NOBODY TOLD ME
Hollie McNish's book makes Lisa Williams think about what nobody told her...
Lisa Williams reviews Hollie McNish's book and poetry collection Nobody Told Me, and lists what nobody told HER...
Hollie McNish has written a book of diary entries and poetry called Nobody Told Me, which charts her experiences from finding out she is unexpectedly pregnant, to her daughter joining pre-school aged three.
I got sucked in immediately by her writing, which is deceptively simple, often funny and sometimes surprisingly coarse. She is disarmingly open about her experiences, from the most visceral aspects of pregnancy and birth, to the raw emotions the hormones and the situation elicit.
While out a gig, she is chatted up by two different men, attracted to her because she is eight months pregnant, not despite of.
'She asks why her mother wasn’t allowed to visit her in hospital but the Bounty Pack woman was.'
She rages at a culture which makes her feel so uncomfortable breastfeeding in public that she feeds her baby daughter in the loos. I say 'she rages' but that isn’t really her style. She’s so articulate she doesn’t need to rage, she makes just as much impact, if not more, by being arch and having common sense.
In one entry, for example, she reveals how overwhelmed she feels by how much she’s supposed to be buying for the baby. The following poem recounts how she’s comforted by her grandmother, who tells her babies used to be put down to sleep in an empty drawer. In another poem, she asks why her mother wasn’t allowed to visit her in hospital but the Bounty Pack woman was.
There are quite a few things nobody told Hollie before she had her baby. But she works it out anyway. I suppose we all do.
It made me think about what nobody told me. My list is below.
Nobody told me…
...how hard the first night would be
…that babies don’t respond to toys as soon as they’re born
…how soft a baby’s head is to kiss
…how soft a baby's hands are
…how much extra patience I would find
…how easy it is to slip into baby talk
…that tongue-tie is an actual thing
…how to make up formula correctly
…how having a baby in my life is like falling in love every day
...that I wouldn't make it to that wedding four weeks after d-day.
Is there something you feel nobody told you? Please let us know below.
:: Hollie McNish’s Nobody Told Me, out now, is published by Blackfriars, priced £13.99