A TRIBUTE TO MOTHERHOOD AND THE CHAOS OF LIFE WITH BABIES.
A playful board book for baby, that supports overwhelmed new moms too.
The relatable rhymes and sweet illustrations depict classic baby moments that are sure to entertain little eyes and ears, while reminding moms they aren't alone. With candid humour, the intimate, eternal love of motherhood is celebrated on every page. This honest book is a symbol of solidarity for moms everywhere, visible forever from baby's bookshelf.
Earlier this month we had the privilege of interviewing Lindsay Kellar-Madsen, author of The Lovely Haze of Baby Days and to participate in her virtual book tour. We loved The Lovely Haze of Baby Days because it felt like an honest take on early motherhood. It was such a treat to get to speak with Lindsay to learn more about the process for her.
E&B: I am so happy to get to speak with you today. I absolutely loved “The Lovely Haze of Baby Days”. It was wonderful to find a book that I could read with my little one that was speaking to me as well. What inspired you to write it?
LKM: Two main things inspired the writing of this book. The first inspiration was life after the birth of my twin girls in August 2019. The following months were extremely overwhelming for me. I was navigating life with 4 children under 5 years old, while living abroad, and I was exhausted. I struggled to keep myself physically, emotionally, and mentally in balance. The thing I struggled the most with was getting enough rest. Baby sleep, especially with twins, just isn’t reliable enough!
Around the same time, a number of my closest mom friends admitted they had suffered from postpartum depression years earlier while their babies were small. I was devastated I hadn’t been able to support them, and frustrated with myself - trying to live up to the picture-perfect (and wildly inaccurate) image of life postpartum.
During that blurry, emotional tailspin in my life, I started writing again as a way to process the feelings I was working through. The first draft of The Lovely Haze of Baby Days quickly took form. I had an idea that the words in children’s books could do more than entertain little ones, I envisioned a baby book that would also support new moms feeling lonely or overwhelmed. I hope the honest words and playful illustrations will help new mamas feel seen, and remind them that we aren’t alone in motherhood.
E&B: Can you tell us about your background? How did it lead you to writing children’s books?
LKM: Writing has always felt like an important coping mechanism for me. I wrote poetry and stories when I was younger, and while I ended up pursuing a career in developing healthcare technology… writing has always felt like a natural practice for me. Words helped me to navigate heartbreak and loss, but also to communicate love and celebrate momentous experiences in my life. The idea of writing a children’s book has always been a dream of mine, partly because I LOVE books…. And partly because I thought it would be a wonderful way to tell a story or share a message. So, when my husband encouraged me to publish a picture book of my own during my maternity leave with the twins, I decided to explore the idea. Almost from the beginning, the concept of this book felt really important. The more I explored maternal mental health and engaged with new mom communities, I was more and more convinced this book could help new moms and would be a beautiful creative project. I really hope The Lovely Haze of Baby Days will be a thoughtful, supportive gift for a new mom or baby shower gift that serves as a symbol of solidarity for new moms.
E&B: What was your favourite children’s book growing up? Which books have most influenced your work?
LKM: The Nightwood, by Robin Muller is a book I remember borrowing from the school library over and over as a kid. The story is based on a Celtic fairy tale depicting mortal love as a stronger force than even the most powerful, fantastical opponents. I loved the strong-willed, adventurous female protagonist and am sure that her strength and fearlessness was part of what hooked me. Becoming a mother has made me feel so vulnerable, and I’ve doubted myself more than any other time in my life. I’ve found myself really drawn to to artists like Paula Kuka (@common_wild) who celebrate motherhood with a really refreshing honesty about the magic and mess that it truly is.
E&B: One of the things that first drew me in were the beautiful illustrations. I love that they felt so inclusive. What was the creative process like working with your illustrator, Mie Frey Damgaard?
LKM: I discovered Mie Frey Damgaard, an artist here in Denmark, on Instagram. I related to much to a number of her illustrations for a local women’s magazine (Alt for Damerne) and her own line of products celebrating motherhood. It was really easy for me to feel the synergy between our creativity, right from the beginning. We have kids of similar ages, and were both still living in the haze of baby days! I feel so fortunate to have paired up with her for this project, she is wildly talented and so easy to work with. The book creation process was much easier than I imagined it could be.
We both felt it was important that this book be relatable for any mother who picks it up, and that meant depicting diversity in the mothers and babies shown in the various illustrations. It all came together really nicely – I believe she has done a beautiful job of celebrating motherhood for any women who has it on their bookshelf.
E&B: What are three words that sum up your writing style?
LKM: Playful, honest, and lyrical. I find it really soothing to write in rhyme, and a fun way to include rhythm in vocabulary and the reading experience. I’ve written poetry all my life and I’m enjoying the process of exploring how that fits into the world of kids’ books.
E&B: Were there any verses that you absolutely loved, but landed on the chopping block?
LKM: Yes and no. I completely rewrote some versus that just didn’t fit in the rhythm of the manuscript, through a number of review cycles with beta readers. I also added concepts that felt important to showcase as part of the new mom experience. For example, I had a number of conversations with some of my very best friends about their choice to breast or bottle feed. While we fully support other mothers, we often judge our own choices and have fear of being judged by others. I hope that
“Bottle, breast or baby-led, all I can is that you’re fed!’ reassures moms that a fed baby is most important, and we are all doing the best job we can under our own circumstances. We are truly our own worst critics.
E&B: You ran a very successful Kickstarter campaign for “The Lovely Haze of Baby Days” to get started. What was that experience like?
LKM: I was a little naïve to be honest. I assumed most of the work was in the preparation and thought it could all be just ‘done and ready’ ahead of time. What I quickly realized is that the experience itself is exhausting, and being a fulltime mom to twins while running a three-week Kickstarter was a big task. I’m so happy I did it, the campaign allowed me to get pre-orders for the book and finance a large-scale print run. Overall, it was a great proof-of-concept for the book and got a lot of concentrated marketing efforts done at upfront.
E&B: I love that this book is like a little wink to mothers out there that you are not alone, especially when so many mothers feel isolated right now and staying indoors. What are some of your favourite indoor activities to entertain yourself and your little ones?
LKM: My kids love bath time, so one favourite in our home is to spontaneously throw my kids in the tub/shower midday. I am sure it’s a combination of sensory-play and a change of environment, and as a bonus it cleans them up after frequent messy meals! I turn on some good music or a podcast for myself in the bathroom and we are all happily entertained!
Another silly but helpful trick is in the kitchen. My toddlers are always tugging on my legs in the kitchen while I’m trying to cook dinner for the family. BY keeping a drawer full of plastic Tupperware with odds and ends I don’t mind them playing with, they will happily chuck it all over the floor while I get our meal ready. I find it really satisfying to entertain them this way, so we can be together and productive at the same time!
E&B: What are you working on next? Do you have any more books for us in the pipeline?
LKM: I am currently still focused on launching this book into the world, the board books will be available on Amazon.com in early February, 2021. To create any book is a big investment of time and funds, so I want to follow through on this first project before I dive into another. That said, I have two other manuscripts drafted and a couple other concepts mapped out… so I hope there will be more books focused on supporting young families in the near future! With 4 young kids, I certainly have a house full of good material.
Thank you so much, Lindsay!
The Lovely Haze of Baby Days can be found on our website here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindsay Kellar-Madsen is a writer, business developer, and twin mother to four young children. Originally from southwesternOntario, she currently lives with her family in theDanish countryside where they explore, go on adventures, and thrive in their everyday chaos.
Children's board book
ASIN: 8797250708 (board book)
ASIN : B08SKJDG64 (ebook)
32 pages, £15
Publication date: 13-Jan-2021
Rights sold: None.
Rights contact: Little Otter Press,