Though it was my fiercely independent nature that compelled me to have a baby on my own, I’ve never been more helpless and needy. It’s not just that I don’t have a partner who can take sleep shifts or even just hold the baby while I use the toilet; I also don’t have a single relative on this side of the Atlantic. My mum flew back to the States two weeks after the birth, and I cried for days. I needed help, and sleep, but had no clue how to get either. But here’s a tip: If you burst into tears when someone asks how you’re doing, it will alarm them to the point that they will do anything — stay up all night with you, bring homemade muffins, take the baby for a walk — to get you to stop, saving you the effort of awkwardly having to ask a favour.