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Thursday 14 December 2017

'My baby came at just the right time'

TV presenter Pamela Flood tells Anna Coogan why having her first child at 39 was perfect for herI think if you have only a few hours sleep at age 23, you bounce back the following morning. If you have only a few hours sleep at age 40, it takes a while longer to come through and feel alive again. But even given the sleep issue, having a first baby on the verge of turning 40 was perfect timing in the end. I didn't wait on purpose, I was ready for a baby at about 35, yet the relationship I was in wasn't one for having babies. I was 36 when I met Ronan (restaurateur Ronan Ryan) and he was 37 and already a dad to Zach, who is 10 and spends half his time with us.

We had the baby talk quite early on in our relationship, although we didn't start trying for a baby straight away.

I never worried about conceiving in my late thirties. I believe in fate and destiny. Like now, I believe it's in the hands of the universe whether or not I have another child. Being pregnant at 39 was perfect for a number of reasons. I was in love with a man I could see was a great dad, and very caring and thoughtful with his son Zach.

I was experiencing a lull in work after being busy on the likes of Off The Rails and Marry Me for years. Suddenly things weren't so busy. I think one of the reasons there's a baby boom is because we're all not running off on holidays and being madly hectic in the recession, and there's more time to spend with a baby.

Recession

I was ready for a baby, recession or not, yet the dip in work meant I had a couple of months off when Harrison arrived.

Being freelance, I was available to work a few months after he was born yet by then I'd had the time to make adjustments. I was used to being a new mum and having a lively baby in my life.

Harrison loves to laugh. He's also into cuddles and hugs and will sit on my knee all day if let him. I expected to be overwhelmed with love and tears seeing him the first time. I'm an emotional person without having given birth to my first child. I said something like, "Lovely to see you" and promptly fell asleep. I was exhausted. It was only later I was wired and couldn't take my eyes off him.

Baby talk is all-consuming, but the great thing is that most of my friends are mums too, so they want to talk babies as much as me.

Honestly, I couldn't have given a toss about baby weight. It's not like I had a modelling career to go back to, and I was having a baby after all. Most days throughout my pregnancy I walked our dogs, two golden retrievers, along the seafront in Clontarf. I also went swimming two to three times a week, and started this a while back because I have a bit of a dodgy back and swimming regularly helps.

A few months after Harrison's birth I was back to myself, and fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes. It's not what I did after the birth which mattered, but what I did before having a baby which got me back in shape. I did nothing diet wise, but I was breastfeeding which I think burns up calories.

I haven't thought about what to do for Harrison's first birthday. Maybe cupcakes for the mammies and jelly for the babies.

I've no idea if late motherhood would suit everyone. I find running after a baby at 40 works for me, as I have considerably more patience than I did when I was in my twenties.

I suppose I've done enough so that I can appreciate what Harrison brings into my life. My life has changed completely in the past year. I think when you're ready you're ready, and Harrison has only brought good changes.

The Pregnancy & Baby Fair will take place in Dublin's RDS on April 14-15, and in Cork's City Hall on April 21-22

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