Giovanna Fletcher talks about her journey in motherhood
In her latest book, Giovanna Fletcher gives an honest glimpse into her experience of motherhood, including the 'lonely grief' of miscarriage and taking a baby on tour with her husband's band. She tells Hannah Stephenson why she felt the time was right to talk
GIOVANNA Fletcher would seem to have it all; pop star husband, two gorgeous sons – Buzz, aged two, and one-year-old Buddy – and a hugely successful career of her own as a bestselling author, blogger and vlogger.
But there have been dark days for the bubbly, down-to-earth writer. Diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, Giovanna, who had always wanted a family, wasn't sure she'd be able to conceive. A year after she and childhood sweetheart, McFly's Tom Fletcher, tied the knot in 2012, she became pregnant – however, she feared it was too good to be true.
"A few days later, I woke up to blood. Anyone who's ever experienced that moment knows the paralysing horror that comes with it."
At hospital, a scan showed "there was nothing there. No heartbeat. No baby. Nothing. I'd suffered a complete early miscarriage at just over six weeks," she recalls.
Tom, who had been giving a radio interview, drove to find his wife sobbing on a London street corner, and just held her.
"I've heard miscarriage be referred to as the loneliest grief. It is. It's so insular. So personal. So soul-crushing. The black cloud of grief followed me for a while."
She retells the story in her new book, Happy Mum Happy Baby, an otherwise upbeat and honest account of her own experience of pregnancy and motherhood, telling it as she's experienced it, warts and all.
It's the first time she's revealed details of her miscarriage, saying she wants to try to break the taboo surrounding the topic.
"I didn't want it whittled down to a soundbite. It was part of my journey to becoming a mum. Miscarriage is something that so many people go through, and we go through it silently and don't talk about it.
"It affected me massively. When you get pregnant, you have years of hopes and dreams that are suddenly born, and when that doesn't go according to plan, it's crushing. There's a silent grief that comes with it because you are told not to tell people about it. It's like it's contagious and if you talk about it, it might happen to other people. It's so lonely."
Within months, she was pregnant again, but it was difficult not to be nervous.
"I didn't relax until I got to the 24-week mark and you could feel them move around. You start questioning every little niggle," she reveals. "But it didn't spoil the enjoyment. I love being pregnant."
And indeed, her book is an uplifting read, as she talks about stumbling her way through motherhood, the sleepless nights, the crying, the feeding, the uncertainties that she's doing the right thing.
"Everyone thinks they know what they are doing but the truth is, they don't. We're completely winging it!"
When Buzz was 10-months-old, they followed Tom on tour to Australia.
"The thought of Tom not being around for three weeks and not seeing Buzz wouldn't have worked for our family. It would have been miserable. If the situation allows it, it's lovely for them to be part of the world and see places and be part of those memories.
"People always think being on tour is much more rock and roll than it actually is. The only boobs out backstage are probably mine. There's no sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. It's more like a creche these days. It's much more chilled out."
Despite being a successful author and blogger (she has around 800,000 Instagram followers, and her YouTube content's racked up some 10 million views), she admits to experiencing her share of FOMO since having kids.
"Being a mum, your life completely changes. You're needed at home, you're not going out as much, and when you've got friends who are still living the life you were once a part of and they're all out having a great time, it brings home the fact that life has changed in a major way."
She's made an effort to keep the romance alive with Tom.
"I make sure we have date nights, going to the cinema or theatre, probably once a month. It's important to have that time, to have some adult conversation. If we're not working, we'll sit down and have a glass of wine and a chat but we like to eat all together. When I was growing up, we always used to have dinner together."
She laughs when asked if she is romantic.
"Well, my fiction books are very romantic. And Tom is a very romantic person, which is lovely."
Giovanna (32), whose brother is Towie star Mario Falcone, first met Tom at Sylvia Young Theatre School when they were 13, before he found success in McFly.
She's admitted she used to worry about girls flinging themselves at her pop-star husband, but knowing he loves her and having the other band girlfriends on call to talk to always helped.
Fans have never been a problem, she adds.
"I've always found McFly fans have been lovely and accepting. We don't go out much, anyway. We are home birds. When the kids go to bed, we're writing and doing all of our work, so we get our head down and carry on."
They socialise with the other band members and their wives, including Harry and Izzy Judd, Danny and Georgia Jones, Emma and Matt Willis and the McBusted crew.
"With the McFly guys, we all hung out and had this life together when we were kids ourselves, and now that we've seen them get married and have kids, it's nice to be part of the next chapter."
Giovanna will be teaming up with Tom professionally later this year, for the live version of his festive book The Christmasaurus, in which they'll be singing together.
"He'll be telling me off because he'll be in charge. I'm going to be bossed around," she says, laughing.
Joking aside, she adds: "Having children has definitely strengthened our relationship. We're a proper family unit. We tackle things together, but things kind of changed when we got married.
"I know people say marriage doesn't change anything, but for me, I found it really did. It unified us in so many ways. We'd been together for so long but marriage added this extra layer that I wasn't expecting," Giovanna reflects. "I thought we were completely solid anyway, and then we got married and it became this whole other thing."
:: Happy Mum Happy Baby: My Adventures In Motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher is published by Coronet, priced £16.99.