We caught up with Giovanna Fletcher ahead of the launch of her Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up to talk all things parenthood and life in lockdown.
This year hasn’t been the easiest, has it? For new parents, adjusting to this strange new way of life while tackling the trials and tribulations of parenthood – and often without being able to lean on support systems readily available before the pandemic – it’s been a particular testing time. Thankfully, we’ve seen a number of great initiatives and support groups come together virtually over the last few months, and Giovanna Fletcher‘s Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up is no exception.
Since the launch of her Happy Mum Happy Baby book and podcast, Giovanna has been the best pal and confidante many new mums and dads never even knew they needed, tackling taboo subjects and creating a safe space to share all manner of relatable parenting rants. Now with the Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up, mum-of-three Giovanna is hoping to take her line-up of expert guest speakers and candid conversations to an even bigger audience.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve taken Happy Mum Happy Baby to the stage,” Giovanna tells us. “We’ve done a number of live events, panel chats and podcasts, and there was always the plan to create something even bigger for this year, with lots of speakers and stuff. But obviously COVID came along and scuppered our plans.
“With [COVID-19] comes the loss of connect with people in some ways,” explains Giovanna. “People can’t turn to their baby groups or their support groups as much as before. So it’s a really important time to create something that brings people together and make them feel like they’re not alone and that we’re all doing a great job. That’s when the Virtual Meet up was dreamt up.”
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We’re so so so excited to announce 🌟 Happy Mum Happy Baby, The Virtual Meet Up! 🌟 For the first time ever we are inviting our whole community to JOIN US for a bunch of workshops, stories, classes and discussions panel talks from friends of HMHB, experts and familiar faces too! It’s completely free AND you don’t even need to get out of your PJs. Click the link in our bio where you’ll be able to register and pre-book into the daily schedules!! Then head over to our FB Group to keep a look out for early announcements! With thanks to our wonderful partners @disneyplusuk, @ocadouk, @mypura and @fisherprice for helping us bring the magic to life.
While the the small matter of a global pandemic may have put Giovanna’s plans for a live event on hold, the Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up is a great example of how people can still come together for much-needed conversations about the realities of parenthood and to create a sense of community, even with social distancing still very much at play.
“Obviously it would be amazing to be able to leap through the screen and give someone a hug – especially if they’re talking about something quite challenging and difficult,” says Giovanna.” But I don’t feel like the conversation has been affected in a negative way. I would say that, especially with Happy Mum Happy Baby that we’ve created something that is candid and that we don’t feel like we have to censor ourselves. The conversations are happening, which is the really important thing.”
“I’ve had conversations on the podcast that have prompted me to reach out to my GP.”
So, what can we expect from Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up?
Viewers can expect more of the open discussions and community feel so much-loved by fans of the Happy Mum Happy Baby podcast and online network.
“It’s a mixture of chats with experts, different videos around different topics such as anxieties in the first year, talks on pre- and post-natal relaxation techniques, discussions about our bodies, our pelvic floors,” reveals Giovanna.
“I think a lot of women carry a bit of shame and embarrassment when they talk about their pelvic floor and although it’s common [to have issues] it’s not normal and so I hope even just covering that topic will give loads of people encouragement to address anything that’s going on, when they don’t normally take the time to address problems in that area.”
The Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up’s mission is just that: to get people talking, or feeling confident enough to reach out and seek help any parenting issues they may be facing. Something Giovanna admits her podcast has helped with personally in the past. “I learn something from every single guest. It’s like a therapy session for them but also for me,” she tells us.
“There are moments where we just laugh at the ridiculousness of this thing called ‘motherhood’ and think ‘what have we got ourselves in to’.”
“I’ve had conversations on the podcast that have prompted me to reach out to my GP about something. You never know what that knock on effect is. One of the reasons why I think [The Virtual Meet Up] so important is that we’re [the panel] having the chats because we can vocalise our thoughts. I think hearing other people have an account similar to your own can be really powerful and if that encourages someone to be like ‘you know what this is actually affecting me and I need to go and seek some help for this’, then that’s brilliant.”
What about maternal mental health? Will the Virtual Meet up tackle this topic?
“Mental health has always been a massive driving force for the podcast. Suicide is the leading cause of death in mums within the first year and I think for that reason alone it’s so important that we have these conversations and that women know whatever they’re experiencing, whatever they’re feeling – it’s quite likely that someone else is feeling the same. You don’t have to feel as though you can’t ask for help. Those conversations are so important.
“We’ll definitely tackle mum guilt and anxiety surrounding that. I’d like to say we’ve got everything covered but there’s always going to be things that come up after where you’ll go, ‘oh, I wish I’d spoken to this person about that…’.
“It will be eye opening, there are going to be moments that are going to be a bit sad. I think anything where you kind of have to address how you’re feeling is tough. But other moments where we just laugh at the ridiculousness at this thing called motherhood and think ‘what have we got ourselves in to’.
“A bunch of brilliant like-minded people coming together to chat about the things they’re going through.”
Happy Mum Happy Baby: The Virtual Meet Up runs from Thursday 15th October until Sunday 18th October. To sign up visit happymumhappybaby.com/virtual-meetup.
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