I didn't set out to write a book. When I was up for the 3am feeds, enjoying the peace and quiet and the precious time with my baby son, writing a book, couldn't have been further from my conscious mind. However, my subconscious obviously had other ideas!
I never envisaged that a book written by me would be on the shelves of Waterstones and winging its way across the UK and overseas to hundreds of new mums - but that’s exactly what happened!
A burst of creativity
When Matthew was around 4 months old, I was breastfeeding as usual, when a poem popped into my head out of nowhere! A rhyming one at that! When I put Matthew back down to sleep, I wrote it down and the next morning I showed my husband. The funny thing was, this kept happening and by the time my son was 8 months old and I’d stopped breastfeeding, I'd got 40 poems! Most were written in a light-hearted, rhyming style, but all of them reflected my feelings and experiences as a new mum – from the first scan, to the end of maternity leave – with everything in between!
Me, with Matthew
I’d been a primary school teacher for years, enjoying teaching children creative writing, (including poetry) as part of my job. I’d written an occasional poem to support a Literacy lesson, but only a handful – nothing like this before – or since, actually! Looking back, I put it down to hormones, the peace and quiet and the emotional intensity of being a new mum. I think it was my brain’s way of coping with the rollercoaster that being a new mum brings.
I kept all of the poems in a folder, planning to share them with Matthew, when he was older. I showed family and friends, who suggested getting the poems published, as other mums might like to read them. I looked into it, but to be honest, my approach was a bit hit & miss, as my focus was on being mum to my baby boy. I put the poems away for another few years.
When Matthew started school, I was reading a book written by a mum, which prompted me to think about the poems again. I got the folder out, did a bit of an edit and started to properly research publishing options. I got offers from publishers and in 2018, my book, ‘Baby Daze,’ came out, published by The Book Guild.
'Baby Daze' in a high- street book shop
Learning the skills of marketing and promotion
My publisher did the initial marketing. Soon after ‘Baby Daze’ came out, it was recommended in ‘Mother & Baby’ magazine’s ‘3 of the best funny books’ feature and very quickly I was invited to do interviews for radio and newspapers. It was very exciting, but speaking live on BBC radio stations was a whole new experience. I have to admit, that despite sounding extremely confident when interviewed live in the studio of BBC Radio Leeds, inside, I was shaking like a leaf!! From then on, I learnt to step outside of my comfort zone and do lots of my own marketing and promotion. I did talks for expectant parents at events at Mamas & Papas and Mothercare about my experiences as a breastfeeding mum, offering practical tips and advice, to go alongside the advice of the maternity professionals that were present. I spoke to a large audience of councillors, maternity professionals and parents, at the launch event of Baby Week Leeds.
Speaking at expectant parents' events
Encouraging new mums to open up about their feelings
The feedback I was getting from new mums was that the poems were reassuring and helpful. I began to use the poems at mums’ groups, as a prompt to get new mums to talk about their own feelings and emotions. In relating to the short, light-hearted poems, it enabled them to speak with honesty about their real feelings. One particular mum, said that it helped her to normalise difficult feelings in a way that other mums and babies’ groups didn’t.
My son’s reaction to the book
Matthew loves having a book inspired by and dedicated to him.
He asked if he could take it in for ‘Show & Tell’ at school, when it first came out.
One of the poems he read was this one, which went down well with his Year 1 friends!
Getting a photo for a
Oh my goodness he’s not happy
He has got a filthy nappy!
He just let out such a trump
The explosion made me jump!
Catapulted him off my knee
Hardly dared to look and see!
It’s on his back and legs as well
I can’t describe the awful smell!
I had better make it snappy
His feet are getting in the nappy!
I’m worried about his poorly tum
Don’t want to seem a fussy mum!
But it has given me a fright
I want to check that he’s alright.
Doctor said that this much poo
Is common – “It’s what babies do!”
(from 'Baby Daze,' by Sarah Davis)
My Lightbulb Moment
I loved the connections I made with new parents and within the baby industry. Combined with the enjoyment I’d got from writing articles, guest posts and press pitches related to my book, I wanted to take things further. When I came across someone offering a copywriting training course, everything fell into place! I completed the course and launched my business as The Parenting Copywriter!
Working with baby, parenting and educational brands and businesses, I provide content for websites, landing pages, press release statements, blog posts and more. I use my skills of writing for a parent audience and my knowledge of promotion and marketing, to help small business owners attract clients who are parents.
I love my job as The Parenting Copywriter.
Who knew that being up for the 3am feeds would lead to this?
'Baby Daze' is available from Waterstones, Amazon and independent bookshops, priced at £7.99 or less https://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-Daze-Humorous-Honest-Motherhood/dp/1912362139