We're very excited to hear the lovely news that comedian Sophie McCartney, better known as @tiredandtested - author and mum of two is pregnant with her third child. Having been through two miscarriages, Sophie didn't announce her pregnancy publicly until she was at 20 weeks via a musical parody of Tragedy on her Instagram. So, we couldn't wait to catch up with her and find out how she's getting on with her bump...
How are you feeling about your upcoming new arrival?
I've only just got back to eating food again which is right now the highlight of my life, I’m like “Oh, my gosh food!”. I've popped now so I look very pregnant but up until that point, it’s not felt real. I think because I've had the miscarriages, I didn't allow myself to feel all that much. I found out really early that I was pregnant, at about four weeks, because I had this strange smell in my nose. I kept saying to Steve, my husband, “can you smell petrol in the house?” And he's like, “No”, and I kept making him go and check boilers and look in the cellar and things. I could just constantly smell something. And then I was like, Oh, maybe I’m pregnant. I did the test and yeah, I was! But then I had to wait, and until I had the 12 week scan I didn't allow myself to feel too much. I’d say after the 12 week scan I was like, Okay, well, I know there's something in there. Then I wanted to get to 20 weeks because I was so worried about what might happen. So now I've had my 20 week scan. And I sat there with my husband that night and I was like, oh my god, sh*t just got real. It's actually happening!
It's funny actually, even though I've had two kids before, there’s this immediate realisation of knowing that you're pregnant and then all the googling that you do! I'm like, oh, my god, what kind of fruit is it? I don't know why it's always fruit. And fruit you've never heard or like an heirloom tomato. I’d tell Steve and he's like, “well how big is that” and I go “I don’t know I’ve no idea what it is, we only get cherry tomatoes!”
So it's only really been the past couple of weeks that I’ve accepted that we’re having another child, even though I feel like I've been pregnant for an absolute bloomin eternity already. It's only just hit home now that there's going to be another little person who's going to be coming along in September and it's a little bit terrifying. A little bit daunting. Especially as Steve and I will be outnumbered!
How did your previous experiences with your miscarriages affect this pregnancy for you?
I’ve been really anxious about this pregnancy right from the get go. I've been hyper aware of everything. I also had some prenatal testing, I opted to pay for harmony tests, because I was just so anxious.
At about eight weeks I went to The Birth Company, it was a great clinic actually, and I just paid for it myself to go and get a reassurance scan. I think I possibly could have gone to my local hospital and had one but I found it quite triggering because where you have to go for the early pregnancy scans was the same unit that I'd had the miscarriages in, so I had that mental association. I thought I can't go, what if they tell me the same thing again? So I paid, I think it was about £100 to get it done privately, just to be somewhere completely different.
Seeing that little flicker of a heartbeat got me from one stage to the next. Then when I was about 10 weeks I had harmony tests done and to be honest I don't know what I would have done with those results if they had shown something was wrong but fortunately everything came back as very low chance for everything. I just wanted the information, what I might be dealing with and if I was likely to miscarry again, you know. But even after that, I still was just like 12 week scan, 12 week scan, 12 weeks scan. That's all my head was focused on.
Even now, every time I go to the toilet, I'm expecting to see something, it's just ingrained within me. I had a miscarriage before I had my daughter and her pregnancy was the same as well, I couldn't ease into it. If you’ve had that type of experience, it just it's there, it's ingrained within you. But I feel more reassured now. I'm past the 20 week hurdle.
How has this pregnancy been so far?
A lot of morning sickness. And even when I had my head down the toilet, my husband's there rubbing my back saying “you said that you weren't going to be happy until you were sick”. Because in my head I was like, well if I'm sick that means I've got loads of hormones and that's a good thing, but then when I was there living the reality of morning sickness I was like “I regret my life choices!” as I’m puking my guts up. It lasted so long as well but I finally seem to be past it.
With Jack, my little boy, I was 13 weeks when I started being sick with him. I sailed through my first 12 weeks without any problems, to the point where I was convinced I wasn't even pregnant. I had no symptoms, and then my sickness hit and I was sick with him until about 27 weeks, but it started late so I'd kind of skipped ahead. Then with Evelyn I was sick right from the get go until about 18 weeks, so this one is quite similar to hers. I just couldn't eat, and when I could eat I’d get really bad reflux as well. So even on the times when I wasn't nauseous, anything that I ate still just came back anyway.
Funnily enough, I actually had COVID just before my 20 weeks. I mean my son had it, my daughter had it, and she’s there coughing directly into my eyeball so I knew it was unavoidable. I was okay, just very snotty, very headachy, coughing a little bit, but so congested, which is a pregnancy thing as well. But funnily enough after I'd had COVID I haven't had any morning sickness since!
Has this pregnancy differed to your previous pregnancies?
I think I've probably been more tired this time around. But then I'm older now, I'm a geriatric mother (I’m 38), which makes me really upset! When I was booking in my first appointment with the midwife, I was like, “am I old? Am I too old for this baby?” And she was like, “No, I hate that term.” Officially, it's anybody over 35 and it makes you feel ancient.
When I had Jack, I was only 28, so there’s quite a gap, there's like going to be 10 years between my first and last pregnancy. So I'm definitely feeling it more than with him. And I've got the other two as well, I'm doing the school run, I'm writing until stupid o'clock – there's a lot more going on than there was when I was pregnant first time around. I’m loving my nanna naps, I definitely need a lovely little nanna nap like halfway through the day.
Is there anything you’re planning on doing differently this time around?
I make myself laugh because I've always said to myself, if I ever have another baby, I'm going to be so sensible. I'm going to eat all of my leafy greens. I'm going to be super healthy and on top of my game because I know that's going to help me after the baby's born. No, I've lived a life of beige food.
Exercise as well, I was like, yeah, I'm gonna do pregnancy safe hiit workouts all the time…I've done about two spin classes and threw up through both.
Birth wise, I’m having a planned c-section this time. So that will be very different. Both of my other two were emergency caesarean. Jack because he was 10 pound 10 when he was born, so he was just bloody massive, he was just never coming out of me! And then with Evelyn, I tried for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Caesarean) and to do it naturally, but that failed, and she ended up as another emergency c-section. So it's quite strange this time around, because although they haven't given me the date yet, I'll know when this one's coming. I've never had that before. I'll have their birthday before they're born, which is strange. I can be very organised and plan for it, she says!
Have you had any strange cravings?
Ice cream is my thing, I'm currently into pastry and ice cream. Deliveroo is the worst thing to have ever happened to pregnant women in the history of mankind – when I was pregnant with Jack and even Evelyn to some extent because she's now six, it wasn't a thing, you couldn't have food just sent to your house. I think I was about eight weeks and I was Deliverooing myself tubs of Pringles and Calippos. And I've recently discovered I can get McDonald's delivered where we live. I'm just like, oh, my gosh, I need to rein it in! But yeah I’ve got a taste for pastries, I've already had like two pastries for my breakfast this morning.
Are Jack and Evelyn excited about having a younger brother or sister - how did they react when you told them?
So I've got one that's really happy that I'm pregnant, Jack has always wanted another sibling. And then I've got Evelyn, who is furious. Honestly she’s livid, absolutely livid. Actually we filmed their reaction, we thought it would be something cute to show them when they’re older, but we had to delete the video because her reaction was so traumatized, it wouldn’t even be funny. She wouldn't speak to any of us for about 45 minutes, she cried. She was so upset, she wants to be the little one forever. So we've had quite a few battles with that, trying to bring her around and try and make her excited and get her involved. Actually I think for her knowing when the baby's coming is also helpful for getting her head around it because bless her she's really struggled with it.
You recently released your book Tired and Tested: The Wild Ride into Parenthood – how does it feel that you’re preparing for another round yourself?
Oh god, people have been screenshotting bits of it and sending them to me, particularly this bit about babynesia – how just after you've had a baby you are adamant that you are never gonna go there again, and then you forget and get pregnant. I remember, after I had Evelyn, I sat on the toilet crying in our bathroom, just promising myself that I wouldn't ever do it again. And then like a year later I'd already started going to Steve, “aw have you seen that baby” then thinking to myself what are you doing? We get tricked into it, you know it’s just this like basic instinct inside of us wanting to procreate and keep the human race going! So yeah, I was talking about having babynesia and apparently I don't listen to my own advice, in any shape or form. But I found out I was pregnant about a week before the book launched. And I was like, oh my gosh, and I had to do all the book launch, all the signings, while trying not to be sick on people so it was pretty full on!
You’re also currently writing a second book – what can you tell us about that?
Yeah, so this is completely different, it’s fictional and honestly, the plot keeps changing as I write it! It's essentially about a group of mums who are friends. It’s not necessarily about parenting as such, it's actually about removing mums from their day to day life and putting them into a situation where they wouldn't normally be. It's about finding their identities or I suppose rediscovering the identities that they had before kids. They end up in Ibiza on a hen party, some things go a little bit wrong, it might be a little bit murdery in places as well. So it's very removed from what I've done before. I’ve got a deadline at the end of the month for the first draft so I’m constantly typing away at the moment and I’ve got until the end of August to do all the editing, and then baby is due in the middle of September, so I’ve probably got about 10 days maternity leave.
What's the most important lesson you've learned as a parent?
Listen to your gut instinct, I'm a big believer in gut instinct, and doing what you feel is right for your kids, your body. There's a lot of noise from other people that can really bog you down. I find this now that I'm pregnant as well, people love to give you advice. Like when I was sick they’d be like have you tried this, have you done that – travel bands? yep, ginger? yep, it just makes my sick a bit spicy.
What I've learned with my kids is that they are both completely different individuals, they may have come from the same place, they may have both been brought up in exactly the same way. But how I parent both of my children is completely different, because they are different people. There isn’t a one rule fits all when it comes to parenting – you know your kids best and what works best for them. And just because Janet does things a certain way it doesn't mean that it's going to work for you and your child, ignore that guilt that comes with feeling like you haven't done the same as somebody else. We feel guilty for everything in parenthood, you don't need any extra guilt about anything – just do you and don't concentrate on what other people are doing.
Do you have any tips or hacks for pregnancy?
1-Eat beige food.
2-Don’t do spin classes when you have morning sickness.
3-This is a good one for dog owners – keep dog poo bags in your pocket. They’re great for when you just need to have a cheeky little spew when you're out and about.
4-Get a good pair of leggings. I’m now into my maternity leggings and I forgot how much I love them. They come all the way up to your boobs and they’re great eating pants as well. You can keep them for after baby for when you’re really bloated!