I Just Couldn’t Wait To Meet You by Kate Ritchie & Hannah Sommerville
Random House Australia RRP:$24.99AUD
I Just Couldn’t Wait To Meet You is one of those books that’s written straight from the heart. Delivered to the world by Aussie media personality Kate Ritchie, it describes the intense excitement, fear and wonder of anticipating a new baby. With charming illustrations by Hannah Sommerville, it’s the perfect gift for a new or expecting parent, or for a soon-to-be-sibling who needs a reminder that they, too, were once a precious bump.
Ritchie has been a household name since 1986, when she launched her TV career via the mini series Cyclone Tracey and – most famously – her role as Sally on super-soap Home and Away. After over 25 years on our screens as an actor and compere (and 7 Logies) she moved into radio as co-host of the drive show on Nova FM.
Her first child, Mae, arrived in 2014 and changed her world – as babies tend to do. With I Just Couldn’t Wait To Meet You, Ritchie shares the thoughts, dreams and expectations that floated through her mind during her pregnancy. Sommerville’s tender illustrations bring to life the parenting journey, from the first ultrasound to getting to know your amazing, ever-changing little person.
I was lucky enough to interview Kate this week. I asked her how parenting was influencing her professional life and how it feels to send her book-baby off into the world!
Q & A with Kate Ritchie
Authors often refer to their new books as their ‘babies’! How would you compare the moment you first saw your book in print to the moment you met your beautiful daughter?
I’m not sure anything will ever compare to meeting Mae for the first time and all that lovely anticipation waiting for her to arrive. If we are talking professionally – yes, of course it was a very proud moment when I held my first book for the first time. Not only because it represented such a precious time in my life but because there was a lovely sense of achievement. ‘I Just Couldn’t Wait To Meet You’ began as a few little notes to my unborn baby scribbled on some loose paper and with the help of some talented people (namely my illustrator Hannah Sommerville) it is now a real life children’s book! Hopefully being read to children all over the country and helping them to understand and feel how loved they are.
Do you feel inspired to write more books for children now that you’ve been through this process?
Absolutely. It really was a nurturing and rewarding experience and I have learnt a great deal. I’m also glad that my first book was one that came purely from the heart. Not ‘my memoirs’ which I was asked to write years ago!
Returning to work after having a child, some parents suffer the dreaded ‘baby brain’ whilst others say it motivates and energizes them. How has becoming a parent affected your work life and creative processes?
I think any ‘baby brain’ I may have suffered occurred throughout my pregnancy and was purely to do with being preoccupied. My baby and everything relating to it filled my thoughts so there wasn’t much room for anything else! As much as I dreaded going back to work (and sometimes still hate leaving the house) after 7 weeks I also have to admit that my job with Nova is about good as they come when trying to find a work/life balance. I am one third of the national drive show Kate, Tim & Marty and broadcast live 4-6pm every afternoon which means I can work from home in the mornings. This can also have its challenges but it does allow me to spend more time with my family than if I was standing on a film set all day.
What I try to be good at is separating work time and family time. As much as it is hard to drag myself away from my daughter I must do so because it is those times when I am most productive in the shortest period – and then it means I can be completely present when I am with her.
It remains a work in progress but I am getting there!
Are you a Kate Ritchie fan? How did you feel when you were waiting for your first child to arrive?