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Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: Why Carrie Bickmore's brutal honesty about motherhood is a gift to other women

What should have been one of the happiest times of Carrie's life was filled with dark days and nights, but she's come out the other side happier than ever.

By Tiffany Dunk
It's been just over six months since The Project host Carrie Bickmore gave birth to her third child Adelaide, and as any mother knows, these can be some of the toughest moments of parenthood.
From the outside looking in, it might be easy to assume that Carrie is a woman who has it all.
But in raw and honest exclusive interview with The Australian Women's Weekly, the 38-year-old admits it has been a difficult time with her newborn baby.
"I think, arrogantly, I was like, 'I've had two, it can't be that hard to have another one,'" Carrie chuckles.
"By then there's already chaos, there's already mess, so what's adding another one? But it was pretty full on. And it certainly challenged me in ways I didn't know were possible."
Addie couldn't settle while feeding, was projectile vomiting and wasn't sleeping and it all left Carrie questioning if she was suffering from postnatal depression.
"I literally couldn't put her down without her being uncomfortable. So I held her pretty much for six weeks straight, which meant I didn't sleep," she said.
Carrie and Adelaide share a rare quiet moment together. Peter Brew-Bevan/The Australian Women's Weekly
Finally, when Adelaide was seven weeks old, they were given the reflux diagnosis and medication to help combat it. But the troubles didn't stop there.
"I realised I didn't have enough milk and I had to wean her, which I hadn't really thought about because I'd been fine before – I mean, with Ollie I could have fed an entire nation," Carrie says.
"But this time I didn't. So she was hungry and she wasn't putting on weight which is stressful. We had about three or four months of navigating her putting on weight and then the feeding."
In her darkest days, Carrie admits, she struggled to maintain a semblance of sanity while trying to take the pressure off and do whatever was necessary to keep both her baby fed and her mental health intact.
"I wonder, if this baby had been my first, if I would have ever had any more," she jokes.
But finally things turned a corner and Addie start responding to treatment.
"She's really cuddly and loves to be held and she's just very tactile," Carrie beams.
"Now she's laughing and smiling and making noises and the kids love her. So it's great now, but it was just nothing like I was expecting."
Carrie has been open and honest with her followers about the struggles of new motherhood - and women adore her for it. Peter Brew-Bevan/The Australian Women's Weekly
She will return to her hosting duties on The Project next month. Peter Brew-Bevan/The Australian Women's Weekly
Carrie's openness about her struggles on social media - she shared all the lows as well as the highs with her 625,000 Instagram followers - has endeared her even more to the Australian public, particularly women.
"I've spoken to a lot of women who have said it's meant a lot to them," says her co-host on The Project, Peter Helliar.
"Mums with new babies who are up in the middle of the night, to read that Carrie is going through the same thing, it does actually mean something. She's very good at reaching out, and also at not hiding it if she's struggling."
Carrie says opening up publicly has had a knock-on effect – by voicing her fears and frustrations she's found a support network in the workplace, in friendships, with her family and with the Australian public.
"I purposefully let people in," she says.
"People come up to me who I've never met and are so wonderful and supportive and encouraging. They're often going through their own journey and they're like, 'Thanks for the money you raise' or 'Thanks for sharing your story so now I don't feel so alone'.
"There have been many times when I've felt I've collectively had the nation's arms around me, as well as those who are physically beside me holding my hand."
Adelaide is her second child with second husband Chris. Peter Brew-Bevan/The Australian Women's Weekly
Just last week, Carrie was awarded an Order of Australia medal for service to the broadcast media and to brain cancer awareness.
She started the Beanies 4 Brain Cancer charity in 2015 following the tragic death of her first husband Greg, who died after a 10 year battle with brain cancer.
So far the organisation has raised $12 million and it's a project that has a special resonance for Ollie, whose time with his father Greg was cut far too short by his tragic death from the disease in 2010, when their son was just three years old.
"Ollie wears his beanie proudly and it's a lovely legacy for his dad and a positive way to be connected," Carrie says.
"Whenever we are out we'll see someone wearing our beanie and he'll say, 'Mum, look!', or he'll go up and say, 'Hey, thanks for buying one.' I can see the pride in him."
WATCH BELOW: Carrie Bickmore reveals the hilarious moment she hosted an event with her dress on backwards. Story continues after video.
Does the constant presence of Greg ever make it difficult for her partner Chris?
"You always bring your past with you into your future and that's just the reality, that's life," she says.
"The sort of family I grew up in never had this perfect little, 'Mum, Dad, two kids' [Carrie's parents split when she was very young]. I never aimed for or expected perfect. It's not straightforward but I don't really know anything different."
Greg remains a constant part of the conversations in their home, says Carrie, and he always will.
"Anyone who has ever lost someone will tell you that they may not physically be there but they'll stay in your life forever. And Ollie is so like him in so many ways. I often think, 'God, I wish Greg was here so I could ask him how the hell to parent!' Surely he'd have some insight."
We have no doubt he would be beyond proud at her efforts.
Carrie will return to her hosting duties on The Project on July 8.
Read our full interview with Carrie in the new issue of The Australian Women's Weekly, on sale now.
The July issue of The Australian Women's Weekly is on sale now. AWW

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