I’m not sure how but we find ourselves in February and quickly speeding into March and the arrival of Spring! 2023 is whizzing by at lightning speed!
We kick started the year by taking a bit of time out to be with the kids while they were off school. Yes, it was chaotic and loud, the house was always a mess and we never knew if Dr Who or a Stormtrooper would be joining us for dinner (thanks to the endless games of dress up) – but it was great to start the year with that feeling of togetherness.
I’ll be honest, getting the kids back into the rhythm of school wasn’t the easiest transition, but then they had been with us for weeks. It must be strange for their routines to change like that. To have so much of us, their parents, and then be back into the classroom without us near. We had three great drop offs and now it’s half term… Always the way, but I know we’ll get there in the end. For anyone going through tearful drop offs, just know you’re not alone and that most parents would’ve experienced something similar.
Have you noticed our new look over on Happy Mum, Happy Baby? I hope so! This was completely guided by you. From the colours to the fonts, the team asked you for your input and you delivered and have helped us created something truly beautiful. Thank you!
As I type this I’m in my dressing room about to kick start the UK tour of WISH YOU WERE DEAD, a new play based on a Peter James book. I play Cleo, a pathologist who is wife to DSI Roy Grace. They’re in France trying to get away from their heavy jobs, but their holiday quickly turns into a nightmare. It’s intense but also very funny – so it’s been great to work on.
We start in Bromley, then I’ll be with the team until the end of April – so I’ll be visiting Norwich, Nottingham, Cambridge, Brighton, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes and Richmond.
Also, drop me a DM on IG if there’s anywhere you think I should visit in these places! I’ll be sending Buzz, Buddy and Max videos of everywhere I go.
Sending you lots of love for the month ahead!
Hi Sophie! Amazing to have you join us for the first Coffee With Gi of this year. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Thanks so much for having me! I’m Sophie, I’m disabled and have a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy which means I use an electric wheelchair fulltime. I am a Mum to Zyra who is 2 and I’m a content creator (@fashionbellee) who speaks about everything from disability to colourful fashion, to motherhood!
You obviously have incredible style! Is fashion something you’ve always been interested in?
Thank you! I’ve always loved fashion from a young age, I love how it enables everyone to be individual and celebrate our uniqueness. I’m a big fan of colourful clothing and anything rainbow! I always say that if I’m in my wheelchair, people are probably going to stare anyway, so I might as well give them a reason to!
You’ve also become such an empowering voice for the disabled community! How has this kind of strength and understanding shaped you as a parent?
I think it’s important as a disabled person, to show the reality of my life and the ups and downs of having a disability because it really isn’t talked about enough. This has shaped me as a parent to be completely open and honest with Zyra and to bring her up discussing disability and to encourage her to be inclusive and understanding of other people’s situations.
Can you tell us a little bit about that moment you found out you were going to be a mother? Would you be able to share the kind of mindset you were in?
So in the exact moment I found out I was going to be a Mum, I was on a toilet in a Premier Inn in Southend-On-Sea! I’d gone away with my husband, we had been trying for about 8 months to get pregnant and my period was late. I was over the moon! I had discussed previously with doctors about my wish to get pregnant and although they had warned me that it would be a lot for my body and that my disability may worsen because of it, I knew I wanted to be a Mum if I could be.
How would you describe your pregnancy?
Difficult but amazing! Some of the midwives and doctors that I saw hadn’t ever really had experience of a disabled pregnant woman, so it seemed like I was teaching them as much as they were me! As my bump grew, I had to adjust how I sat in my wheelchair and how I slept at night in order to be comfortable. I would sleep with towels rolled up underneath my bump for support. I also had to have tests on my heart and lungs to check that my body was coping ok because I was sitting down for up to 14 hours a day in my wheelchair. But mentally I felt incredible, I was so proud and appreciative of my body for doing such an amazing thing. It was such a special feeling.
What kind of advice can you give expectant parents who are part of the disabled community?
Just do what you are capable of doing and don’t be hard on yourself if you need to ask for help.
What has been the biggest lesson parenthood has taught you?
I’d say patience! Particularly now I’m in the toddler phase..! But also, confidence. It’s very easy to compare yourself and your child to others and it’s important to have the confidence to believe what you’re doing is fine, to understand that each child is different and will do things in their own time.
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