With the world press maintaing a constant vigil outside St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, the final countdown to the arrival of Kate Middleton and Prince William's baby has officially begun. This week, the Duchess is due to give birth to her first child — and already the nation is caught up with royal baby fever.
Someone who understands the emotions Kate will be experiencing as she prepares to welcome her first baby is Cherry Healey.
The TV presenter won critical acclaim with her firsthand account of pregnancy for a TV documentary while expecting her daughter Coco, born in September 2009. And last month she happily announced that she is pregnant with her second child.
HELLO! Online sits down to talk with the down-to-earth star about the royal baby, breast feeding and pregnancy style.
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Hi Cherry, Congratulations on your second pregnancy! With the Duchess of Cambridge looking so glamorous in the late stages of her pregnancy, do you think expectant mothers are put under a lot of pressure to look fashionable?
Yes absolutely 100%. But I don't think it's entirely because of celebrities in the news, it's often to do with our peers. For me, it's because I adore fashion and style and don't feel that being pregnant should change that. I'm pregnant, not ill!
It is certainly a massive fashion challenge - there is definitely a gap in the market for stylish, edgy maternity clothes. But of course, there are days (like today!) when I am just pottering about in spandex leggings and a baggy jumper - bliss. In terms of weight and body, I think the better you look after yourself, the more you'll enjoy your pregnancy - it gets flipping heavy at the end and having a strong back is vital.
Of course it's all about moderation and knowing yourself - if you don't care then brill, but if you do mind (and I do) about your body then there is no benefit to you, or your baby, of eating donuts for nine months (oh how I wish this were the case!). One of the biggest myths (and this is painful to write) is that you can eat for two. You can, of course, but you will just have to lose it all after the birth anyway - sadly there is no magical pregnancy fairy who just whisks it off. You are eating for two in terms of responsibility - so less salt, more greens, lots of water and general, healthy goodness - but, in reality, you don't need a huge amount more calories. It made me weep when I realised this! For me, the golden rules are little and often, and also being healthy 80% and indulging in dirty goodness (burgers and chips mmmmmm) 20% of the time.
What do you think of Kate's pregnancy style?
I think it suits her perfectly - it's neat, elegant and extremely flattering for her frame. It's also very international! I think it will appeal to a wide audience and, importantly, isn't intimidating as she is meeting a huge range of ages - a death metal t-shirt isn't going to go down well with the school children of Torquay! I think it's tricky for her as she knows each and every single item she wears is going to be scrutinised, so it's much easier and safer if she finds a classic style and sticks to it. But I do wonder if she is secretly burning to wear a neon bandage number on one of her outings!
Who do you think is the most glamorous pregnant celebrity?
Ooooh, I loved Nicole Ritchie's style when she was pregnant - cool, chic and comfortable.
Do you think women find themselves comparing the size of their bumps with women like the Duchess of Cambridge, Kim Kardashian and Fergie? Have you found yourself comparing your belly to theirs?
Yes. Oh I am so ashamed to say that I have. I wish I didn't care but I have definitely found myself googling 'pregnant celebrities!’ I judge myself.
Do you feel more confident about breastfeeding the second time around?
Yes absolutely - I feel so much better informed this time around - I know about timings, positions, expressing (something that isn't talked about enough - and was a life-saver for me) and I have the number of an amazing breastfeeding counsellor on speed dial - I didn't even know they existed!
Philips AVENT recently found that 60 per cent of new mums have endured 'a negative experience' breastfeeding their baby in public. What is your experience with this?
Sadly I never made it out of the house whilst breastfeeding so my experience gained is from talking to other mums! In 2010 I made a documentary about breastfeeding where I spent time with a young mum called Emma who had braved feeding in public and, after a dozen furrowed brows, had retreated back inside.
Unfortunately I found that Emma's story was extremely common. Like many new mums, she didn't feel confident enough to speak out and that's why the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards are so important. Being a new mum can be such a scary and daunting experience so it's unlikely you're going to pick a fight with the establishment. But these awards are so fantastic because they are celebrating the positive stories - they are, hopefully, going to encourage other businesses to follow suit and take steps to actively welcome breastfeeding mothers.
You worked with Philips AVENT to launch the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards. Why do you think these awards are so important?
Because I think we really need to address why so many breastfeeding mothers don't feel welcome in public spaces. There is nothing wrong or unpleasant about breastfeeding - it's gorgeous, it's natural, it's great for the mum and baby. But sadly it doesn't come that naturally for many mothers (I found it incredibly hard) and the last thing a new mum needs is the sense that people are judging her.
Becoming a new mum can be quite isolating as suddenly you're at the beck and call of this little thing - and because they need feeding every three hours (this came as quite a shock to me), if you're not welcome in cafes and restaurants then you are essentially under house arrest. This isn't good enough and our society needs to change, not Mother Nature. She definitely trumps our strange perception of boobies.
What were the biggest challenges you faced during and after your first pregnancy?
When I found out I was pregnant I had a small meltdown. I really struggled to accept that my life was about to change so dramatically and loved my career/party-focused life. I love spontaneity and going out for unexpected nights in London and thought this wasn't compatible with being a mum.
I'd only ever heard negative things about being a parent - the expense, the lack of free time and the lack of sleep. It all sounded pretty miserable. I was also terrified that it meant the end of my career that I'd worked so hard for but thankfully, being a freelancer means that I have been able to juggle being a mum and working in television - there have been some sacrifices and sometimes it's such a pull either saying no to a project or missing out on time with Coco, but it's definitely worth all the logistical gymnastics! I wish I could go back and tell myself to relax. It is horribly cheesy but the love you get back is worth every inconvenience three times over, and I'm so happy that I'm a mum. Plus, thanks to grandparents and childcare, I do get the odd unexpected night out!
How do you combine work and motherhood? Do you ever bring Coco on set with you?
If things are particularly crazy then I bring Coco with me filming so that I can spend the travelling time with her and also the evening. But generally I find that she's happier at home - she goes to nursery and we have an amazing nanny and grandparents who are fantastic with her. I'm conscious of not dragging her across the country because I'm the one suffering! But my job means that when I am away the days are extremely long, but that is off-set by having whole days with her in the middle of the week - bliss! So I feel the balance between work and home is pretty even most of the time. I think to look at my Twitter/Instagram you might not think I spend any time with her at all but I'm so busy when I'm on mum-duty that I just can't tweet etc! She hates me using my phone (and rightly so) so it's usually either left at home or at the bottom of my bag and won't be picked up again until after bedtime.
Finally, what is next for you Cherry?
I'm looking forward to the next few projects going out in July and August. One is about food and science (Britain's Supermarket Foods for BBC1) and the other is a programme looking at first time buying and renting in the UK (for BBC3), which I hope will be really useful viewing to anyone finding the housing market quite frustrating!
Campaign information: Cherry Healey is working with Philips AVENT to launch the Philips AVENT Breast Place Awards, celebrating the people and places that make it easier for mums to breastfeed and express milk. To register your vote click here
It's a little princess!