Bad reviews = Bad sma-shmoooos! Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – Stumbling into the unknown

As I’ve not written on here for a while (slap wrist) I thought it best to do a post and update everyone on how I am and what I’ve been up to.

I am still feeling bitter about the negative feedback I received about my book, I know at this present time I have TWENTY THREE 5-star reviews but the 1 x 1 star and 1 x 2 star, are really getting to me still.

It’s taken me a long time to write this as I didn’t want to end up rambling and ranting but the 1 star review really hit me like a smack in the face. People say you should focus on the positives and not the negatives and at the time I had 17 or so gleaming 5* reviews, but it was so unexpected! I was just checking my Amazon page as per usual and it said 18 reviews which was 1 more than the previous evening so I eagerly clicked on to read what wonderful things someone had said about me this time and BAM… 1 star with the title ‘awful’. It read as follows:

I had high hopes for this book but it was awful! I dont know why people are saying its an honest account, I find the author whiney and self centred. There is nothing useful about this book, a complete waste of money. dont bother!

I stopped breathing. This was someone who had read my book? I had spent two years of my life writing, re-structuring, editing, scrutinising, compiling the perfect hints and tips section, and harassing ladies I know to give me their pregnancy and birth stories as I know no two pregnancies and births are the same, to create the ‘perfect’ pregnancy companion and this lady had read this very same book??

So I did what any sane 27 year old would do and cried. Hysterically.

I also wrote Tweets with a few swear words thrown in for good measure. My friend Charlie (@charlieplunkett author of: The True Diary of a Bride-to-be, The True Diary of a Mum-to-be, The True Diary of Baby’s First Year and 100 Little Words on Parenthood) called me straight away, not that I could speak through the hysterical childish sobs. Luckily 15 minutes later she had calmed me down and my voice was back to normal, bar the bunged up nose and the random hiccup-things a child has after a raging tantrum.

It took days to shake off that horrible back cloud, someone HATED my book – not dislike, not “I won’t read that one again.” Nope, took the time to go online and slate it good and proper. The thing that really got to me was that it wasn’t even an Amazon Verified purchase so she most probably didn’t even read my book.

The next bad review was from a lady called Emily – Verified purchase so she had actually bought it – she gave 2 stars and it read:

This mainly focuses on the lady’s seemingly doomed relationship with the father of her child which overshadows any actual pregnancy information or stories. There is a good collection of her friends’ birth stories which is the redeeming factor of the book but I found it all a rather depressing read to be honest!

That I can deal with, not a personal attack, just criticism. I responded to re-writing some of the blurb on Amazon to:

*WARNING* this book is not sugar coated, I do not lead a perfect life and the future of my relationship is uncertain – I hope this will make people who have the wonderful, loving husband and the perfect(ish) planned pregnancy see a different side to pregnancy, and those in a similar situation relate to parts of what they are reading – above all I hope you have a great time devouring my honest account.

I knew that when I wrote and published my book I left myself wide open to public criticism, but I never expected to feel physically winded – like a punch in the stomach. When pregnancy is such a stressful and emotional time in a woman’s life, putting pen to paper is so hard, trying to describe how terrible you feel for most of it, coming to terms with changing relationships, changing body, changing life – everything is so unstable. So for me to pour my heart out and be so brutally honest when I felt most vulnerable I thought was brave and I thought by sharing it may help women in similar situations.

Above all, I felt the comments unnecessary this is why they have lingered with me for so long – never mind turning my glowing 5 star average into a 4 ½ star average. Grumble..

Anyway, my book ‘Mummy Diaries: Pregnancy – stumbling into the unknown’ is doing well, currently #10 in the Amazon Bestsellers chart for Motherhood on Kindle so I’m happy about that. I am running a May Promotion where my book is just 77p so grab it while you can and enjoy if you haven’t already! Make your own mind up 🙂

Lou xxx

I love my brother. 33 weeks + 1 day pregnant.

I went to the local hospital the check the position of my anterior placenta. My brother Josh went with me as Luke was working but I also want Josh to feel involved as he’s come a long way to be with me. At only 18 years old he has shown me that he is more responsible and thoughtful than most fully grown mature men. (The real reason he came back to the UK was because he felt a responsibility to look after me and play the role of ‘big brother’ even though he’s 6 years younger than me.) He said that the bullying behaviour of Luke’s family made his heart hurt and he had to come to my rescue. I’m so glad he’s here, he is the best brother a girl could ask for and is so sensitive to my feelings. He’s already made me feel more supported and really at ease with the whole family situation, I no longer feel outnumbered and ganged up on; I feel very wanted, reassured, loved and included. We walked to the hospital together and he wouldn’t shut up about seeing his niece, he was so excited and was asking me all sorts of questions. When we finally settled down with me on the scanning bed and him on the edge of his chair next to me we looked at each other and giggled; it felt great to be sharing such a special thing with him. The sonographer jellied my large belly and the baby filled the screen. No longer was she hidden in the corner of the screen all teeny tiny like at the 7 or 12 week scan, her head alone filled the screen! You could see that she was massive, as the sonographer moved the scan probe, only one body part could be seen at any one time. The aim of the scan was to see where my placenta was lying but they were struggling to get the exact measurements that St Marys hospital needed for my appointment there the next day, so the sonographer showed me a long probe and proceeded to put a condom on it and told me she would need to do an internal scan. Well as soon as ‘dildo cam’ had been shown to us my brother scarpered! I couldn’t see him for dust! It was a very uncomfortable feeling with ‘dildo cam’ inside me trying to view my placenta but the lady was professional and I was trying to stay calm. They finally got my measurements and I was free to leave although on leaving the room and seeing my brother in the waiting room I couldn’t help but blush!

DO NOT TOUCH! 32 weeks +5 days pregnant.

I had a random girl in a bar toilet come up to my bump today on one of my several wee trips. She knelt down and actually groped me WITHOUT my permission, and come to think of it without any warning either. So once she got up from kneeling I groped her boobs. A lot. I think people need to understand that not everyone is all free and ok with being groped and that just because you are carrying a massive blessing of an unborn child in your tummy, it is NOT ok to touch people without asking, especially when they are strangers; it’s creepy. Even though I know my anger and response isn’t normal, I can’t help it. I’m sure it’s the hormones; I’m starting to behave like an escaped mental patient!

Pregnancy sex and heartburn. 31 weeks +3 days pregnant

I am feeling the need to write about sex as it appears to be not particularly written about in the books I’ve read. Having sex is getting particularly difficult at this stage and ‘spooning’ is literally the only semi-comfortable position we have found. It is like completing an obstacle course these days and having sex like a normal couple is completely out of the question. Although I am more in the mood for sex than I ever have been, I get uncomfortable and tired very quickly. The upside is that he can’t get me pregnant! Although my body has changed so dramatically, Luke still says he fancies me but in that department I am large, tired and when the baby kicks we end up laughing and that’s kind of a mood killer! I not only feel frumpy but unkempt too, I can’t see my lady area and am paranoid that it looks like the “gardener” has been on holiday instead of mowing my lady garden. Even reaching down to shave my legs is a massive chore.

I’m struggling with new pregnancy difficulties every day. To get up off the floor I roll onto my side and then on my hands and knees then walk my hands towards my knees and from kneeling I slowly stand up – my goodness what an effort! I feel slow and heavy like I’m struggling walking through water. No matter how much I try to move quicker I’m just stuck in the mud, struggling, sweaty and out of breath and this is just doing simple tasks like getting myself ready in the morning or climbing stairs. My ribs ache, my lower back is so sore, I struggle to catch my breath and feel bruised and battered all over and inside as well as outside as my body is being stretched to the extreme. Sleeping is now impossible; I struggle getting comfy even with one pillow between my thighs another between my knees easing the extreme weight and pressure, one wedged under my swollen belly and several keeping my neck comfy. My bump is massive and I constantly underestimate the sheer size of it, I unintentionally close doors in it, stand too close to people and knock things over with it. I have to open my legs really wide when sat down to try and reach or lean forward so my bump can fit between my legs, I can’t do my shoes up or put my own socks on and I feel about 4 years old. Acid reflux, and in turn heartburn has struck majorly I’m now drinking Gaviscon like juice, and I keep a big bottle in my handbag at all times. I find the heartburn is triggered mainly by fresh orange juice and spicy foods but it can strike at any time especially when I’m lying down. Goodbye sleep, how I will miss you so.

Force feeding information and opinions. 20 weeks + 2 days pregnant.

It’s strange how complete strangers or people you hardly know feel the need to push all sorts of horrendous information on you when you didn’t ask for it. It’s happening quite a lot now. Even when you actually butt in and tell them to stop and shut up, they completely ignore you, and carry on with the battle scene tale of scalpels and forceps. And if they’re not giving me a gruesome Stephen King horror story of labour, I’ve got people coming up to me in the street and telling me I’m having a boy or I’m having a girl – point blank convinced they are correct. If I say ‘well I just don’t know yet’, they’ll scrutinise every aspect of my cravings, morning sickness (or lack of it), the way I’m ‘carrying’ my bump, assess my back fat, bum and love handles then tell me they’ve either made the right decision or change their mind and say the other gender. I’m getting a little pissed off at being looked at like I’m a piece of meat by old women who feel the need to take up 10 minutes of my time even though they know they’ll never see me again in my whole life; and even if I did recognise them in the street a year later with my bundle of joy and told them they were right (or wrong) I’d probably get told to ‘move along’ by the police for being a crazy person intimidating and aggravating the elderly.

This has got me thinking, women have an opinion on everything, especially women who are mothers; there are certain topics of conversation which trigger mass debates – especially online on the Babycentre website.  Finding out the sex of a baby at the 20 week scan, pain relief to use in labour and breast or bottle feeding are amongst the most popular ones I’ve encountered so far. Some women are really vehement on their opinion, it’s a little scary.

Any feedback on my posts so far?

I’m looking for feedback on my posts, I’d also love some Twitter re-tweets and shares.. follow my posts and give me any critisism be it positive or negative 🙂 may thanks xx

The baby name process. 22 weeks + 3 days pregnant.

We went out for dinner with our good friends Becca and Richard to a local Italian restaurant and had the baby name discussion. As we were reading the menu I said that I’d like a traditional name for a girl and I like Evelyn, which can be shortened to Eve or Evie and I’d like her middle name to be Grace. There! Name chosen, that was that and on to ordering pizza, or so I thought. Luke contested saying he didn’t like the name and considering she is half his he should have some say. Now I’m very protective over my bump and as I’m carrying her, eating well, having to use the toilet ALL the time, having to push this little girl out of lady parts and stretching my tummy skin to within an inch of its life I beg to differ, but he does have a point so I hear him out! One of the first names he says is Jennifer which I immediately dismiss because he mentioned it and I’m a hormonal pregnant lady who has the right to be unreasonable at any time. But he does have a point, he has picked a name that is not only traditional, beautiful, timeless and goes with the middle name Grace, I also like the shortenings Jen and Jenny. Sorted, Jennifer Grace it is! Now on with ordering pizza!