When I discovered I was pregnant with my first child in late 2004, overnight I transformed from a career focused, go-getter, into a neurotic, baby obsessed mama to be. I’d immerse myself in book after book that would document in painstaking detail all the physical, emotional and psychological changes that I’d no doubt encounter on the journey to motherhood. It didn‘t stop there. Every evening I would arrive home and virtually fling myself on the sofa, packet of Jacobs crackers in hand (that’s all I could eat for four months) getting lost in episode after episode of pregnancy reality TV shows (this was before the days of One Born Every Minute). So in other words - I was pretty prepared. Right? The survey says (cue Family Fortunes buzzer) *Uh uh*. Fast forward nine months later and the baby arrives (yay). But after the adrenaline and euphoria wears off, I find myself spinning in a maelstrom of endless feeds, leaky nipples, irrational thoughts, sleep deprivation, chronic insecurity, and just a general laundry list of feelings that weren’t listed in those BLADDY BOOKS!
On one particular lonesome trip with me and my bubby to Bromley I stumbled across a book in Waterstones. “Amy Crane is in crisis. Six months after giving birth, she’s still struggling with the transition from independent thirty something to muffin-middle mum. She can‘t remember the last time she had a wax. Or an orgasm” Wow, there’s my life on the back of a paperback, I thought to myself. Needless to say I quickly grabbed a copy, made my way to the cash point and that was it. Over the next five days or so I could be found within the pages of The Rise and Fall of a Yummy Mummy by Polly Williams. Everything I needed to understand and fully process my experience of becoming a mum could be found in the pages of my new companion. Like me, Amy was struggling to navigate in her new role as primary caregiver. A professional in her early 30’s, up until this point Amy hadn’t really had to deal with much responsibility. Not only was she overwhelmed by the enormity of her new role, but there was also the insecurities she felt trying to live up the ‘yummy mummy’ description that has become the burden of the modern day mother, fuelled by unobtainable images of post natal celebrities in weekly glossies.
So Amy, trying to resurrect some semblance of her former life, starts hanging around with a woman named Alice who fits the yummy mummy prototype to a tee. With a healthy bank account, a hot hubby, a fancy pad and a cavalier attitude towards motherhood, Alice takes Amy under her wing and gives her an insight into what motherhood could be like if she were to up the ante on the fabulousity stakes. Amy attempts to do so to comical consequences. From replacing her drab Primark wardrobe with designer garb, joining a Pilates class and becoming enamoured by the charms of her instructor, to getting botox much to her husband’s dismay - Amy is relentless in her pursuit of ‘hot mama-hood’ and things become rather complicated in the process. Like all good chick lit books, the tone of The Rise & Fall of a Yummy Mummy is down to earth, light-hearted with a solid moral fable for you to ponder on. Polly Williams is a wonderful writer. I really like her short, snappy sentences, comedic timing and her ability to talk about the modern malaise of contemporary women without portraying us as martyrs and victims. I truly wish I had discovered this book before becoming a mum. If you’re currently up the duff, I’d strongly urge you to do away with the pregnancy manuals and make amazon your friend.You can read Keysha's blog here and follow her on Twitter.