Giovanna Fletcher: An Exclusive Interview on Happy Mum, Happy Baby

Giovanna Fletcher: An Exclusive Interview on Happy Mum, Happy Baby

What have you learned from writing ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My adventures into motherhood’?

It’s really emphasised how much pressure I felt to be the perfect mum when I first had Buzz. I now know that no such thing exists, and that we are all just winging it.

We love your funny posts on everything from breastfeeding to tantrums. What topics will you cover in your book?

Oh I’ve put everything in there. There’s lots of boob and foof chat (something my dad loved reading about), but I also share how I felt overwhelmed with the pressured of motherhood, how hard I found recovery after giving birth, and about how I learnt to love my new body in all its wobbliness. I’ve tried to include everything I experienced.

What was your favourite chapter/topic to write?

That’s a tough question. The book is quite funny. There are darker areas where I talk about miscarriage and my failings as a mother, but at the other end of the scale are the lighter moments. I really chuckled at myself while typing away.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

An understanding that there’s no right or wrong way to parent and that we’re all just doing our best. There’s so much pressure and judgement out there these days, but if you ignore it all and get on with figuring out your own way of parenting you’ll feel much happier.

Was Tom involved in the book at all? Do you think the pressure is different for mums than dads?

Nope. He read the first few chapters early on because I touch on personal subjects we’ve not discussed before, but he’s only just reading the rest of it now. He’s cried and laughed a lot so far – so I think he likes it! Tom’s a very hands on dad. I don’t feel like it’s my job to do all the parenting ‘stuff’, we work it out together. I think there’s a huge shift in the way dads are involved these days and that makes me really happy.

How do you decide what to share online and what to keep to yourself?

I just do what feels right and don’t question it too much, otherwise things start looking and sounding contrived.

What’s the funniest parenting related hashtag that you’ve used? (e.g. #ineedaliedown)

I do love a good hashtag, and know I’ve used some corkers in the past, but none spring to mind right now. I love Mother Pukka’s #parentfail ones though. They make me cackle.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from people online?

I’ve been blown away by how many good, kind and supportive people there are in the world.

Are you ever surprised by how your fans react to what you post?

I guess I was most surprised with how people reacted to the post of me and my postpartum bump two weeks after giving birth. I’d had a bit of a lightbulb/self-love moment and wanted to share it. I was touched to see the love spreading and women reassessing how they felt about their own bodies.

Sharing your flaws and uncertainty with everyone, especially when it comes to parenting, is a very brave thing to do. How do you stay self-assured and confident enough to keep sharing?

I don’t see it as being brave. I think pretending to be the perfect parent would be a little foolish and I couldn’t keep it up for very long.

Why do you think there is so much shaming and guilt in parenting nowadays? Is it simply the other side of social media?

Perhaps. Although my experience of social media is far from being trolled and hurled with abuse. I’ve found a really supportive network of people so I don’t think it’s to blame. Rather that people need to consider how they use the platform and whether they really want to be negative, judgemental and condescending, or positive, supportive and empowering. The choice is OURS!

Was there a defining moment when you realised that no parent knows what they’re doing?

It slowly dawned on me as Buzz got older. It’s such an invaluable realisation. I think it should be tattooed on new mums as soon as a baby is born – ‘none of us know what we’re doing, but we’re going to give you really conflicting advice to make you think we do… and to really mess with your head’. Actually, that would be a pretty big tattoo, but it’s the kindest wisdom to bestow on a new parent.

How has becoming a parent changed your perspective and attitude to life?

I’m less bothered by things that, quite frankly, don’t matter.

If you could go back to just after buzz was born, what advice/reassurance would you give yourself as a new mum?

Just go with the flow. You’ll find your own way eventually.