Lessons in Motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher
Giovanna Fletcher (aka Gi, aka Queen of the Castle) is an author, actress, blogger, presenter and the host of radio show podcast Happy Mum, Happy Baby. To celebrate Mother’s Day, Gi’s shared some of her most memorable moments on the show, including her interview with The Duchess of Cambridge.
“Over the past three and a half years, I’ve been lucky enough to chat to various parents about their experiences of getting pregnant and bringing up children on my podcast, Happy Mum, Happy Baby. I started the podcast six months after writing the book of the same title, which was all about my personal ups and downs in the first few years of being a mum. Speaking to other parents who felt just as lost, bewildered and overwhelmed as I did was such an empowering and emotional experience. I wasn’t alone, and neither were they! I knew the honest conversation had to continue, and that’s why I started the podcast. This time it wasn’t just me sharing, but my guests too.
My take-away from these chats has always been that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you have or what you do – we all face similar challenges. And, we should feel connected and supported in that knowledge. Here are a few chats that really resonated with me.”
Elle Wright & Michelle Cottle
“This remains one of my toughest podcast episodes to record. Both mothers had experienced huge losses. Elle Wright’s son Teddy died a few days after he was born. Michelle Cottle’s daughter Orla was stillborn. Talking about the death of a child is something many people find difficult, especially those who haven’t experienced it. But I think it’s incredibly important to listen to these lived experiences, so that women like Elle and Michelle don’t feel so alone in their grief. It also helps people around them know what to say when the worst happens. Anyone who has experienced loss in motherhood, whether miscarriage, stillbirth or baby loss, knows the importance of these conversations. There were so many lessons taken from this chat, but the one that really stuck with me was the sense of pride when their babies’ names were used. They’re mums, and like all mums, they want to talk about their children.“
The Duchess of Cambridge
“Ever since the podcast began, I had named one woman as my dream guest in all interviews: The Duchess of Cambridge. At the beginning of 2020 I was given the chance to sit with her and have that longed-for chat. Before we started, I wasn’t sure how much she’d be willing to reveal. However, The Duchess shared her experiences of extreme morning sickness, what it felt like to take a newborn Prince George home from the hospital, and mum guilt. I realised this conversation was going to have a huge impact in showing that all mums experience similar feelings.“
“How do you follow up a podcast episode with The Duchess of Cambridge, one of the most famous mums in the world? With a beautiful account of motherhood that’s full of love and hope. Isma Almas had two daughters with her husband, but after they separated and she met her wife, she decided she wanted another child. With her knowledge as a social worker, they decided to adopt a little boy. Isma’s account of her story had me gripped from start to finish. The process of the adoption journey, of the agonising worry over whether she’d be able to love him like she loved the children she’d birthed, the power of their first meeting, and the love they share now. It was such a powerful chat.“
“We all know that a massive struggle of motherhood is the juggle: the balancing act of getting on with your workload and making sure you’re actually there to see your children grow up. Emma Freud’s children are far older than mine (in their teens and 20s). But she shared that she goes through her diary weekly and moves things around in a bid to make sure the balance feels healthier. It’s not always easy to do, but saying ‘no’ to things can offer so much freedom. Emma also made me smile when talking about the affection she shares with her kids. I’d been worried about the boys growing out of hugging, but she reassured me that there were still lots of them in her house, so the snuggles are here to stay!“
“We kicked off the podcast with Emma Willis, who’s since returned for another episode. Emma, who has always been private about her family life, was a little hesitant to come on at first. Yes, she might’ve had weepy moments when parenting felt overwhelming, but she was also aware of how lucky she was to have a supportive family, great husband and a roof over her head. I explained that her reasoning was exactly why I’d love her on. During our chat, when we touched on breastfeeding, Emma broke down in tears when she recounted her struggles with it. It was years after the experience but you could see and hear the emotion that she was still left with. I know many people really benefited from her words of encouragement and understandin