meet the mama : cherie from a baby called max

posted on: Friday, April 6, 2012

"Life before Max feels like a lifetime ago. I was a perfectionist, in all the wrong ways. And so my life was perfect, but in all the wrong ways.

I was a Registered Nurse, with a passion for mental health. I always arrived to work early and I put in one hundred and ten per cent. Every day. At the end of my working day, I would come home to a house as immaculately clean as it had been in the morning when I left it. It always smelt like lavender disinfectant. And my cutlery drawer was an obsessive compulsive disorder just waiting to be diagnosed. My husband and I used to make some pretty incredible meals together, and if we didn’t feel like doing that, we would dine in some pretty incredible places together instead. I used to think I was tired when I didn’t get my minimum of eight hours sleep per night. And I never understood why women put concealer under their eyes. If my husband or I felt like sleeping together, we would. And we did, a lot. Enter Master Max.

Now a reformed perfectionist, I’ve discovered how perfect life really is. I am still a Registered Nurse, with an even bigger passion for mental health. I try my best, but don’t often make it to work on time. I put in fifty percent effort, and that’s good enough for me. At the end of my working day, I look around at my unclean house and it couldn’t be more perfect. Life is being lived here, people! It no longer smells like lavender disinfectant, but whatever solid Max has been introduced to that day that has inevitably come out the other end.

My cutlery is no longer really in the drawer, but in the dishwasher waiting to be unpacked. My husband and I still try to eat together every night, but dinnertime is usually after Max goes to sleep, whenever that may be. And the dining experience is often two minute noodles. I can’t remember the last time we dined out, but I also can’t remember the last time I wanted to.I now laugh at what I used to think ‘tired’ felt like. It’s my four-month-old waking every thirty minutes for three months. Straight. And it’s the resulting admission to a Mother and Baby unit in Melbourne who specialise in getting babies to sleep. He sleeps like a champion now.

But I am still tired. Frequently. And not only do I understand why women use concealer under their eyes, but I swear by it. If my husband and I have a choice between sleep and sex now, I can confidently tell you that sleep wins. Far too regularly for our liking, but we're both too exhausted to care. We couldn't be happier.

This parenting journey has showed me a kind of happiness I never even knew existed, and a kind of love that makes my heart burst. I smile wider than even the happiest Buddhist monk these days. And it’s all because of him. What surprises me most is that I’m actually doing an amazing job of being someone’s mama. I worried that it wouldn't come naturally; I shouldn’t have, it does.

I used to think breastfeeding was a choice. I never knew there was any degree of difficulty to it. My only exposure to breastfeeding before becoming pregnant was the BBC documentaries I’d watched, where women simply placed their baby on their breast, and the baby drank, just like that. My Max simply couldn’t latch on to my inverted nipple. It didn’t happen, just like that. And I lost confidence. And I cried, a lot.We paid professionals $80 per hour to come to our home to teach me the art of breastfeeding. My milk dried up. And it was over before it even began. It took me a long time to come to terms with not being able to breastfeed.

Now I make it up to him (and myself) with his solids journey. I couldn’t breastfeed. But I can cook. And it gives me the greatest joy to feed my child in this next nutritional adventure: the solids journey.

The hardest part of being a new mama is the criticism and the judgement. Sadly, the majority of it is from fellow mamas. C’mon sisters! United we stand, divided we fall, right?! Wrong. The judgement of another woman and the choices she makes in her own mothering journey is something I just won’t be a part of. Ever.

My husband helps me parent well. We are the finest team. We are both amazing parents, thanks to each other.

The best advice I was given was by my midwife friend (who also delivered my son). She gave me the strictest instructions on how to best massage your perineum. And she started me on this when I was six weeks along (?!?!?!). I spent thirty six weeks telling her she was crazy, but massaged that perineum daily nonetheless. And then I birthed my nine pounds and four ounces Max. And I managed to do this without a single stitch. I no longer call her crazy. I call her the saviour. Of my vagina.

My advice for new mamas is to be kind to yourself. You’re not going to do everything right. You will make mistakes, and you will learn from them. And for the love of God, sleep when your baby sleeps. As much as you need to. Because a well rested mama is enjoyed far more by her baby than the shiniest of shiny floors."

you can find cherie at a baby called max and vote for her on the kidspot top 50 bloggers here.

{ETA: 14th May 2012. A Baby Called Max is currently open to readers by invitation only.}

17 comments:

  1. Great post and all so very true!! I only just discovered Cherie's blog last week and it's instantly become one of my favourite reads :)

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  2. Great read Bron and Cherie...all so very true..and we Mums should support and encourage each other alot more than we do. And Max..you are one adorable dude! x

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  3. I always enjoy reading Cherie's writing, I don't miss a post, so I thoroughly enjoyed this guest post... and of course, Cherie led me to your lovely blog too Bron xo

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  4. It's one of my very new favourites too.

    Her honesty is refreshing!

    Sarah

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  5. I adore Cherie, and this piece as always, was wonderful! xx

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  6. Cherie, this is such a brilliant post! I hope all new mums read it. I was so hard on myself, and I think reading a journey like this would have helped! Beautifully honest xx

    Oh and great idea Bron! Love this site xx

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  7. Great post Cherie, I adore your outlook on life xx

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  8. Lovely post. I too struggled with breast feeding, who ever knew it would be so hard? I ended up doing part boob/part bottle which everyone said wouldn't work but did. P.S your hubby is a total spunk rat.

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  9. *Lancome waterproof under eye concealer. worth every penny works overtime for me.
    *energy drinks-- advocare spark is my go to choice. thanks to another mom who sold me on that!
    *& prayer & more prayer......
    *with kids it's a completely different day, everyday.
    You are tired until they go to kindergarten--advice from my mom!
    now, potty training-drives me batty, ugh {I'm in the middle of doing that with my 3 yr old!}
    xo
    kara

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  10. Great post.. I would have been so close to walking away from so many things had it not been for the support of other mamas.. That was when the kids were young.

    These days they are a little easier to understand and it is the support of mamas that has helped me stick to my plans in business.. Those mentor mamas mean the world to me and I am always blown away when I hear about negative banter between women and mums.. You are strong Cherie, oh so strong. I hope you continue to inspire others as you have me over the last year to so x

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  11. You sound like you are doing it just right! A friend of mine took her baby to a breast feeding mothers' centre for support and sisterhood but felt shunned and judged when she produced a bottle of expressed to milk to feed him. None of them knew he had been born with a cleft palette and operated on in five months. He had never learnt to breast feed. Needless to say she never returned but she did drop in some pamphlets for them to a strangers house in her suburb as requested. She met me sitting growing into my couch as I double fed my new reflux twins. I asked her to come in and she is now one of my dearest friends and the godmother to my fifth baby. Women can be judgemental but when you find the right ones they are your rocks. Motherhood can form friendships almost as strong as the parental bond itself.
    Be proud of what you do with your child. He is thriving and happy as are you. you picked the right away for you and that is always the best one.

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  12. The hardest part of being a new mama is the criticism and the judgement. Sadly, the majority of it is from fellow mamas. C’mon sisters! United we stand, divided we fall, right?! Wrong. The judgement of another woman and the choices she makes in her own mothering journey is something I just won’t be a part of. Ever

    This, just this. I will never understand it, and it breaks my heart. But its rampant. I vote we ban together to stop this horrible behaviour.

    Also, beautiful post. I enjoy your words very much.

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  13. Beautifully put. Why, oh why do mummies have to judge each other. We all have one thing in common, we all want the best for our kiddies. Love your blog.
    http://mummymuddles.blogspot.com

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  14. I adore your outlook .Great read Bron and Cherie...all so very true..Antabuse online and we Mums should support and encourage each other alot more than we do.

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    how do i get pregnant l Find me Lover

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