If two are breaking you, if you're battling for air every day... Don't do it to yourself. The people who tell you you don't notice the third either have horrible memories or are terrible liars.

Time for a new voice

Michel Odent, the father of natural birth, as it were, has published an incendiary-sounding new book called Do We Need Midwives? which reportedly argues that modern women are losing the ability to give birth.

Too much medical intervention. Too many drugs. He thinks women should give birth in peace and be left alone by midwives, who should sit to one side and knit. What an image.

In other publications, he opposes the idea of men being at births on the grounds they are a hindrance and slow labours down.

The point is the man is absolutely right about everything. Genuinely a world of wisdom who has changed much about how we give birth for the better. I have him in part to thank for our modern midwifery units that have given me three birthing pools and three natural births.

But there is one thing that jars. Men – however experienced – bullying women about how to give birth feels now like being taught to drive by someone who's never turned the ignition. The man is 84; it's time for someone who has done it and studied it to take over his controversial crusade.

Christine Armstrong is a contributing editor of Management Today, author of Power Mums (interviews with high-profile mothers) and founder of She can be found on Twitter at @hannisarmstrong.