Charlie Plunkett is a published author and mother to a lovely little boy, Cole, who is the subject of her book about her pregnancy, The True Diary of a Mum-to-be, a pregnancy companion, as well as a sequel charting the amazing first year of motherhood, The True Diary of Baby’s First Year , a mothering companion. She has also compiled a beautiful book about parenthood with the help of some amazing contributors titled 100 Little Words on Parenthood.
CHARLIE’S ADVENTURES IN BABY LAND
I met my future husband and father-to-be of our gorgeous son over 20 years ago. We knew we were destined to be together but he is certainly not one to rush into things, hence we had been living together as a couple for 13 years before he popped the big question.
We were married, twice! The legal ceremony was held in Vegas followed by a whirlwind honeymoon around America and a romantic blessing in the beautiful seaside resort of Brighton, England.
As soon as the wedding photographs had been framed we started trying for a family and that was when our adventures in Baby Land began…
Honestly I don’t think either of us had a clue back then of quite how bumpy the road to parenthood would be. I had very misguided ideas about pregnancy and birth – hardly surprising as I missed all the sex education classes at school as they coincided with my violin lessons, which was a shame as they would have been far more useful!
We were elated to discover after a few months of baby-making practice that I was pregnant but totally devastated when at 6 weeks I sadly had a miscarriage. Months and months passed and comments from my osteopath through to news reports on the TV saying a woman of my age (37) had geriatric genes did nothing to boost my hopes.
Out of the blue, some 7 months later those beautiful blue lines appeared on my test stick. I was over the moon but my happiness was tinged with apprehension after my previous experience. We kept my pregnancy quiet and were looking forward to the 12 week scan and sharing our news with family. Sadly we did end up giving them news but it wasn’t what we had been hoping to share with them, when at 12 weeks I had another miscarriage. It turned out that the baby had stopped developing at around 6 weeks. This was such a terrible experience and left me feeling that my dreams of becoming a mother would never come true. On a positive note it brought me and my husband even closer to each other, united in our grief and disappointment.
As the saying goes ‘third time lucky’ and 6 months later we were pregnant again. I gave up my job immediately (I strongly felt that my 2nd miscarriage had been caused by my poor work environment) and we set the wheels in motion to move to our dream location, Brighton (where we had been married, what felt like an eternity ago).
My pregnancy was wonderful, yes I had a few queasy moments, my sense of smell went into overdrive and I suffered heartburn most evenings but I was so grateful to be experiencing pregnancy these minor ailments fizzed into nothing. I ate healthily, maintained my vegan diet (my biggest craving was for salad with tahini dressing, how decadent!) I went to pregnancy yoga classes, which despite being a trained dancer I was terrible at. My growing bump with our baby we nicknamed ‘Pear’ just wouldn’t allow me to get into the positions, but I religiously attended right up to my due/guess date. We also went to Hypnobirthing classes and found a wonderful doula to be with us at ‘Pears’ birth.
Week 41 ‘Pear’ made his grand entrance at home, as we had dreamt of, surrounded by love. The Hypnobirthing course enabled us to have the confidence to stick to our guns to have a home-birth, despite the fact that for a few hours it looked as though it would be without a midwife! It did also live up to the promise of releasing me from the fear, pain syndrome and throughout my baby’s birth I had no medical intervention. I listened to my Hypnobirthing CD on a loop while in our birthing pool with my husband and doulas supporting me, fuelled on travel sweets and vegan yogurt!
Cole Jayden was born one minute before 7 pm on 29th July weighing a hearty 9Ibs 5oz and from that moment on he has blessed our lives so completely. That’s not to say it was all plain sailing, we had breastfeeding difficulties resulting from him having tongue-tie. It was easily fixed for him thankfully, but for my poor boobs it wasn’t until he was 9 weeks that I had a turning point and was able to get fully dressed without wincing.
As I write this Cole is now an adorable 4 ½ year old and started full-time at school this week, not a day passes without him doing something to make me smile and feel so proud. I’m going to be 44 this year which means I could be mistaken for his grandma and not his mummy, but for us parenthood arrived at the perfect time. We’ve had lovely careers; both of us were professional dancers traveling the world in our twenties. Our thirties were spent on film sets and for 7 years I was the principal teacher at a performing arts school. I feel that I fulfilled my dancing career in my youth and now I’m older I’m contented and blessed to be Cole’s mummy. I may be older but I’m also wiser, I don’t begrudge my time spent with him in fact I consider it a privilege to be his mummy. He makes me feel young as I relive my childhood with him. Skipping down the street with his little hand in mine, watching him play with his daddy and snuggling up in bed together for a story each night is sweet perfection.