085: What ‘Nobody Told Me’ When I Became a Mum

with Hollie McNish

Someone said, Mums are the rocks that never crumble. I don’t think that’s true, because I do

[Hollie McNish]

Every mother has a pre-conceived idea of what pregnancy and parenthood will be like. But often the reality doesn’t match the dream and it turns out to be completely different to the fluffy-bunny rabbit world that the media has created.

In today’s episode you’ll get an insight into the mind of a mum who penned her motherhood experiences into a series of diary entries and modern-day poems. The thoughts and feelings of one mother, captured the hearts and minds of millions of others, who all nodded along in hearty agreement.

My guest today is SuperMum, Hollie McNish.

Hollie lives near Cambridge, UK with her seven year old daughter. An eternal writer and poet, Hollie naturally chronicled her observations of being a mum as a way to vent both her joy and her frustration of motherhood. Little did she know that her work would one day be published or that she would become an Internet sensation. Her book, ‘Nobody Told Me’ recently won her the highly acclaimed Ted Hughes award and her YouTube channel, where she reads her poetry, has a following over over 4 million.

‘Nobody Told Me’ tracks Hollie’s journey from the time she took her very first pregnancy test, to the day she dropped her 3 year old daughter to pre-school for the very first time. Through it, she explicitly shares her view on a whole array of mummy matters from the embarrassment of breast feeding in public to the loss of her identity. From exhaustion so overwhelming it lead her to ‘cry hidden in loos’ to her scorn of being branded as having ‘baby brain’.

In this no-holds-barred episode, Hollie and I talk at length about our breasts flicking from being something sexual into being something functional and back again, to dealing with having sex again post-birth, and to feeling isolated and lost after having a child.

And the pièce de résistance? Hollie does an exclusive reading of my favourite poem from her book called, ‘What’s My Name Again’ which leaves me brushing away the tears from the raw nerve that it hits head on.

I am so excited to welcome Hollie to my show today. I’m not a poetry lover, but this stuff you’ll be eating up. She gives us a refreshingly real-life view of motherhood. Frank, honest and forthright from pregnancy to pre-school, which will leave you feeling like at last somebody finally gets it and actually gives a damn.

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In this episode we talk about:

  • How putting her thoughts about motherhood into a personal journal was the catalyst for something unexpected that changed the course of Hollie’s life
  • The unspoken side of life as a mum with a young child and how the struggles and internal battles were given a voice
  • The realities of returning to work for the first time after maternity leave and why being told she has ‘Mushy Mummy Brain’ drives Hollie mad
  • The difficulties in juggling the needs of our children with the needs of our partner
  • The contrast between using breasts for sexual pleasure and using them to feed your baby, often in the same night
  • Why breastfeeding while you’re out can be such a highly charged topic, and why ‘exposing yourself’ this way is taboo when women’s bodies are freely flaunted in public

Hope you enjoy today’s show