The idea came to me, many years ago, on January the 11th 2001 at 1.21pm. (Ten minutes after my second daughter came into the world to be exact.) I’d had a home birth and my first born had decided to nap through the whole birthing event, choosing to have one of her mammoth afternoon sleeps. When she awoke I was tucked up in bed, with new babe in arms. Her Dad brought her in and sat her on the bed, at which point, the swaddled bundle in my arms let out a loud piercing wail. Our sleepy toddler, looked concerned. She leant in and stroked the top of her baby sisters head gently saying;
“Don’t worry baby, your Mummy will be here soon.”
To which I replied;
“I’m her Mummy sweetheart.”
She gave me a puzzled, look and said;
“No, you’re just MY MUMMY.”
I pointed to my stomach and said;
“This was the baby in here, in Mummy’s tummy.”
She looked horrified and yelled;
“Put it back in your tummy Mummy, quick! It’s fallen out!”
It was a funny, memorable first little encounter but it did get me thinking on how I hadn’t done a great job in preparing her for the arrival of her new sister. So, I started writing a book that I wished had been around when I was having my second. (Admittedly it did take me almost fifteen years to actually sit down and write it but hey, these things can’t be rushed!)
In 2015 I submitted the book to a well know publisher. To my absolute delight the commissioning editor loved it and said they would publish. Unfortunately, the editor then went on maternity leave (Oh, the irony) and the new editor didn’t take the book forward. I was devastated. I thought the traditional publishing route was the only legitimate way of getting my book out there. After moping around for a few months I started looking into self-publishing and I’m so glad I did.
After much searching I found the perfect illustrator. The whole project took nine months to complete (again…the irony.) The process has been so rewarding. It’s been a huge learning curve. Because I’ve self-published I’ve had complete autonomy over every aspect. The illustrations were so important to me. I wanted them to have a timeless feel, so my book wouldn’t date.
I also wanted every child reading it to identify with at least one of the illustrations in the book. Getting a diverse mix of ethnicity and family groups was also a fundamental part of this books story. Infact – This is what people are loving so much! So often in children’s books we see everything segregated. We need to be sharing diversity matters and encouraging inclusivity from an early age. We mustn’t think that ’these books are only important to the people who need to see themselves represented.’ These books are important for all of us.
I’m so happy to say; ‘Let’s talk to Mummy’s tummy’ has been brilliantly received! I’m shipping to the States, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand and all over the UK.
I have had the book translated into Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, French and I also have an adapted States version. It’s my aim to keep translating it into as many languages as possible as luckily – my book has a global appeal… all over the world babies are born and continue to be born!