A look at Mummy Has a Lump
Talking to children about caner can be difficult, especially when it comes to finding the right language or explaining medical equipment like an MRI scanner. But, a mum named Simone Baldwin has written a brilliant picture book called Mummy Has a Lump, which is designed to make this easier for parents.
Here we’ll discuss:
An author from Conwy is delighted to see the picture book she created for parents diagnosed with cancer or similar tumour included in a list of resources on our website.
Simone Baldwin, a former teacher from Llandudno Junction, was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour – a vestibular schwannoma – in 2017. Her youngest son was just six at the time and Simone struggled for guidance on how best to explain her condition to him. She said:
“My tumour was already large and squashing my brainstem, so I needed surgery.
“My overriding worry at every stage has been the impact all this would have on my family.
“My youngest son was six when I was diagnosed, and despite my 20 years as a primary school teacher, I didn’t know where to turn for help in explaining things to him. I didn’t want him piecing information together from other people’s reactions, or from overhearing snippets of hushed conversations. We certainly weren’t going to be able to hide my stay in hospital and slow recovery. So, I wanted to be the one to explain things to him – in my way.
“It had never occurred to me that it can be hard for diagnosed parents to access guidance and resources specifically designed for young children. I didn’t know where to start and as a teacher, I was used to accessing all kinds of support for my pupils.”
How Simone was inspired to write Mummy Has a Lump
Simone’s operation was a success and her tumour is stable. She counts herself extremely lucky that her tumour was discovered when it was. But the lack of resources for parents finding themselves in a similar situation remained on her mind and encouraged her to return to the topic, years later. As the idea of Mummy Has a Lump became a reality, teaming up with North Wales illustrator, Caroline Eames-Hughes, brought her text to life. Simone said:
“I’ve never written a book before and I’d never planned to write one. But a few years after my surgery, I kept thinking back to what I would have liked to help me explain. I found myself putting sentences and phrases together, and eventually decided that I would have a go at writing something down.
“The most exciting moments were meeting with Caroline who illustrated the book. We met many times to discuss the feel of the book and how we wanted it to feel like a supportive ‘hug’ during a difficult time. I had tried to explain an MRI scanner to my son, but the images I found looked so clinical and intimidating I didn’t want to show them to him. Caroline’s images changed that. Seeing her artwork really started to make it feel like the book was actually going to happen.”
Lisa Hannington-Collins, from the Children and Families Team at The Brain Tumour Charity, said:
“We cannot thank Simone enough for developing this wonderful resource, and allowing us to share it with our parent and carer community who have a brain tumour diagnosis. Hearing the news that you have a diagnosis is devastating, but as a parent, your journey can really be quite different, since you have your child’s emotional needs to consider, as well as your own. This sensitive and relatable text offers insight into talking to your children about your diagnosis in a personable manner, coming from someone who really understands the possible struggles here. We are so grateful to Simone to share this with us, to share with our community.“
Since the publication of Mummy Has a Lump in September last year, Simone has been delighted to receive positive feedback from parents who have used it to talk to their children about their diagnosis. She said:
“I have had some wonderful messages from people who have read it with their children and that has meant such a lot.
“If my experience and effort provides a little bit of comfort to another parent, then something positive has come from it. The hardest part has been, and still is, getting people talking about the need for tailored support for diagnosed parents and ensuring they know that there is a little book available if they want to use it. I’m so very grateful to The Brain Tumour Charity for working with me to help with this.”
Where you can buy Mummy Has a Lump
You can find more information on Simone’s book in the books section of our site. Click the button below to visit!