Spill the milk with Shakira Akabusi

Shakira Akabusi

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Published on

Welcome to Spill the Milk, where we ask some of the UK's most famous mums and dads to reveal all about the wonderful world of parenting.

We caught up with mumfluencer and founder of The Strong Like Mum Method, Shakira Akabusi, who opens up about the terrible morning sickness she suffered during pregnancy, how motherhood has made her more content and the product that's transformed her kiddies mealtimes.

I always wanted a big family because when I grew up it was just my mum, dad, sister, and I

My mum is German and my dad's Nigerian, so both of our extended family lived abroad. Growing up I really wanted this big family with lots of cousins and second cousins all running around, and that's what I've created. As I got older my parents divorced and my dad now has two children, and I've also got a stepbrother and my husband has a huge family. So, my four children have cousins and second cousins, aunts and uncles all over the place, and that was really something that I wanted, having this big, chaotic, busy family.

I really struggled with pregnancy, especially the nausea

I suffered from that really, really badly. I was never admitted to hospital, but sometimes I wonder whether I should have been, because I just couldn't eat very much and actually, from a mental health perspective, it sometimes took me to a really dark place. It was twenty-four seven nausea, I could barely get out of bed, I couldn't engage with my other children when it was my subsequent pregnancies, and that really affected me. I've had very healthy pregnancies where I was able to keep really active and exercise really helped me a from a physical perspective. But it also helped from a mental health perspective, as it helps me relax and gets those endorphins going, and that was really a massive part of me enjoying pregnancy.

People always ask me, ‘how do you cope as a mum of four?’ and I genuinely think number one was the biggest challenge

With my first baby there was so many things that came as a shock to the system. The word ‘relentless’ sounds negative, but as a parent you are constantly a parent, you're not part-time parenting. Even when they’re asleep you're worrying about them sleeping. There's just so much in pregnancy, where you're getting checks and this and that, and then you take the baby home, and I remember me and my husband stood there looking at our son Rio like, ‘what?’. You really are just parenting from your own instincts. Also, that protectiveness that I felt over this new life was a real shock to my system and it took me a while to feel comfortable and accept there are things I can control, and then there are things that I can’t.

Being a mum has made me feel more content in myself

I think that's quite a powerful thing because I don't feel the need to have to prove myself, or to try to fit in for a certain thing. I'm also not saying I think I'm perfect, I know my flaws and imperfections, but I'm comfortable in who I am and my morals, and that's really quite nice. I think that comes from me really wanting my children to be comfortable with who they are. So I think the best we can do is lead by example.

The parenting product I can’t live without has got to be my hand blender

I didn’t have one when I started weaning Rio and I remember boiling a carrot, and then trying to mash it up and it was still lumpy. Then my friend said to me ‘just to get a hand blender’ — oh my gosh, it's amazing. I use it for everything. Even now, when my kids are older, and I’m making something like a pasta sauce. It's been so, so good.

As a kid I was mischievous, but I wasn’t naughty

I always wanted to perform or be on stage, so I would get up in the middle of the night, get my hair brush and I would stand on my bed and sing a song, full pelt, as if I was in concert. It was just to prove that I could do it, so that I knew I if I ever went on tour across the world I wouldn't be tired. I was strange.

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