Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: "You will feel like splitting up a hundred times!" Ash Pollard's candid advice on navigating the newborn trenches

This will resonate with parents everywhere.

By Bella Brennan
When former My Kitchen Rules star Ash Pollard welcomed her first child, a beautiful baby girl called Clementine, with her partner Pete in September, she never could have imagined just how much her world was going to change.
From the sleepless nights to the enormous surge of love, Ash tells Now To Love the arrival of her daughter has been the ultimate perspective shake-up.
"I have to say, I was a pretty selfish person before I had a kid," she tells us.
"I kept thinking to myself: 'Oh god, now I'm going to have to spend money on nappies and I won't be able to buy those Scanlan shoes.' I mean, what an absolute moron! My life has been put into perspective and I couldn't be more grateful."
Indeed the arrival of a newborn means you're now reporting in to a tiny yet adorable dictator who needs to be fed, burped and changed around the clock.
It's a taxing job like no other and trying to function on skerricks of broken sleep can make anyone snappy at the best of times. Ash and her partner Pete, who have been together since 2017, are no exception.
Opening up about clashing with your partner when you're both trying your best to trouble-shoot a screaming baby in the middle of the night, Ash has some sage words of wisdom that will relate to sleep-deprived parents everywhere.
"Know that you will fight with your partner and it will be World War Three. You will feel like splitting up a hundred times. And you'll want to file for that divorce about a thousand times but it's normal and it will pass," she candidly admits.
"You don't want to wish the weeks away but at the same time, you know that with each week, it gets easier," she adds.
"I think from a female perspective, guys will try and understand and it's tough for them. The baby is completely and utterly reliant on the mother if you're breastfeeding," she points out.
Fights are par for the course for any new parents but Ash, pictured with Pete, says the tough times will always pass. (Image: Instagram)
"I kind of reckon that there were times that Pete was like 'this is hard.' And the only way he could express that was through getting mad at me. But I had to be sympathetic to the fact that he probably would be feeling a little bit left out."
While midnight quarrels are par for the course for any new parents, Ash says Pete is a natural-born father.
"He's amazing! I have absolutely no qualms of leaving her with him. I trust him implicitly. He's a great dad," she enthuses.
"She's divine! She's so neat," the former MKR favourite says of her daughter. (Image: Instagram)
Three months into her new gig as a mum, the reality TV star is finding her groove and couldn't be more in love with her daughter.
"She's divine! She's so neat. I haven't had any [poo] blow-outs and she doesn't vomit at all. She's just this neat little thing that goes about her day," Ash raves of her baby.
It's this all-consuming love for her little one that inspired Ash to team up with Cell Care to help raise awareness around the importance of storing your baby's cord blood and cord tissue.
According to Cell Care, "Cord blood and cord tissue are rich in powerful stem cells and can only be collected at birth for potential future use."
These stem cells can be used for medical treatments in the future, like leukaemia.
There are also a whole host of new studies currently being researched exploring the use of cord blood and tissue to help with cerebral palsy, autism and type 1 diabetes.
"It's slightly expensive but the insurance behind it is priceless." (Image: Instagram)
"It's slightly expensive but the insurance behind it is priceless," Ash explains of the service, which costs around $6,595 for about 30 years of storage.
"If you've got the resources you may as well invest in it. It is pricey but if I ever had to use the service, and I hope that I never have to, but if I have to it'd be amazing," she says.
From a practical point of view, Ash says the process, which she used at Clementine's birth, couldn't have been easier to navigate.
"They send you a box and it's got all the paraphernalia in it, you put it next to your hospital bag and then when it's go time, you take the box with you to the hospital and that's it," the Dancing With The Star alumni explains.
"You just call Cell Care when you're in active labour, then they pretty much check in with the hospital or your partner throughout the labour just to see how close you are because obviously they need to be there for the birth [to collect the cord blood and tissue.]"
Ash used the service at Clementine's birth and says the whole process was super easy to navigate. (Image: Instagram)
Ash admits the only element of a "birth plan" she had was making sure Cell Care were there when her baby arrived but other than that, she had no plan whatsoever.
"Props to all the people who have a birth plan. If you're having your first child and you're going in with a birth plan, I understand because it's frightening. At the same time, I'm a bit of a realist. You cannot plan a birth," the mother-of-one tells us, before revealing she had to be induced and ended up having an emergency C-section.
"I was induced because I had really bad symptoms for pre-eclampsia. So they induced me and over about 24-hours, I just wasn't dilating. So come the 22nd hour, they said 'oh look you're going to have to have an emergency C-section," Ash reflects.
"If I had of gone in with a birth plan, I would have been bitterly disappointed because I ended up having an emergency C-section. More to the point, I wasn't able to do anything naturally – I had to be induced, I had to have my waters broken manually. None of what I experienced in my birth was natural. It was all done by the doctors and I'm grateful for what they did," she admits.
"As horrific as it was, it was a seamless birth in the end really. I wasn't too posh to push or anything like that, it was an emergency C-section."
Ash, Pete and Clementine moments after Ash's emergency C-section. (Image: Instagram)
Describing the operation as "gross" Ash says: "I actually yelled over the curtains: 'F-----g sew me up.' It feels like they're rifling around, you can feel it. And when they push on you after to get all the stuff out? The things we go through, I tell you!"
And the post-op recovery was just as gruelling.
"You can't even enjoy your newborn to the full potential because you can hardly pick them up, it hurts," Ash reflects.
After weeks of concealing her daughter's face, fans were thrilled when the radio star recently posted the first official photo of Clementine to Instagram.

But Ash says she's keen to protect Clementine from the harsh world of social media for now.
"I definitely want to share her but at the same time, I'm also mindful of her and that she doesn't have a voice. I sometimes grapple with putting her up on a platform where eighty-thousand people follow me and some people are real bullies."
"I read things about myself that are horrible and I've learnt to get over it but if I ever read anything horrible about my child, I'd be wild. I'd be absolutely beside myself and I don't want to put her in that position at such a young age. I don't really think it's fair," she notes.
"In saying that, I will share her. I'm not in a rush to! I'm just drinking her in at the moment."