It’s a while since I struggled through sleepless nights with a new baby, but Grace’s memoir Mum Face brought it all flooding back. A candid account of her journey into motherhood, it’s like a chat with your best mate; naughty, funny, eye-wateringly honest and reassuring.
Recalling (with a wince!) the birth of my own child, followed by those early days of feeling all at sea with a new-born, motherhood certainly can be a baptism of fire. But what prompted Chichester-based Grace to write her story?
“When I was pregnant and then a new Mum I was desperate to discover that my fears, the guilt and the self-doubt was normal. I didn’t find it anywhere, so when the fog had cleared a bit I wanted to put it out there for other women who might be feeling the same, and hopefully give them a laugh at the same time. It’s my story but I think a lot of it will resonate with most mums.”
And writing the book confirmed to her the truth of the old adage ‘they grow up so fast.’
“It had all shot past me so quickly. At times those night feeds seemed endless and some of the days just ran into one another. And yet looking back it was as if it had all happened in the blink of an eye, so all the clichés must be true.”
As a successful beauty editor Grace is accustomed to the discipline of meeting deadlines, but remembering specific details saw her calling in help from friends and family to jog her memory.
“Then I was on a roll. The thing is I was so unbelievably tired for the first year that I swear a lot of it just never fully impressed upon my brain, it just fell out!” she laughed, once again transporting me back to a time with my own precious bundle when I was so shattered that even decisions like tea or coffee challenging.
Gorgeous, stylish and exuding warmth and laughter, it’s hard to imagine Grace is ever anything other than firing on all cylinders and looking like she stepped out of the pages of one of the glossy magazines she writes for.
“Nobody has it all together, no matter what appearances might suggest,” she insisted, adding that new mums should go easy on themselves. “If you have a critical thought about your parenting but you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t think it of yourself either. And ask for help! Always ask for help.”
Mum Face is perfectly timed as a Mother’s Day gift but, with her beauty editor’s hat on, what else might be a particularly well-received present for new mums?
“Something cosseting and indulgent; maybe a luxurious shower oil or foam they can use every day and so make the most of that 5 minute wash!”
Sounds bang-on to me.
Mum Face: The memoir of a woman who gained a baby and lost her sh*t by Grace Timothy is out now, published by HarperCollins, £12.99.