From dispelling myths about motherhood and revealing the postnatal pressure on parents, to sharing the sanctity of self-care, bestselling author, podcaster, and actress Giovanna Fletcher has been a comforting voice of support for years. And now she’s embarking on a new challenge, following her passions and finding herself centre stage…
Since Giovanna Fletcher launched her hit podcast, ‘Happy Mum, Happy Baby’, a wealth of celebrity guests, from the Princess of Wales to Fearne Cotton, have joined her for openhearted and fearlessly frank conversations about parenthood.
Based on her bestselling book of the same name, the podcast, which boasts more than 20 million downloads, aims, says Giovanna, to help new mums “feel better about themselves” – something made possible by her own natural warmth and openness about her experience of raising her sons Buzz, 8, Buddy, 6, and Max, 4.
And Giovanna has no plans to take a breather from podcasting, because she understands that for some women, her support could mean the difference between life and death.
“The leading cause of death in new mums within the first postnatal year is suicide,” says Giovanna. “Well, let’s have those chats, let’s get people talking so they know they’re not on their own, let’s be that hand in the dark for people when they feel like they aren’t valued and not enough, because they absolutely are enough.
“The more that we can dispel the myth that there’s a right way to do motherhood and that you can fail in it, the better.”
Speaking from her new home in Hertfordshire, against a backdrop of framed pictures including one, which reads ‘Yo Mama You’ve Got This’, Giovanna makes no secret of the fact that, at times, juggling a busy, evolving career and raising her boys with her McFly musician partner, Tom Fletcher, can feel overwhelming, but she says organisation is her key to “self-care” because it avoids her “flapping” around in the morning. Vitally, she accepts that occasional mistakes are par for the course.
“Angela Scanlon once told me that we’ve all got balls flying in the air. Some are glass, and some are plastic. We have to keep the glass balls in the air because they’re precious – that’s family – but we have to allow the plastic balls to drop every now and then,” says Giovanna.
“I’ll let the class WhatsApp slide for a week and then have an ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on? What have I forgotten? Sorry kids!’ moment.”
Numerous studies show that in heterosexual relationships, women are responsible for the lion’s share of childcare and housework, and perform far more cognitive and emotional labour than men. Research from Arizona State University also reveals that almost 90% of mothers in committed partnerships say this responsibility leaves them feeling overwhelmed, ex