'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.
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