Latest updates

From psychiatric trauma to autistic joy

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

Hello dear lovely supporters,

I just wanted to share with you a podcast episode I recorded with Squarepeg last week. Squarepeg is a community for autistic women and non-binary people in which we share our stories and experiences. I've been a fan of the podcast for a while, so meeting Amy and being a guest was a bit of a dream come true. In many ways, it was writing All My Worldly Joy, seeing my…

We did it! Yay!

Tuesday, 16 May 2023

You'll probably have seen by now that All My Worldly Joy is fully funded! I was out hanging my washing in the garden, and when I came in there was a flurry of messages and emails... All I can say, really, again, is thank you so much. Thanks for shouting about it on social media and for helping to spread the word. Thanks for all your kind messages of support and reassurance. Thanks for believing in…

Ninety-nine percent!

Saturday, 6 May 2023

Well, folks, I'm excited and staggered and thrilled and more than a little bit daunted to announce that All My Worldly Joy is 99% funded! It doesn't get much closer than that. I'd like to say a huge thank you, once again, to those of you who came on board early and have been waiting so patiently and graciously, and of course I'd also like to thank the newest supporters who have nudged us that bit…

Sneak peeks and plague times

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Dear everyone,

We have had stinky covid again. I finally tested negative on Sunday and crossed that threshold from the parallel world of the sick and self-isolating. Outdoors is very good, isn't it? I'd forgotten. I'm out of covid stasis and lumbering onward once more, if a bit slowly and breathlessly. 

As I write, we are one hardback copy away from 95%! Wowsers. Thank you so much to those who…

Extracts, research, and video calls (oh my)

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Hello everyone,

It feels odd to say happy new year, since it's been January for about five months now, but nonetheless I hope you all managed to catch a break over Christmas and have lots of nice things planned for the year ahead. I have some bits and bobs to share:


  • A sneak peek at the book manuscript is on the horizon! I've compiled a series of short extracts for the clever folk at…

Merry Christmas and some good news

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Dear everyone,

Since the crowdfunder campaign was relaunched about three weeks ago, we've jumped up almost ten per cent. This is incredible, especially if you consider how long it took to get the previous 82% in the bank. Right now, we are one hardback copy away from 92%! I had hoped for 90% by Christmas so that extra almost-2% is very much the icing and marzipan on my festive fruitcake. I can…

Quick little update and a thank you

Friday, 2 December 2022

Hello dears,

Just wanted to check in as it's been a week since the crowdfunder relaunch, and what a week! We've jumped up from 82% to 87% (two hardbacks off 88%... not that I'm obsessively refreshing the website or anything...). That's more momentous than it sounds as each % is quite chunky, since there are a lot of costs attached to printing and marketing a book, and it's more than I'd ever dared…

Ready for take off

Friday, 25 November 2022

Hello, it's me again! Thanks so much for all the comments and messages about the cover.... I'm thrilled that you all seem to love it as much as I do. The eagle-eyed amongst you might have spotted that it's up on the webpage now, along with some new text which, I feel, more accurately reflects where the book has come to over the process of writing it. If you'd like to see, you can just go here and…

The problem of endings

Monday, 20 June 2022

Hi folks,

I’m a bit nervous about this one, conscious of the (self-imposed) pressure to appear writerly and extremely talented at all times, to maintain excitement for the book that is coming, and of course to attract new supporters. The crowdfunding is a bit on hold for now: once Unbound have updated the page, I have a few ideas to sort out the final 20%. That’s all right. But here’s the problem…

Hello from me on a sunny Sunday afternoon

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Hello dears,

Long time, no update - and I actually have some progress news to impart. The crowdfunder is at 80% and the actual book-writing more like 90%. The webpages here now feel horribly out-of-date so I've written some new content and Unbound have very kindly agreed to do a refresh. Once that's done, I'm going to give the funding a concerted 'push'. Lately I've been feeling a bit uninspired…

December update: what's this book about again?

Friday, 17 December 2021

Hi everyone -

- and welcome and thank you so much to all the new supporters. The eagle-eyed might notice we’ve had a bit of a jump in the funding since last month and are rapidly approaching 79%! The writing is coming along too: assuming I hit my target for the end of the month, I will have 13 whole chapters down and a prologue. (I’ll cut some stuff out, I promise...) It’s starting to feel like…

Hello, it's November

Monday, 8 November 2021

Hi everyone,

I've been thinking of you all a lot lately and wanted to check in. I couldn't really write this book without thinking of you - the people who will read it, and the people who are helping me to make it happen. I'm currently turning the first draft (60,000 words of absolute chaos haemorrhaged on to a page at various points over the last five years) into the second draft (an actual book…

Better late than never?

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Dear everyone,

I'm always really pleasantly surprised when I hear that someone's read one of these updates. I know, if this landed in my inbox, I would intend to read it later and probably not get round to it. And I would hate for anyone to feel any pressure. I was even more surprised this week when one of you, whom I've never actually met, messaged me on Twitter to ask how the book was going and…

Checking in

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Dear everyone,

It's been a little while since my last update so I thought I would let you know how things are ticking along.

Firstly we are now 72% funded - nearly 73%, in fact - so almost three-quarters of the way through this epic crowdfunding campaign. A warm welcome to the new supporters, particularly those who have arrived over the last few days after hearing me speak at the perinatal mental…

An actual book update - for once!

Friday, 18 December 2020


Hi everyone,

Hope you're all doing OK - or as OK as is feasible right now. I wanted to check in to wish you a merry Christmas (or as merry as is feasible right now!) and to thank you for your patience with The Book That Took Forever. I have a little bit of news on that score and it feels exciting to be getting in touch about that rather than some other tangentially-related thing.

So - long…

On telly - this afternoon!

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Bit of a random one - and I don't even know if the good people at Unbound HQ will be able to approve this and get it out to you in time - but just in case:

I'm expecting to be on at 5pm or a bit after, and, if you dare, you can tune in via on Sky HD 512 / SD 518 or Freeview HD 113 / SD 234 or live on the producers' website

I say 'if you dare' - this is all very strange…

Post-covid, podcast, preview, peer support, & more!

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Dear everyone,

It feels like ages since I last wrote - apologies. I'm still not well, after having covid in March. Good days and bad, really. It's been a tough year, as I know it has for most of us. I think of you all often, and I also wanted to send a really warm welcome and thank you to the newer supporters. There are 389 of you now, and the book is 68% funded! Thanks for being so patient with…

The Thing That Wouldn't Go Away

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Hello, loves.

Fair warning that this is more of a life update than a book update. There is not much book update to tell you on account of the contents of the life update! From here, the book and the life are hardly separate. I'm not sure where one ends and the other begins.

I wrote to you in April saying I'd been quite poorly with CoViD but confidently asserting I was on the mend. Then I wrote…

Locked down mothering.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

Hello everyone,

After confidently asserting in my last update that I was on the mend after CoViD and picking things up again, I've had a bit of a setback. This seems to be how it goes. Snakes and ladders. Greetings from my bed.

We've had a flurry of book pledges after one of my tweets went semi-viral last weekend, so now just a smidge off 63%. Getting there! I must remember to promote the book…

Hello, strangers.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

I'm sorry for the radio silence; everything has happened. I've been thinking of you all often and wondering how you are. Do get in touch, if you'd like, and let me know how you're doing amidst all this. I would love to hear from you.

I came down with the virus five weeks ago and have been really quite poorly. I had throat and chest infections subsequently but managed to dodge hospital, thanks largely…

Thinking the Unthinkable

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Let's talk about intrusive thoughts.

Research suggests that most of us get them - those thoughts and images that pop up unbidden. For lots of us, they can be distressing and/or involve things that we might hypothetically do.

I might jump in front of that train.

I might kick that dog.

I might shout something racist in the street.

(It’s worth pointing out that intrusive thoughts can be…

'A Sturdy Dame, and a Wilful'

Monday, 17 February 2020

Dear everyone,

You might remember that the title of this book - 'All My Worldly Joy' comes from a letter to Henry VII from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. I think of her sometimes - 12 years old, newly widowed and heavily pregnant, alone and unprotected in what was then a lawless region. She went to her brother-in-law's for safety and almost died giving birth to Henry. She never conceived again…

Short days, long months, writing and not writing

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Dearest 317 supporters,

It feels like the 317th of January - how is it still January? - and I just wanted to check in, really, and say that I haven't forgotten you. Thanks for being the invisible cheering crowd that I envisage when I hit the brick wall of "I can't do this."

I did lots of bookwriting in a frenzied burst a couple of weeks ago. My friend Nikki and I went to the Isle of Wight for…

Christmas sheep and self-care

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Dear everybody,

First of all, I've been meaning to write the last couple of weeks and tell you - in case you haven't seen already - that the perinatal peer support principles are here and ready to use. We launched them at Peerfest in Birmingham a couple of weeks ago, and I also published this blog post about co-creating the principles. The Peerfest team had originally capped the number of participants…

Pretty Good Year

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Dear everyone,

Today marks one year since everything shifted - both for my life and for this book. That evening, my husband packed his bags and got into a taxi and then the house was quiet and I was a single mum.

I was a few months into the crowdfunding campaign for All My Worldly Joy and realised I suddenly had much less time and money that I had been counting on to get this done. I wrote this…

Get your diaries out!

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to touch base with you all, as it's been a little while, and to share a couple of bits of news and an invitation.

We passed 300 supporters (yay!) and are now 56% funded. Things have slowed a bit lately, partly because it's been summer and partly because I'm writing the damn book, plus working and singlemothering and it is a lot, so I don't have much time to be in people…

A small milestone.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Dearest everyone,

I did a brave thing last night. OK, technically I did it by accident but it totally still counts.

I sent a chunk of All My Worldly Joy to Unbound! My commissioning editor, Fiona, asked to have a look, to see how it's coming along. I've been really anxious about this, about someone other than me seeing any of the draft. I sent one to a few people about a year ago but it's been…

Co-production, everyone!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Some friends and I decided a while ago that co-production is like teenage sex: hardly anyone is doing it - most don't even know how to do it - but everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it, and so everyone pretends that they're doing it. This is still mostly the case, but there are glimpses of progress. Maternity services are embracing 'co-creation' as service user led MVPs (maternity voice partnerships…

My Baby, Psychosis and Me

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Hi everyone, just a quickie from me - as it's currently late on Sunday night and I need to be on a train to London early tomorrow morning for 'I is for Insult - Questioning "Borderline Personality Disorder"' - I wanted to recommend to you a documentary called My Baby, Psychosis and Me. It's filmed in the psychiatric mother and baby unit where I was a patient in 2014, and not long after I left. This…

Woah-ah, we're half way there-re....

Friday, 31 May 2019

I've been singing Livin' on a Prayer all day. My singing, as Arthur once succintly described it, is "a bad noise". But - it's true - we are HALF WAY THERE. We hit 50% over the weekend. This is so, so great. And I owe you all an update so here goes.

Apparently no Unbound campaign has ever reached 50% and then not completed funding to produce an actual book, so that's encouraging! Given that…

Breastfeeding, formula-feeding, and the NCT

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Many of you will have been following the recent controversy around the NCT and infant feeding. The NCT president, Seana Talbot, resigned a couple of weeks ago, stating that she felt the charity was moving away from its original emphasis on breastfeeding and birth towards more generic parent support and perinatal mental health. Zoe Williams responded in the Guardian, citing the harm done by militant…

It's maternal mental health awareness week!

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to let you all know about UK Maternal Mental Health Matters Awareness Week, which is happening right now! It's run by the Perinatal Mental Health Partnership, and AnotherMother has created this really rather gorgeous overview of the week. There are lots of opportunities to get involved, and discussions on topics such as breastfeeding and medication, post-adoption depression…

Dear GP

Sunday, 7 April 2019

If you’ve ever been referred to a psychiatrist, chances are you’ll have received a letter after every appointment. This letter is not addressed to you: it’s from the psychiatrist to the GP - about you. You are copied in. These clinic letters are one-sided and they are subjective, and subsequently they have the potential to be all sorts of upsetting. They can include observations about your appearance…

Netmums video

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Dear everyone,

I wanted to share with you this shiny new video from Netmums, who interviewed me over Skype about birth trauma and maternal mental health. I explain about postnatal PTSD, talk about my own experience very briefly, and signpost to some support available. (I tell you this from memory: I have a policy of not watching or listening to myself at all as I know I will only dissolve into…

Fanny Fanackapan

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Dear everyone,

This is a little off-topic but bear with me. I suspect the maternal mental health / feminist parenting overlap is a significant one. And I want to talk to you about vulvas.

It’s been niggling at me for a while that, whilst little boys almost universally have a ‘willy’, there is no equivalent for little girls: there’s no child-friendly word for vulva in common enough usage to be…

Happyish birthdays

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Dear everyone,

Birthdays after birth trauma are funny things. They’re times of joy and celebration of a much-loved child, and yet they’re also ‘crappiversaries’ – a concise if rather twee name for the anniversary of a traumatic event. I’m not sure why crappiversaries have to be a Thing, and yet somehow they are. You can ignore them, but they insist. In a way, it’s like the events of a year ago…

Exciting times.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Dear everyone,

Hope you all had merry Christmases and happy new years. I’ve not been particularly in the mood for festivities this year, if I’m honest, but I’m looking hopefully to 2019.  I am just picking up the crowdfunding again – we've just reached both 35% and 200 supporters. That’s more than a third of the way there. Yay. Writing has really taken off this past month or so. I finally followed…

Try to have your writing make sense.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Dear everyone,

Back in the day, it was all about webforums. I frequented numerous of these online establishments – despite, of course, the fact that I was deeply trendy and had many, many friends in the real world, obviously… My favourite was a poetry forum called The Poetry Free-For-All, or PFFA. I wrote angsty poems, like most teenagers do, and it probably comes as no surprise that I was exceptionally…


Monday, 26 November 2018

Dearest everyone,

First of all, thank you for your beautiful, heartfelt, overwhelming responses to my last update. I’m sorry that few of you got more back from me than variations on “Thank you x” - I was just so depleted at that point, and had used up all my words. I am still quite short on conversation, to be honest. But please know that your kindness and support really does mean the world, even…

Snowdrops and witch hazel

Monday, 19 November 2018

Dear everyone,

I'm learning that a book is two stories: the story within the book, and the story of writing the book. The two merge and fuse and blend in all sorts of unexpected ways. I'm currently reading Tom Cox's Help the Witch, a collection of ghost stories and almost-ghost stories. They’re unsettling in a way that I find strangely satisfying. And as I read them I remember his blog posts from…

I trust you this much.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Dearest everybody,

Last week was quite a big one for AMWJ. We surpassed both 150 supporters and 25% funding, and, at the time of writing, we’re currently cruising a cool 28%… I was also interviewed by the NCT about the book, which was grand. Welcome on board to all the new supporters, and thank you – it means everything that you’re here. If you’d like to, you can catch up on the journey so far.…

Growing Up Mental

Saturday, 29 September 2018


Yesterday two rather brilliant book-things happened: we smashed 20% - and 21%, in fact – and I finished the first draft of the first chapter.

This chapter has been a bit of a tricky one: basically what happens in it is I get pregnant. (Spoiler alert!) But there’s also some necessary background info about my decidedly colourful mental health history and I need to present that without…

The Fraud Police

Monday, 17 September 2018

Morning folks,

I guess this is less of a book-writing update and more of a not-book-writing update… Truth is I’ve been feeling somewhat flattened the last week or so. Part of this is that my husband, Jon, has been working away in the Netherlands, and I missed him. He called to tell me how enthusiastic the Dutch are. The company he was visiting declared it ‘British Week’ in his honour. ‘British…

School Daze

Friday, 7 September 2018

Dearest everybody,

So today we reached 15% and we are rapidly approaching 100 supporters. Tremendous. The Positive Birth Movement also very kindly featured me on their blog. Thank you and welcome on board to everyone who has pledged recently. If you fancy, you can catch up on the previous update here. And do let’s be pals on Twitter, if you are of a tweeting persuasion. I am @cooksferryqueen.


Sunday, 19 August 2018

Dearest everybody,

We’re at 10%!

Ten may not sound like a lot of per cent but this is a big project and I'm awed and thrilled that we've reached it so soon. Thus far 62 glorious individual humans have pledged for the book. When we launched, Fiona (the commissioning editor at Unbound) said to me, “10% is your first target,” and it felt impossibly distant. Then we hit 5% in the first 24 hours…

Writing in progress
Publication date: TBC
101% funded
554 backers