When I received this book to review, I had absolutely no idea who Myleene Klass was (singer, musician, radio and TV presenter, model; and now mum). I am not a celebrity follower (except a few best-selling authors) and my idea of hell would be being made to watch hour after of hour reality TV, with particular torture coming from those featuring celebrities. (Myleene Klass was on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here). I was therefore not very hopeful of enjoying reading it.
However, I hadn’t realised that I would find out that I was also pregnant, shortly before starting to read it. And when I am pregnant or for about a year afterwards (my experience of having one child obviously making an expert) I cannot get enough stories about pregnancy and babies. So be warned, my opinions are based on my hormones as well as (maybe even instead of) my head.
I found the book a very easy read, though would by no means consider it well-written in linguistic and literary terms. Much of what Myleene was going through is familiar to anyone who is or has been pregnant. From hormonal mood-swings, to feeling part of a new club of mums, to feeling you have permission to eat as much as you want, to worrying about things that could go wrong, to having difficulty moving about towards the end, to being unsure what contractions feel like (all anyone ever told me about them was ‘You’ll know when you’re having them.’), she suffered many of the common pregnancy problems. And, just as reading blog posts about these things and thinking ‘Oh yes, I felt like that,’ the familiarity was comforting and pleasant.
On the other hand, a lot of what Myleene was going through was far removed from what most pregnant mums are going through. From flying all over the world doing photo shoots for Marks and Spencers, to being given freebies by company after company (how many buggies does any one baby need, really), to having total strangers talk about all the things she was doing wrong (and not just well-meaning friends and relatives), to being able to run off to a private doctor after one (really very) bad NHS GP experience, her pregnancy was being played out in the midst of a whirlwind of celebrity, following her time on that reality show.
For the most part I found Myleene sympathetic and, from what I’ve seen in the book, I think she’s probably a pretty good mum (since this is the paperback, I imagine the baby must be approaching toddlerhood by now, though don’t know) struggling through all the things we do and having the same moments of utter love and pride for our children. But there were a few things that I wasn’t happy about.
One of these was the flying off to the private sector, rather than sticking with the NHS a bit longer. She did have a horrible experience (actually, more than one in the end), but most mums have at least one of these. I don’t think it’s just sour grapes that makes me feel this way, though there’s probably an element of it.
The other thing that I was concerned about was her advocating bottle-feeding. Or, more accurately telling readers not to be pressured into breast-feeding if they didn’t want to. Interestingly she did end up breast-feeding and took to it with sickening ease compared to the difficulties many of us have. Having a celebrity seem to endorse bottle-feeding is quite a dangerous thing, I feel, as there are many people out there who will be inclined to follow the lead of their favoured celebrities.
As yet, I’ve only mentioned Myleene’s story, but the book also contains titbits from her partner’s diaries, tips and ‘What’s happening to your body’ sidebars. The sidebars are just standard information about what’s happening to you and your baby, week by week. Her partner’s little diary excerpts were interesting, if only because it’s nice to have a male perspective. Her tips range from useful to a bit odd and the occasional one that was a bit worrying (breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding again).
Would I recommend this book to a friend embarking on motherhood? Only if she was a bit of a celebrity follower I think and, even then, with a warning to make sure she reads around elsewhere for proper information. Possibly I might recommend it to someone who was having any of the same pregnancy problems as Myleene did, so that she could see that she was not alone and that even celebrities suffer from pregnancy brain. But for the most part, I would be more inclined to recommend picking up a proper pregnancy or parenting book. These are ones I got good use out of (and will probably be digging out again shortly, to check on what’s happening inside my body) last time:
But if you’re just after a quick, easy read about another mum going through her first pregnancy, with the added glamour of George Clooney and Brad Pitt bump-touching, then you might enjoy Myleene Klass’ book.