We’re very excited to introduce a special collaboration between The bonnie mob and Selfish Mother. We’ve teamed up with the founder of the blogzine, Molly Gunn, to create a limited edition collection of cashmere jumpers and baby playsuits emblazoned with the words MOTHER and LOVE.
A percentage of all sales will be donated to Refugee Support. The charity does lots of amazing work to help new mothers in the Greek Government’s official Refugee Camps. Providing a literal lifeline for new babies and their mothers, as part of their vital work the charity arranges a hotel stay for mothers to bond with their new babies after they are born, so they are not sent straight back to the ill-equipped and often unsanitary conditions of the camps.
To highlight the importance of support for new mothers everywhere, we’re asking you to share your stories of someone who helped you when your little one was born using the hashtag: #ThebonniemobXSelfishMother
Read our interview with midwife, blogger and Instagram mum-of-four Clemmie Hooper below, where she tells us why her mum, Judith Howard, was such an amazing help to her when her twins, Ottilie and Delilah were born.
CLEMMIE HOOPER ON WHY HER MUM JUDITH WAS SO AMAZING WHEN HER TWINS WERE BORN
Clemmie Hooper is 32, lives in South London, is married to Simon and has four daughters – Anya 9, Marnie 6 and identical twins Ottilie and Delilah 10 months. She is currently coming to the end of her maternity leave and plans to return part-time to her work as a midwife from January. Her debut book ‘How to Grow A Baby And Push It Out’ launches on February 2nd 2017, published by Penguin Random House. She writes a popular blog Gas & Air and documents her chaotic life through Instagram @mother_of_daughters.
Clemmie’s mum Judith Howard is 66 and lives in Whitstable, Kent. She runs a very busy B&B (a converted stables at the bottom of her garden) enjoys Pilates, book clubs, going to the cinema and spends one day a week in London helping Clemmie with the four girls.
HELLO BOTH, CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR MOTHER / DAUGHTER RELATONSHIP?
CH – Mum always raised me to be strong minded and determined in whatever we did. She encouraged me to approach every opportunity in life with positivity and give everything a go even if you weren’t necessarily the best at it. We’re both quite similar in many ways when it comes to parenting and I guess most of my skill and knowledge comes from her. She is my go-to for most advice – she’s kind, honest and seems to always know what’s right!
JH - Clemmie is my youngest of three children and has made me a Grandmother to her four daughters, all of whom I am very close to. She has always allowed me total freedom and responsibility whenever I look after them which is often on my own and indeed the older two regularly stay with me for three or four nights away at my house. I think she feels that I am the one person she can call on to share highs and lows of parenthood, which I find flattering. Unconditional love spanning both generations. As for our relationship: honest, loud and pretty solid.
CLEMMIE, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT HOW THE TWINS WERE BORN, AND WHAT THEIR BIRTH WAS LIKE?
CH – I had a very straightforward birth (considering it was twins) I was induced at 36 weeks due to a medical condition called obstetric cholestasis which causes horrific itching all over your body. The twins were a good weight so we felt confident that they wouldn’t have to go to special care. I was very fortunate to have my two colleagues as my midwives, my doula and of course Simon. They were born only 15 minutes apart completely naturally and I only used a few puffs of gas and air but mainly used hypno-birthing techniques I learnt from Hollie de Cruz (who is a birth magician). Sometimes I still can’t believe how lucky we are to have such healthy babies.
HOW DID YOU FEEL IN THOSE FIRST FEW WEEKS, GOING FROM A FAMILY OF FOUR TO SIX?
CH - I was on a high! I took the recovery very seriously and stayed in bed for a week, the second week I was on the sofa. We had very few visitors - people really respected that and sent us food parcels. It was actually bliss, Simon was off and the big girls were at school. I napped lots, watched loads of Netflix and ate a huge amount of cake. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those days! The hardest bit has been as the twins are getting older and demands are changing but the sleep has improved so I guess that has made a huge difference.
WAS IT DIFFERENT TO HOW YOU EXPECTED? AND WAS IT DIFFERENT TO HOW YOU FELT WHEN ANYA AND MARNIE ARRIVED?
CH - Every pregnancy and baby is different and you change each time as a mother so I can’t compare them. Obviously you have to do two of everything so it all takes so much longer, leaving the house needs a full on military operation. The older girls can help which is great, and this time I don’t have a demanding three year old to contend with. I’m more confident as a mother now and feel I can handle lots of situations perhaps better than I did 1st time around.
HOW DID YOUR MUM SUPPORT YOU? AND WHAT DID THAT MEAN TO YOU?
CH - She came and helped when Simon went back to work and stayed two nights a week. I was breastfeeding so I would express and go to bed early and she would do the 11pm feed, then I’d do the 3am feed and she’d do the early morning shift and take the big girls to school. It meant the world to me especially as I had my book deadline looming and had to get that done too! She’s the one person I can hand over my children to and not have to worry or check everything is ok.
DO YOU THINK IT’S STRENGTHENED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
CH - It certainly tested our relationship! When you’re tired and trying to look after two young babies emotions are heightened - but we got through it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FUNNY STORIES OR MEMORIES FROM THAT TIME?
JH - A funny story was when the twins were approx eight weeks old. Excitement was wearing thin, sleep was a distant memory and we ‘shared’ the long nights between us. One baby was feverish in the wee small hours so I carried her in to Clemmie for advice. I was asked to fetch the Calpol from the bathroom only to discover there was none. "Oh well" said Clemmie calmly, as if it was 3 o'clock in the afternoon "Can you go and buy some Mum?" So in PJs, I find myself driving around Crystal Palace at 3.30am on a cold February morning, the only car on the road, looking for an all-night chemist. Eventually a petrol station saved the situation. I got back, dispensed said dose to the babe and went back to what was left of the night before I had to feed the next twin. "Thanks Mum" Clemmie called out. Cannot imagine my mother doing the same for me!
Second ‘funny’ story. By month three, I was in sole charge of both twins during two long days each week whilst Clemmie attempted to complete the book deadline in a nearby internet cafe. Neither baby was in sync for feeds or naps and I was very tired. Solution. I put one screaming infant in a sling. Silence. I could then feed the other. All went smoothly until the sleeping baby in the sling awoke hungry. Having never used slings before I could not fathom how to undo the wretched thing. Screaming became louder and I became very hot and bothered. So I took a selfie, put it on Facebook and a work colleague messaged me the instructions on how to undo the sling. Result! Just in time.
WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S SO IMPORTANT FOR MUMS TO HELP EACH OTHER OUT IN THOSE FIRST STAGES AFTER A NEW BABY ARRIVES?
JH - To be able to simply ‘be there’ during those early months and get on with the mundane constant baby care does form a bond. It is tough, especially with twins, but daughters just know it's their MUM, so can be themselves and get through it together. This is the first generation of mothers who have the help of so many grandmothers. Let's hope we are appreciated!
AND AS A MIDWIFE AND MOTHER CLEMMIE, WHY DO YOU FEEL IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO HELP CHARITIES LIKE REFUGEE SUPPORT EUROPE?
CH - Whatever the circumstances every new mother deserves the same care and treatment during those first precious weeks after having a baby. That resting time after I had the twins was so special and I felt so well cared for, the same should be for all new mothers.
AND FINALLY, WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE BONNIE MOB X SELFISH MOTHER COLLABORATION?
CH – as a big fan of Selfish Mother’s jumpers and tees already I was thrilled to see this collaboration. The bonnie mob makes the softest clothes for babies and children and this collection is perfect for women wanting a more luxe feel.
SHOP THE COLLECTION NOW >
We’d love it if you’d share you’re your stories of someone who supported your when your new arrival was first born using the hashtag:
With thanks to Clemmie Hooper and her mum Judith Howard X
Thanks for reading and we hope you love the collection as much as we do. If you do not wish to buy a jumper but would still like to help Refugee Support then please follow the links below: