Hollyoaks Actress and new mum, Nadine Mulkerrin opens up about the highs and lows of her journey into motherhood. Her candid and honest approach reminds us that whilst it isn’t always easy, it is definitely always worth it.
Pregnancy for me was a wonderful, magical but scary journey which I think I took in my stride most of the time. We experienced a miscarriage before my pregnancy with Reggie so I think sometimes I had my glass half empty as a way of protecting myself from getting hurt. I was so anxious to get to the 12-week mark but then when everything was ok there and the various screenings, I would then just worry about making it to the next milestone. So as much as I really tried to remain positive, there was always a slight fear in the back of my mind. I don’t think I ever really truly fully relaxed until I was holding him in my arms, and he was here safe. I’m proud of myself in terms of how I “coped” during pregnancy. I worked right up until the very end shooting a stunt and a huge episode with loads of running around shouting and screaming. (Reggie must have been wondering what on earth was going on outside the womb)
I kept active going to a Mamafit class every week but also really relished in being lazy and having big lie ins in bed and snoozing during the day when I got the chance as I knew those days would be over when the little one arrived. I actually loved watching my body slowly grow. There were days when I yearned for a big bump and just wanted to be big and pregnant and then there were other days when I actually was massive and pregnant when I just didn’t feel like my body was mine and I felt so uncomfortable and self-conscious. I remember once being in a changing room trying to find something to wear for my baby shower. I remember sitting in the hot changing room literally sweating, swollen and crying because nothing fit me, and I felt I looked awful. But most of the time I tried to just keep telling myself that my body was changing for the most incredible reason and that I was a vessel to bring life into the world. It really is such an amazing time and if I ever had a down day I would just remind myself of all the women out there who are so desperate to be in my position and carry a baby and just remind myself how lucky I was.
Pregnancy is a roller-coaster of emotions and dealing with your body changing through the months can be a challenge. I tried to just go with it and embrace that things were stretching and getting bigger. I think the sooner you realise perfection doesn’t exist the happier you become. If I didn’t have my stretch marks, then I wouldn’t have my son.
When Reggie arrived, I just felt this overwhelming sense of love. We didn’t find out the gender, but I just knew he was a boy. I felt like I knew what he looked like and I just felt like I’d known him my whole life. Literally all the clichés are true, and I honestly can’t remember my life before him.
(I just know it included a shed load more sleep!!)
But my goodness I know people did warn me about the hormones and the “blues” but wowzers I was an emotional wreck! It really did take maybe up until a few months go for me to fully start to feel like “me” again.
It’s nearly five months since the birth of my beautiful baby boy Reggie and he’s well and truly stolen my heart! Words really can’t express the love and obsession I have for my baby boy and my life has well and truly changed for the absolute better in every single possible way. If I’ve learnt anything during my motherhood journey so far, it’s just to do what you need to do and don’t focus on what anyone else thinks. There’s way too much judgement and opinions out there. Every parent just does what they think is best for their child. I want to continue to trust my instinct and find solace in that “everything is a phase”
A Day in the life of Nadine and Reggie.
So.. my day started today at 4:05am with Reggie waking up for a feed. I’m breast feeding and he’s still waking up every few hours some nights it seems. If one more person asks if he’s sleeping through, I might go mad ha! He went back down and then around 7 woke us up again with his new favourite noise he likes to make; raspberries. Rory got up with him and treated me to a cup of tea in bed and I managed to get another undisturbed hour! He is a good egg. Then Rory had to go into work, so I got him ready for our day together. I noticed he had a small nappy rash, so I used the 'No harm bum balm’ which is absolutely brilliant.
I then needed to get ready, so I put him in his bouncer chair in the bathroom whist I showered. He normally sits there happy for a good 10 minutes whilst I run around like a headless chicken getting ready. As part of my routine I always massage the Fantastic Skin elastic Oil on my C section Scar and my stretch marks.
We then had like 15 minutes to get to the local cafe to meet my fellow mummy friends. Just about to leave the house and Reggie had proceeded to vomit on his fresh new outfit followed by a strong-smelling number two! It was a full clean-up operation and we eventually got to see our friends of course late but if anyone totally gets it, its other mums! A similar incident happened to a fellow mummy friend, so it was nice to hear we are all in the same boat! It’s so reassuring and grounding knowing other people are experiencing the lack of sleep and stress that comes with motherhood.
The day followed with a nice walk around the park to get the babies to sleep. (Reggie fell asleep for a whole two hours, very tired boy). I was close to my workplace and decided to pop in and see a few of my wonderful cast-mates and Reggie was spoilt with lots of cuddles. It was lovely to touch base back at work and everyone got to meet Reggie. Today seemed to fly by and before I knew it, it was 6:15pm and dinner time. I fed Reggie, then took his nappy off and put a towel down and let him have a kick about. He loves being naked and free. I mean of course he peed on my carpet, but these are things I’ve come to just relax about. He then even let me put the dinner on in time for Rory coming home from work. I put him in his jumperoo as he’s rolling around now and nearly on the move, I don’t dare leave him alone on the floor.
The night ended with us three playing with Reggie on his matt playing with some new cool shiny, bright toys. We then bathed him together and Rory got him ready for bed. I then fed him lying down. I try keep a nightlight on just enough so I can read a book rather than scrolling on my phone. I enjoy the bonding feeding but also, it’s a little bit of me time. He went to sleep and after only a few times putting him back down he was out for the first stretch of sleep meaning me and Rory could have a cuddle on the sofa like the good old days just us two.
I feel incredibly lucky to have such a supportive partner and family and friends around me. but most importantly I feel so proud of myself.
I try my best and that’s all I can do. There’s good days and bad days. Some days I struggle and compare myself with “why isn’t Reggie sleeping through?” “What am I doing wrong” but then I just try and have a word with myself and remember I’m doing what I think is best.
And as long as Reggie is healthy and a happy little boy that’s all I care about. He’s so loved. And I am so, so lucky to have him. He’s my little dude and my best friend and I just need to savour every second of my maternity with him as he’s not gonna be a baby forever and when he’s out clubbing at 18 and I don’t know where he is Ill long for the days when he’s keeping me up all night crying wanting to be cuddled.
I think mums go through so much. It really is the most life changing transition you go through becoming a parent. We all need to be able to talk to our friends/ family about how were coping and our mental health I really think that’s important during this time.
Nadine Mulkerrin xx
All Photos are credited to Nadine Mulkerrin - @NadineMulkerrin IG.