As a soapie star, former Home and Away actress Christie Hayes is used to shock twists and quick production turnarounds. Even so, finding out she was pregnant again only six weeks after the birth of her first baby was never part of the script, she says.
Christie, 29, admits her second pregnancy was “a big surprise”, but says she wasn’t prepared for the amount of discussion that would be generated about her sex life, saying women need to stop tearing each other down.
Writing a guest blog for The Modern Mumma, the actress reveals she was just as shocked as anyone to be expecting again so soon.
“I remember feeling guilty straight away because I didn’t jump for joy. I felt shocked, a little scared and justifiably, very tired. A completely different reaction to my first pregnancy where we both cried, laughed, jumped around like idiots in the doctor’s office then straight away went and cleared out our local pharmacy with vitamins for me,” Christie writes.
Baby Harley was born on September 4, 2015, exactly 11 months after his big brother Hendrix – and in the same hospital room.
But Christie says the public reaction to her surprise pregnancy was the worst, with her sex life becoming social media fodder for women wanting to tear her down.
Comments including: ‘What was she doing having sex after six weeks!?’ and ‘How can she be so stupid? You’re most fertile then!’ hurt the star, adding to her guilt.
“Here I was. I’d just given birth, was so tired I couldn’t remember my own name and frankly, slightly depressed at a time I should’ve been happy (according to all my well-wishers who were kindly telling me this was going to be the happiest time of my life),” she says.
“A phone call to my darling fiancée Daniel offered great relief when he told me it was beautiful news. He told me I didn’t need to worry… reassuring me we could do it, I could do it, and most importantly, how blessed we were. Couples and single parents try for years to fall pregnant and have a family. I truly understand how lucky I am. I guess selfishly, I just didn’t feel it at the time.”
Now, as a mum of two, Christie – who played Kirsty Phillips for two stints on the popular soapie – says motherhood is challenging but wonderful.
“He is wonderful. Motherhood is wonderful. Hell, motherhood to two kids under one is wonderful,” she says.
“I learnt to be a mother. It takes practice. It takes time. It’s okay to not know everything. It’s okay to go on an emotional journey. It’s okay to get pregnant soon after you give birth.
“What we are doing as mothers is all okay.”
She says the mummy shaming needs to stop.
“I’m not into tearing women down. I never have been. I’ve always been about talking (ideally over a bottle of wine) and let’s face it, it’s nice to talk to somebody who can talk back to you,” Christie writes.
“I started bottle feeding at 4 weeks old with my first baby, because I was too tired and run down doing it all myself. My partner is a tremendous and very hands on father and I needed him to do a shift for me at night so I could sleep. At first I was ashamed of myself for that, but I struggled with feeling that I had enough milk to fill my baby up. I’m glad that I’m talking about it. Perhaps it might help another woman feel free to talk comfortably as well.”
A year and a half after Hendrix was born and almost six months after Harley, Christie says she is delighted to say that having two children is by far the best thing she has ever done.
There are moments when it’s hard, I cry, he cries, then there are moments like this- when we get our first photo together smiling. I am reminded that, like all Mothers, I am doing my best.. And my best must be OK. His happiness is, for me, my ideal parenting moment. #parentingmoment #themotherish @themotherish . #mumlife #motherhood #love #babyspam #harleygabriel
“You do have a lot less time for yourself once you are a parent but it’s important to note that it does become easier,” says Christie.
“I am a confident mother. I offer good advice when I am asked and whilst depression crept up on me and hit me like a ton of bricks in the early days, it is now a thing of the past.
“To any parent facing difficulty – the single parent, the parent of four children, the parent of one child, the parent of a child with special needs. You’re doing a damn good job!”
Have a read of our recent post for a peek into the lives of some more adorable Aussie celebrity families.