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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

Parenting podcast 'Mother Tongue' is a refreshingly honest account by three Dubai mums

Engaging and honest, it does not sugar-coat pregnancy, labour, breast feeding or body-image issues

'Mother Tongue' is a podcast by three British mums based in Dubai: from left, Jess Savage, Maryanne Peacock and Ellis Harwood. It is available on all major podcast platforms. 
'Mother Tongue' is a podcast by three British mums based in Dubai: from left, Jess Savage, Maryanne Peacock and Ellis Harwood. It is available on all major podcast platforms. 

When I first heard about Mother Tongue, I thought to myself: ‘Oh, great, another podcast about motherhood and parenting (cue eye-roll). Surely the digital and social media sphere has enough mummy bloggers, influencers and podcasters; do we need another one?’

As I find it far more interesting when new mums think they have garnered enough experience to share any insight (believe me as a mother of four girls, they have no idea what’s coming), I switch on Mother Tongue. The podcast was started in January by three British mums in Dubai: Maryanne Peacock, 31, Ellis Harwood, 30, and Jess Savage, 33, and is about their “honest journey” of motherhood.

The greatest challenge many women go through is learning to love their body during pregnancy – some glow while others struggle with the weight gain

I’m slightly taken aback as I listen to the first episode, Pregnancy. Nothing is sugar-coated as the trio delve straight into a discussion on conception, buying their first pregnancy test and finding creative ways to tell their husband the news.

As I listen, I find myself reflecting on my first pregnancy, wondering if I would have benefited, back in 2005, from this podcast. I will always recommend new mums, or anyone planning to have a child, listen to those willing to talk frankly.

Mother Tongue does just that.

The chemistry among the women, as they share their very different pregnancy and birthing journeys, is warm and inviting; I feel like I’m sitting around with old friends drinking a cup of tea.

No, she didn’t just say that, I giggle, as they begin talking about their doctor’s advice to help induce labour. Yes, I think to myself, I remember getting the same advice; that’s what got me into a mess.

The memories I had buried 16 years ago begin to unravel as I listen to their experiences with morning sickness, food smells and bizarre cravings.

However, the greatest challenge many women go through is learning to love their body during pregnancy – some glow while others, like myself, struggle with the weight gain and emotional roller coaster.

The trio reflect this. “I felt so beautiful in my pregnancy and I think it had a lot to do with my husband telling me how beautiful I looked,” recalls Savage, mother of 11-month-old Spencer. Peacock, a PR professional and mum of five-month old Rafa, was more practical: “I didn’t love my body, but I knew this is what I had to go through to have a baby.”

Meanwhile, Harwood, mum of 10-month-old Frida, says she just felt fat because her bump didn’t pop out until later. “Once the bump popped then I began to appreciate what my body was doing. I struggled with body image before my pregnancy, but now I appreciate it.”

I felt the same appreciation after piling on 20 kilograms in my first pregnancy. But unlike these mums living away from home – Peacock was pregnant during the pandemic, no less – I was living in Sydney and surrounded by my family.

In the second episode, Birth, Peacock reveals how she struggled during her “nightmare” labour, which eventually led to a fever and fears of contracting Covid-19.

'Mother Tongue' has six episodes in the first season, with some featuring experts in fitness and breastfeeding

As she recalls her painful story, and finally getting some relief with an epidural, I remember my doctor telling me that my first baby was distressed and that if I hadn’t delivered 12 hours after going into labour, I would have to have an emergency C-section. I was also definitely not mentally prepared for labour and the severe pain that followed. Looking back, I wish more women openly discussed the difficulty of giving birth rather than euphemising it.

Mother Tongue has six episodes in the first season, with some featuring experts in fitness and breastfeeding. “We thought there wasn’t enough support in the pod-sphere for expat parents living away from their families, so we decided to create a space where they could go for non-judgemental advice, support and a bit of love,” says Peacock.

Clearly this podcast is not targeted at seasoned mothers like myself; however, if you’re planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, I recommend you join these women on their parenting journey. It’s refreshing to hear people talk so boldly about their experiences and tackle taboo topics that are usually glossed over.

Updated: February 8, 2021 01:38 PM

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