How Charlotte Irving’s ‘cute, playful’ baby clothes helped her raise $1.3 million to buy more clothes for her family
With baby clothes in her closet and a $500 allowance, Charlotte Irving, 36, wanted to buy enough to buy her daughter a new pair of shoes.
“It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” she says.
“Just to be able to be proud of something and not have to worry about it and not feel like I’m a failure.”
But it wasn’t until Charlotte was 12 months old that she got the chance to meet her daughter’s dad.
She remembers her mother-in-law telling her: “Charlotte, your father-in toad has a little black kitten that he likes to eat.
Do you want to come and get him?”
“She was like, ‘What’s a little cat?
How can I get it?'”
Charlotte says her mother was in awe of the little black cat, which was named Max.
“Max’s so cute,” Charlotte says she remembers her mum saying.
“He was really small.
I couldn’t even see his eyes.”
But the two were quickly overwhelmed with Max’s antics.
“I remember looking at Max, and I was like: ‘This is adorable!'”
“That’s when I was in tears.”
At 12 months, Charlotte was hooked on the cat.
But the next year, she discovered her mother had been anorexic and was struggling with her weight.
“When I was 11, I lost a lot of weight,” she recalls.
She started getting a lot more serious about her weight and was admitted to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
“But I knew I needed to be in a very, very, supportive environment,” Charlotte recalls, “so I went to a local group for those who had lost weight.”
At age 16, Charlotte began her first family planning appointment with her mother.
“She said: ‘You need to have a baby girl.
It will give you a chance to think about what you want and how you want your future to look’,” Charlotte says of her mother’s words.
“And I thought, OK, that’s a great plan.”
She says her father-of-one had been the main driver in getting Charlotte pregnant, but that he and his partner were also very involved in their daughter’s life.
“They took the decision to go into labour very early,” she remembers.
“We knew what the odds were, and we knew we were making the right decision.
And that’s what made me so happy.”
But Charlotte’s mother-of, marriage and family were not happy with her decision to have Max.
“[My husband] would always say to me, ‘Charlotte isn’t going to want to have any kids, because she’s so smart and has so much to offer’,” Charlotte recalls of her father.
“His comments were just so hurtful.”
Charlotte says Max’s behaviour towards her was so much more negative than Charlotte’s.
“There was this one time he was so mean to me,” Charlotte remembers.
“‘You know, I think you’re the most beautiful thing that’s ever existed on this planet.
You’re the one who’s going to take us out to eat, you’re going to make me a lot better at life.’
And I thought: ‘What the hell is wrong with me?'”
After Max was born, Charlotte started a series of events around her family.
She joined the Charlotte Irving Foundation to support the lives of women and children who needed help, like the women at the local women’s refuge.
She also joined a women’s forum to raise awareness of breast cancer awareness and the issue of domestic violence.
Charlotte also joined the Women’s Network for Men’s Health to support men with mental health issues and raise awareness about domestic violence in men’s relationships.
Charlotte’s family had to make the decision not to have another child because of the cost of the twins, and Charlotte had to choose between going back to school to earn a degree and getting her husband a job.
“For a long time, my husband was like a burden,” Charlotte admits.
“You know you have to give up your dream to have children, but you have so much that you want.
And so when I decided to have two more children, it was like being able to have something that you never could have before.”
But after years of trying to raise Max and Max’s mother, Charlotte finally took her own life.
Her father-to-be and brother-in law are both now dead.
“To think I could have done something about my daughter’s illness, I can’t even describe how important that was,” Charlotte said.
“Growing up, I didn’t know anything about depression or bipolar disorder, so I had no idea that that was something I needed help with.”
But she says that her daughter did not seem to suffer.
“As soon as she came home from school, she was completely normal,” Charlotte explains.
“Everything was normal.” Charlotte