Being a mum is an incredible journey, a remarkable experience that changes how we look, how we feel, who we are. As mothers we are strong, protective, proud. We feel a love like no other. But being a parent can be hard too. It challenges us physically, mentally, emotionally.
There are the days where just managing to fit a shower in amidst the endless feeding, entertaining young children and surviving on a lack of sleep feels like an achievement. With so many people ready to offer ‘advice’ on the best way to parent, it can feel like you are getting it all wrong.
Since Giovanna and her husband Tom Fletcher have had their sons Buzz and Buddy, they have been sharing glimpses of their family life. With an infectiously positive outlook and happy take on all things mum-related, Giovanna has developed a following of fellow parents and mums-to-be. This is not a book about how to have the perfect family experience – Gi would be the first to admit she is winging it just as much as the rest of us – instead it is an honest, upbeat and incredibly personal account of her own experience of having a family.
In Happy Mum, Happy Baby Giovanna shares her own journey through parenthood and in doing so, she looks at what it is to be a mother today, encourages you to be confident in yourself as a parent and celebrates how putting a focus on being a happy and confident mum can really make for a happy baby.
I love Giovanna Fletcher. I want her to be my best friend! Her posts on Instagram and Facebook make me feel I’m doing OK at all this mum stuff, so when I heard about this book I trotted to my local Waterstones (which is quite easy coz I work there!) to pre-order. This has been a book I’ve been waiting months to read and I was not disappointed.
This isn’t a tip book or a how to book and I think that’s why I enjoyed so much. It’s a memoir of motherhood and family. The highs, the lows, the gross bits and the funny bits. For some people parts of the book may be a little ‘too much information’ but for me I applaud Giovanna on talking about things that people shy away from. There are so many things I didn’t know about what would happen to my body after childbirth and Giovanna tells us how it is without shame. Because really, why should we be ashamed of our post-birth bodies and the weirdness of them, we’ve just gone through the most traumatic and wonderful event in our lives. We should be allowed to know about and talk about the icky things that follow.
There is one passage that particularly stood out for me, it relates to breast feeding and it is a statement that is so very true:
“If you are miserable, in pain, depressed or anxious because you’re trying to breastfeed your baby and it’s just not working, then it’s not only your milk your baby isn’t getting. He or she isn’t getting the best of you at all.”
After having to abandon my breastfeeding dreams due to the pain (OH THE F*****G PAIN) and then contracting mastitis, I felt rubbish and a failure. The most natural thing in the world and I gave up on it. It gets so drummed into you for 9 months that breast is best, no matter how blase you are (I was pretty blase whilst pregnant, and couldn’t give two hoots whether I did or didn’t breastfeed) that you end up beating yourself up about it. It’s stupid. If your baby is being fed and is happy, if your happy then who cares whether it’s boob or bottle.
I tore through this book, staying up way past my bedtime, sacrificing much needed sleep to read it. I laughed, I cried, I cringed in sympathy and nodded so much that I started to resemble the Churchill nodding dog! And the photos, oh I loved them.
This book is so important, in my opinion, it’s honest, open, doesn’t shy away from anything and it’s full of heart. Giovanna really does make you feel that you’re doing OK. Hell, makes you feel like your doing better than OK. And in those first few months, when your emotions are everywhere, when you’re sleep deprived, in pain, terrified of doing things wrong – you need to hear that you’re doing a great job. This book is a big, warm, pick-you-up hug – thank you Gi for making us all feel good and that we’re not alone!
BOOKISH CORNER RATING – 5/5 STARS
If you loved ‘Happy Mum Happy Baby’ as much as I did then check out these:
‘The Unmumsy Mum’
‘Things I Wish I’d Known’ edited by Victoria Young
‘Dream A Little Dream’ by Giovanna Fletcher
Giovanna Fletcher is a bestselling author, actress, TV presenter and vlogger. She grew up in Essex with her Italian dad Mario, mum Kim, big sister Giorgina and little brother Mario, and with family playing such a big part of her life it was only natural that she had always dreamed of having children of her own. Giovanna and her husband Tom have two young sons, Buzz and Buddy.