Tammy Page’s Amazon-published novel ‘Feeling Like a Beached Whale’ is the fictitious no-nonsense look into the ins and outs of your pregnancy journey. Mum, Tammy, returned to the book she had started writing eleven years ago when Covid hit and her salon was closed down. Told by chirpy and sunny hairdresser Sophie, Tammy states from the outset, that this story is a ‘lighthearted fiction’ about the ‘funny bits that are rarely told or spoken about when deciding to have a baby’. She’s tells us she’s ‘no writer’, a ‘practical person rather than an academic’ and therefore you will find grammatical mistakes – which she will not apologise for. Why? ‘Because not everything in this life is perfect’.
This sets the tone for the down to earth and graphically realistic portrayal of pregnancy and birth that unfolds in this book. Sophie’s character sets out on a mission to be as truthful as possible, debunking the rumours (the pregnancy glow) and getting us up close and personal with the female body in a time of immense change and creation.
The highlight of this book is the accessibility of its tone. Warm and friendly and told in unflinchingly honest diary form, reading this story feels like sitting at your kitchen table nattering away with a friend over a cup of tea, or chattering with your hairdresser more accurately! She’s the friend who will be straight up with you about exactly how pregnancy will affect your body and lifestyle, who won’t sugarcoat the experience by saying that ‘You’ll be fine’ or ‘You’ll forget the pain’. She tells it like it is, warts and all and then tells you it’ll be worth it.
Though some sections are a little chunky, this is a handy quirky account for first time mothers who want to know the ins and outs of the process with no one trying to gloss over the realities of it. Sophie experiences all of it so we can see what it could be like. We’re with her throughout the fictitious story as she encounters breast feeding, your bodily changes, the meeting the midwife, the scans and checkups – right up to how to sort out all your plumbing after giving birth!
We follow her through the ups and downs – mostly ups, she’s a very positive character – and laugh along at mishap after mishap. Sophie’s mind is a hilarious one to be in and she puts a funny twist on everything she sees, but at the same time it can be tender, like a friend holding your hand through the process, seeing all the nitty gritty bits and pieces that the pamphlets don’t like to talk about.
If you have a weak stomach, the birthing scenes might make you feel a little dizzy, but that’s because she speaks to the truth of them, leaving out no detail. We encounter the stress and exhaustion and fear and can appreciate how hard-core it all is, how instinctive motherhood is and how confusing the entire process can be, but we do it all with Sophie at our side.