We are so happy to introduce you to Sam Eades, our book expert! Over the next few months she’ll be reviewing and recommending books that she believes will be loved by new and expectant parents. Sam is a brand new mum herself (and Bump & Baby Club member of course!), having had her first baby just 8 weeks ago. She is also a book editor for a large publishing house, and we think no one is better placed to suggest what you should all be reading! Here she chats about life as a new mum and what we can expect from her reviews…
Please can you describe your job?
I am a commercial fiction editor, publishing a wide range of books from women’s fiction to crime and thrillers. A big part of my job is reading, from an author’s new manuscript to an exciting debut novel from an agent. I also enjoy reading for pleasure too, and before having a baby I read on average around 15-20 books a week!
How have your reading habits changed since becoming a mum?
As such an avid reader it was a shock to find I would rarely have a hand free to even hold a physical book, let alone finish one! For the first few days the only stories I read were on Instagram. Now when I do find time to read it is on my battered Kindle in the middle of the night and I noticed that my reading taste completely changed. The books I enjoy need to be easy to follow so I can remember what is happening, and I often have to read the same chapter twice. The post-baby mind fog is real! I’m also much more interested in reading about motherhood, the highs and the lows, in a way which never appealed to me beforehand.
What inspired your idea to write book reviews for expectant and new parents?
It was actually reading Anna Jefferson’s ‘You Can Take Her Home Now’ that inspired this blog series. Reading about another first-time-mum and her experiences really gave me comfort during the first few weeks of my daughter’s life. I recommended it to the members of my Bump & Baby Club group, which reminded me of the books I love to recommend in my day job, which grew into wanting to share book recommendations for new and expectant parents. I will be recommending books on parenthood that will entertain, engage or inform new parents and parents-to-be. Whether it’s a hot fiction release with a relatable hero or that must-read parenting book, I guarantee these are books that will be passed around your next Bump & Baby Club meetup and you’ll want to talk about them too. I’ll only recommend books I love, and most importantly those that pass the “can I remember what is happening when I read this at 3am” test.
What does a typical day look like for you at the moment?
As someone who had a daily to-do list before the baby I was surprised to discover there is no typical day now! Babies change on a daily basis and initially I found it really hard to plan my days. What is constant is that they need to eat, sleep, repeat and I’ve learnt to go with the flow a bit more, planning excursions and knowing I can feed, change and get her to sleep pretty much anywhere with a baby carrier/buggy. A day could include a coffee with my Bump & Baby Club group, a trip to a mother and baby cinema (a joy!) or staying in and watching the latest boxset. And reading a book of course!
Have your Bump & Baby Club group been helpful?
So helpful! I loved the group sessions, particularly the focus on what comes after the birth from how to clean and feed your baby to infant first aid. Our instructor was warm, funny and also incredibly knowledgeable. I also love the support network that the club creates. Our WhatsApp group is a fantastic resource of advice, support and comfort as we make our way through the first few weeks.
Do you have any advice for expectant parents about birth or early parenthood?
Two bits of advice. I had a doula for the first few weeks after the birth when I was struggling and felt like I had no clue what I was doing. I was spending hours watching YouTube videos and reading manuals to try and learn how to look after a newborn. She told me to “surrender” which as a control freak was difficult but was absolutely the best bit of advice. I try and live in the moment with my daughter much more rather than anticipate what is ahead or worrying about what happened the previous night. And the second bit of advice was from another couple who said “be kind”. Having a baby can put a huge strain on your relationship and it is so easy to snap and be irritated by each other. When it happens, try and remember to be kind! To each other and to yourself. You are doing such an amazing job, and it helps to remind yourself of that.