TV presenter Cherry Healey is mum to Coco, two. Cherry gave birth to her 'unexpected surprise' on TV, was hospitalised after having huge problems with breastfeeding and describes her parenting style as 'blagging it.' As you can expect, we had a lot to talk about...
Coco is nearing her third birthday, have you had the terrible twos to deal with?
She's actually been OK until very recently, but yesterday had the mother of all tantrums in the middle of Westfield shopping centre. I'm from the school of thought that there is nothing I can do, so mostly let her get on with it and just stand and observe!
You filmed Coco's birth for your TV show, how was that?
I was keen to do it, and I had a fantastic relationship with the director as we worked together for a few months beforehand. We were comfortable with each other and kept the lines of communications open. I can see why people might find it strange, but I had so many questions about labour and childbirth, I really wanted to do it. At one point I did ask her to leave though. I had taken in a lot of gas and air and was very confused and distressed, I just wanted to see Rory's (Cherry's husband) face and no one else's. I recovered and we carried on, and I'm glad I did it.
How many times have you watched it back?
I'd say around three or four times. It's like watching someone else! It's lovely as I know it's Coco and that was her arrival into the world, but I almost feel numb watching it.
Would you do it again?
How would you describe your parenting style?
Relaxed, realistic and blagging it! I take inspiration from lots of books and my mum, but unfortunately children do not come with instructions.
Coco was an unexpected surprise, how did you cope coming to terms with becoming a mum?
I always wanted children, but I was imagining having my first at 34. I was 28. I thought it was going to be the end of my career and I was distressed while I tried to get my head around the situation.
I didn't know all of the wonderful things that come with having a baby that I know now.
I knew Rory was the man I was going to have children with, but we still had to be very honest and open with each other. I was the first of my friends to have a baby as well, so I did feel quite alone. I found talking to my GP really helpful as she clamed me down and answered lots of my questions.
You're supporting the Onken Real Report which found women see having a family and good health as more important than financial wealth and their appearance, and see Kate Middleton as a role model. Were you surprised by the findings?
I was quite surprised but happy to find family was number one, and I'm very glad it was above wealth and appearance.
For me it's Karren Brady. Whenever I'm thinking about work and juggling family life I think, 'must be like Karren Brady!'
Do you worry about Coco growing up as a young girl with so much pressure from the media?
Yes, but sadly I don't think there is much you can do to shield young girls from it. I want to give her strength inside so when she inevitably compares herself to other girls she knows inside who she is and how great she is.
What's the best thing about being a mum?
That I'm not always thinking about myself and have someone so important in my life as a number one priority. I was so worried about my life changing, and becoming a 'mum' when I had Coco. I had connotations of a mum being at home all the time making shepherd's pie. The reality is of course not like that.
You expose your family life a lot for your shows, how do you find that?
I have a line and I don't cross it if I don't feel comfortable with something. It's not just me I have to consider, it's my husband and our daughter. The sort of interviews and reality TV I do is not warts and all on me, and it's certainly not access all areas.
You've met some interesting characters and families on your shows (Cherry Has a Baby, Is Breast Best?) who is the most memorable for you?
There have been so many, but one mum from a little while ago really stands out. She was pregnant with her first baby and was so adamant that becoming a mum wasn't going to change her. She was talking about being back on her Blackberry as soon as her baby came out and wanted her boobs done straightaway.
We then revisited her and she had breastfed her baby, was expecting her second and had handed over some of her business to someone else. She just loved motherhood.
You covered breastfeeding for your show, Is Breast Best, what was your experience of breastfeeding Coco?
In a word, hideous. I knew nothing about it, other than the positive stories that it was great for my baby and myself, and thought it would be easy. It wasn't.
Coco had huge problems feeding and I was stressing myself out about it. It just didn't work for us.
It got so bad that I was hospitalised on a drip for five days with bad mastitis. I didn't even know what that was and had no idea I was suffering.
Do you think there's too much pressure on mums to breastfeed?
It's incredibly tricky. The emphasis on the positives are great, and of course it's a fantastic message, but I think the message has become slightly skewed.
If you try and you can't do it, what are you supposed to do? Not bottle feed? We have to be more realistic about it.
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