Last week I was asked to appear on TV to talk about the plight of new mums after Bottle PR found me through my new mum blog trilogy. (Here she goes again. Yawn. Enough already.). Some of you have asked me some really important questions. Ahem. Like, ‘What’s the Silver Fox really like?’ and ‘How did they get your hair so shiny?’
The joke’s on me?
The fact that they were asking ME, well I was certain it was going to be some teeny tiny Freeview channel with three viewers. Which would have been just fine.
So when they said it was This Morning, I did three things: a) ask if they had the wrong number b) wonder what hoax show I was on and c) wet myself (through paralysing fear rather than excitement) when I realised they were serious.
Then I text absolutely everyone I knew. To tell them.
Cool. That’s me.
‘What the s***ting hell are you going to wear?’
After the news had sunk in. The big questions began.
‘WHAT THE S***TING HELL ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR?’
Having recently had baby no. 3, dressing up these days is not so much putting on a dress (or a clean pair of jeans). It’s getting dressed. Full stop.
So, I went to Whistles. With three kids. 15 minutes before they closed.
If you’re new to my blog, you’ll probably think this was ambitious. If you’ve been reading it for a while, you’ll know it was just plain STUPID.
On the flip side, it was fun trying to make an important decision about what to wear in front of two million people, while Beaver and Godivy donned sunglasses, mauled handbags and clumped up and down the shop floor in £200 boots. The shop assistants thought so too.
I bet it’s exactly how Holly Willoughby picks her outfits. Right?
Driving Miss Daisy
One of the best things about the whole experience was being driven there and back in a car.
ON MY OWN.
There was no one to ask me stupid questions whilst bashing a sibling over the head with an umbrella. No one to tell me to grab the toy they just dropped IMMEDIATELY, whilst I risk all our lives just to retrieve it. No one to kick the seat behind me. Just because I asked them not to.
And I have since realised that I would pay good money to sit in a car and be driven around. On my own. To nowhere in particular. Do you know what? I would even make do with just sitting in the car outside my house. With the child locks on, obviously.
That’s how blooming nice it was.
Making up is hard to do
Most mornings I struggle to put on mascara.
So having a full face of make-up done, whilst sitting next to Gok Wan, I was totally in my comfort zone. Erm.
And it’s always good to know how rough you obviously usually look, when suddenly people comment on how nice you look. Well people, it took 45 minutes, some industrial products and the lovely, professional Fran to achieve that. In other words, it won’t be happening again in a hurry.
Oh, and as for the shiny hair? One word. Nits. And half a litre of Neal’s Yard essential oils in an effort to suffocate the buggers.
It turns out nits are good for something.
Brave new mum
The Silver Fox? Christine Bleakley? Denise? What are they really like, you asked?
Welcoming. Even more beautiful in real life than she is on screen. A seasoned professional.
But it was meeting Claire, new mum of one, who bravely shared her story of loneliness with the nation, that was the real highlight of the day.
Anyone who has ever struggled with motherhood (that’s all of us then) or experienced loneliness, anxiety, baby blues or PND will know just how hard it is to admit to yourself that something is wrong.
To share it with others so eloquently, for the good of others, is nothing short of heroic.
So, thank you Claire. So much. From all of us mums.
We’re right behind you.
‘Joanna. I love you.’
After This Morning, Joanna Gosling interviewed me on the BBC News to discuss the results of AXA PPA and Netmum’s survey that revealed over a quarter of new mums are lonely.
Initially, I was more nervous about the BBC than This Morning. I mean, the BBC. It’s really serious stuff, right? And I don’t watch the news as much as I should. Eek.
But after seconds in Joanna’s company, a fellow mum of three, she made me feel completely at ease. Like I was just chatting to another mum.
And when she empathised with how hard it is having three kids, well, I wanted to hug her. There and then.
Fortunately, at that moment, I did remember that I was on the news.
I mean, talk about awkward.
If you’re a new mum, second time mum or mum of a five year old reading this, feeling lonely, please know ONE thing. It is completely natural and OK to feel like this.
There is no expiry date. No time after having a baby when you should be feeling better. Or yourself again. It takes time. Love. And support and understanding from others.
So go easy on yourself. Be honest about how you feel. If you can, trust someone with how you feel. It only gets better if we can all feel able to start to talk about it.
And for each and everyone of us. Mums. Dads. Neighbours. Friends. The postman. We ALL have a responsibility to look out for mums, new and old.
It’s a vulnerable time. As Joanna Gosling reminded us;
‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ (Hillary Clinton)