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Interview with Louise Hamilton, author of Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – Stumbling Into the Unknown

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What is your book, Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – Stumbling into the unknown?
Mine is a pregnancy book – it is in three parts: 1. A true and honest account of my pregnancy in diary format. From conception, to holding my little bundle of joy in my arms. 2. My mum and friends’ pregnancy and birth stories – no two pregnancies/births are the same, so I’ve given my readers a wide variety of experiences. 3. Hints and tips section e.g. What to pack in your hospital bag, How to write a birth plan etc.

What kind of readers is the book aimed at?
Pregnant ladies, mum-to-be, parents, mothers, ladies who want to reminisce on their pregnancy, and anyone interested in what a woman ACTUALLY goes through while pregnant – men included!

Does pregnancy and motherhood come naturally to anyone, or do we all need books like yours to learn it?
We don’t need books like this one to learn about being pregnant or a good parent – all advice is found through our amazing midwives. But it’s reassuring to read about someone else’s experiences as EVERY part of pregnancy is new to a first time mum – we can’t see inside our tummies, and half of my pregnancy was spent worrying that something was wrong with my baby. I’d look forward to seeing the midwife for reassuring bump measurements and using her doppler to listen to the sound of my baby’s heartbeat. Even at the last stages of my pregnancy, when I was the size of a house, I was feeling big movements from within my tum but I was worrying that my baby wasn’t moving enough, and then worrying that neither of us would survive the birth – it all sounds so silly and ridiculous now but those pesky hormones have a big part to play in this! All I’m saying is, pregnancy is a new and frightening experience and even if it’s a second or third pregnancy it’s hard to remember what happened the time before, and all pregnancies are different. It’s nice and comforting to feel a connection with someone who has written all of these symptoms and niggles down to relate with – I have had so many ladies write to me saying: “Thank God I’m not the only one!” It’s great to know I’m helping people.

What was the most unexpected thing that happened to you during your pregnancy?
The pregnancy itself was unexpected, it was unplanned and even though I’d been with my partner Luke 2 1/2 years we didn’t feel ready for this life-changing news. Also, pregnancy as a whole is completely unknown territory – it feels like every day you wake up with a new pregnancy symptom or ailment. Having your whole body taken over – you’re growing an entire new human being from scratch – is amazing, so each new symptom, movement, the sheer size of your swolen belly and the fact you cant see your feet or reach them to even put socks on is all unexpected to someone who has never been pregnant before!

How long did this book take you to write?
It took me 18 months to write and a further 6 months to get right and edited, then published. It was based on the 9 months I was pregnant, and the diary I kept for the duration of my pregnancy.

It cannot have been easy writing while you’re going through the throes of pregnancy; was this the most challenging part of the process?
I had never written anything since school, my punctuation and grammar still need PLENTY of work! So the most challenging part of the process was converting my jumbled scribbles into a readable and professionally laid out book!

Another challenge was opening up completely. My book is an honest account and was written from my original diary so I had to be 100% honest with many a topic which I felt should be kept private. I had to learn to wear my heart on my sleeve and learn also, that nothing was out of bounds. Reading my book back, the honesty really adds a true connection to the reader and I am really happy with it.

There is nothing like this book out at the moment and I really feel it could help so many, I now just need a bigger audience – this is a challenging aspect also!

Usually at this juncture we ask the author to tell us about themselves, but, to be honest, it’s your baby we all want to know about. How is she? Got any baby photos for us to coo over?
My little girl will be 3 years old in April, she is a cheeky monkey and a little bossy, but most of all very strong-willed and independent.

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Baby Jennifer

She is so switched on and is constantly asking questions – her favourite one is “Why?” which isn’t irritating at all… I wouldn’t have her any other way! It is wonderful to see her grow and watch her personality develop and I couldn’t be prouder to be her mum. Being a parent is so difficult, it’s the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world and I couldn’t be happier.

I guess we best ask about you too.
My name is Louise Hamilton, I am 27. I live in Lancashire, UK with my fiancee Luke. While Luke is at work I spend my days playing and baking with my daughter Jennifer and watching Disney films! In my spare time (when Jenny is asleep and the housework is done) I write.

My life hasn’t always been this good, Luke and I have been through some tough times. In fact, I spent all of my pregnancy thinking I’d raise the baby alone as a single parent. His parents are literally the worst human beings I know and made for great writing if nothing else.

I used to read extracts of my diary to my friends and depending what the extract was about they would giggle or cry. It was only when reading about one particurlarly amusing incident with a girl inappropriately groping my pregnant bump in a bar and I responded to this weird gropey girl by grabing her sizable breasts that one of my friends (after spitting out her mouthful of tea) said I should type it out properly for others to read. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in my scribbles but it appears people are!

I used to write poetry, but now my new passion is my series of parenting books in diary style.

Your book is based on your diary; do you keep a blog?
http://pregnancybabyblog.wordpress.com.

Where can we buy your book?
Amazon ( US, UK).

What’s next?
My second book is yet to be named, but it’s about my baby’s first year including things like breastfeeding, weaning, nappies, coping on holidays abroad etc. I am also working on my third book which takes us from baby’s 1st birthday to her first day of school (so this won’t be ready for about 18 months). Watch this space! I am on Twitter @Mummy_Diaries and my facebook page is www.facebook.com/mummydiaries – I love feedback and connecting with my readers!

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