A couple of months ago, I spied on Twitter a post via Britmums, from a journalist looking for mums whose babies had been very overdue. ‘Yep,’ I thought, ‘that definitely applies to me.’ I pondered contacting her, uhmming and ahhing over it, eventually deciding I would, just to see what it was all about.
A few DMs revealed the journalist, Rachel, was writing an article for Mother & Baby magazine, a feature on long overdue babies and if I was interested, could I let her have my story? I thought about it a bit longer, deciding that really I had nothing to lose. And with my work hat on, there just might be a chance I could include a link to my blog, which is all about motherhood after all. As a freelance copywriter, I’m always trying to find new ways to showcase what I write; maybe, just maybe, this could be a good opportunity.
So I cast my mind back to those long overdue days (17!) awaiting Zee’s arrival, relayed the highs and lows to Rachel, and hit send. Throughout the whole process, she was friendly and enthusiastic and reassured me it was going to be a lovely piece.
I forgot about it for a while, until Rachel replied to say her editor loved my story and wanted to include it. Now, for photos. Could I provide any pictures, from just after Z’s birth, a few when I was waiting for him, some of us both a few days later? ‘Yes of course,’ I replied, thinking that a good photo of Zee wouldn’t be hard to find, one of me post-labour might not be too pretty. I found one and I am not ashamed to say I gleefully took some editing tools to it. A few filters here, some softer light there and hey presto, I didn’t look too scary. Vain, maybe but hey, it’s my article and I’ll filter if I want to.
Although of course, it’s not technically my article. It’s my story, but I’m not writing it. Being a copywriter, this felt quite curious to me. Rachel explained that once she’d had the pics approved she’d call me to discuss everything properly. I’d already sent quite a detailed summary, so it was interesting to talk it through; to get a sense of her angle for the piece and the way she wanted to frame it. She asked me good, insightful questions, which helped jog my memory (sieve-esque since Zee’s arrival). She also wanted to know at key stages if I felt anxious, worried, frustrated, scared . . . I could see where this was going. Yes, it was difficult and stressful in parts; I was bloody enormous, waddling around like a giant watermelon on legs and my baby showed not the slightest interest in making their presence known in this world. But I didn’t want to dwell on that.
The point is, for me, I was given a due date, but it’s not set in stone and the baby arrives when the baby arrives. I don’t personally believe in all the ‘Eat a hot curry!’, ‘Drink raspberry leaf tea!’ ‘Walk up a giant hill!’ advice – I ate curry because I like curry, a lot. I maximised every single lie-in and went to the cinema a fair few times. I enjoyed a Pilates class where I was asked ‘When are you due?’, I merrily replied ‘Last week!’ and watched them back away. I just tried to be patient. Rachel noted it all down and said she’d call back to read it out to me before it went to print.
When Rachel called again it was nice yet weird to hear my own story, in her words. Strange, because she’d used a few phrases I wouldn’t say, and there were a couple of details the editorial team had added in that just weren’t true, so I asked for those to be removed. They’d left out the bit about Adam bringing Pizza Express takeaway to the labour room when things kicked off slowly, which I felt was a shame as this was the most fun part of a verrrrrry long night.
The only thing that made me wary was a line someone had added in my ‘Three things I’d tell my friends’ section. I’d commented that once you go past your due date, every time you call or text someone you find yourself prefacing it with ‘No news!’ or ‘Nothing to report . . .’ But this had been turned into something along the lines of ‘Tell your family and friends an approximate date, to stop the annoying questions when you go past your due date.’
No, no. I would never say something like that about my family and friends, contacting me to see if I was okay and wish me luck, which I stressed to Rachel several times.
Anyway, it all sounded pretty spot on; I dared to ask again if my blog link might *perhaps* be included, which Rachel was very polite about but I sensed it was a no. Oh well. If you don’t ask . . .
The article is in the September issue, out early August. I bought a copy last week and felt quite nervous when I opened it. There we were; Zee and I in Mother & Baby magazine, with no mention of the word ‘annoying’, a gorgeous (I’m biased, yes) photo of brand new Zee, and me post-labour, looking shell-shocked and filtered. Result! And of course there’s a Princess Charlotte link to the whole overdue angle, of course. I’d had no clue there would be, but what larks.
A fun experience all round and something to add to Zee’s memory box. It’s also something I can brandish at him in years to come, if he’s stomping around the house declaring how much he wishes he’d never been born. ‘But LOOK what I went through for you to be born, you ungrateful rascal!’ I shall declare. It’s my right as his mother, I do believe.