Happy Mum, Happy Baby? Giovanna Fletcher Talks All Things Motherhood
From making viral YouTube videos to writing bestselling books, 32-year-old mum of two Giovanna Fletcher really has her hands full! The vlogger, author, TV presenter and actress speaks honestly to eumom about her thoughts on post-baby bodies, her miscarriage, and choosing the names of sons Buzz and Buddy with husband Tom, of McFly fame. Read about her adventures in motherhood in her brand new bestselling book, Happy Mum Happy Baby, available now from easons.
Just like the first chapter in your new book, why don’t we start at the very beginning? Tell us about the start of your journey into motherhood.
I always knew that I wanted to be a mum. I’ve always been very maternal, even with my friends growing up, I always took that motherly role. But I always had that fear that it might not happen for me. I came off my pill before getting married, and my periods didn’t return for a whole year. Nothing happened. After some investigating, I found out that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I started lots of different treatments and made lots of different lifestyle changes, and by the time it came to us actually wanting to start a family, and trying to get pregnant, I fell pregnant relatively quickly. I had this feeling that it was just too easy, that it had all happened just too quickly, and I felt like something would go wrong, and sadly it did. I miscarried very early on in my pregnancy. It was an awful thing to go through, and I just felt like my body had completely failed me, and I had failed at being a mum. I’d failed at my first go at it.
Writing my book, Happy Mum Happy Baby, I wasn’t sure whether or not to include anything about my pregnancy, especially having gone on to have my other babies. So I wrote the chapter not knowing whether I was going to include it or not. But we decided it was important to share, it happens to so many people, and we need to speak about it. It’s something we are all scared of, but it’s not contagious, we need to be able to talk about it. But thankfully for me, I got pregnant again 9 months later, and if I hadn’t of had that miscarriage, then I wouldn’t have Buzz.
Speaking of Buzz, your two boys have such fantastic and unique names, where did you get the inspiration for Buzz and Buddy?
We had the name Buzz on the table for years! When I actually got pregnant, it became more of a reality that this name might be used, and it went off the list. We had a number of other names that we really liked and three weeks before I gave birth, we were looking at the list again, and we put Buzz back on the table! We really didn’t know what we were going to call him until we met him, and when we saw him, we thought – yes, he’s totally a Buzz.
With Buddy, we just stumbled across the name and we loved it. Obviously, Buddy Holly is an amazing Buddy, and Buzz Aldrin an amazing Buzz. People think that we named him after Buzz Lightyear, but surprisingly, no, that’s not the case!
You had such an overwhelming response to your social media posts about body shaming and body image. Why is the world obsessed with post-baby bodies?
I think the world is obsessed with women’s bodies in general, but more so with post-baby bodies, because we don’t see enough of them, they’re not being portrayed in the media. If anything, Kate Middleton was the eye-opener for me. After she gave birth, I saw her coming out and seeing her with her little bump, that really made me think. I’d never really thought about a woman’s body after giving birth, and seeing her just gave me that wow moment. I think because we don’t see it, people aren’t aware of what women look like post-baby.
During my pregnancy, I loved my body. I loved that it was growing, loved that it was doing something amazing. Then all of a sudden I gave birth and I was like, “Oh, what’s this?”. I was asked in an interview a couple of weeks before having Buzz if I had a workout regime sorted for after having the baby. And I was like, “No, no I don’t!”.
Some people want to use that time to work on their bodies and that’s absolutely fine, it’s up to the individual. The important thing is to not compare yourself to anyone else, to do your own thing.
You’ve been so honest, online and in your book, about dealing with lack of sleep and battling bedtime with the boys. How do you cope?
Honestly, I think there are no answers and you have to do what you have to do to get by. I’ve tried putting Buzz back into bed every time he gets up, I tried that for a few nights where I just wouldn’t speak to him, just pop him back in. It was hard work because he would be calling for me, but on the third night, he just said “Night Mum” and went to sleep! Other times, especially early mornings, it’s not worth the battle, I just can’t deal with it all. If they get into my bed and we all sleep that’s amazing and it’s worth it just so we all get some rest. It’s very difficult, but it’s always changing as well. I think as soon as you feel you’ve got on top of it, it falls apart again. But that also could just be the age of my children. They’re not always going to be climbing into my bed… are they?!
How do you and Tom juggle your busy lives while staying sane and maintaining a healthy relationship?
I’m not entirely sure to be, honest! We always try and do everything 50/50, and I feel really lucky that we’re able to do that. Our family as well, we’re very lucky that we have them to help out. Tom’s mum has the boys if we both have to work, or we try and work it out so one of us is always there. It’s such a juggle! I think it’s knowing as well that we’re not the only ones doing it. You have to remember that in motherhood, or parenthood, you’re not the only one struggling, juggling or stressing to get everything done. Every other parent is on the same journey as you. We're all in this together!
Can you explain the message of your book, Happy Mum Happy Baby, in four words?
You are not alone.
What’s the best bit of advice on motherhood you have ever been given?
Someone once said to me, “Listen to all the information, then chuck it away”. Listen to all the advice you are given, absorb it, but then chuck it away. What works for one might not necessarily work for another. Every child is different.
Read more about Giovanna's adventures in motherhood, plus see exclusive family photographs, by picking up your copy of Happy Mum Happy Baby online or in store at easons.com
See more of Giovanna by following her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.