Atomic Kitten star Natasha is mum to baby daughter, Ella Rose, with partner Ritchie Neville of 5ive. Sons Josh, 12, Harry, 10, and Alfie, four, complete her ‘beautiful family’ and ‘life is busy’ as she explains here
My daughter Ella Rose is six-and-a-half months old now. She's trying to talk and wants to grab at everything that comes remotely close to her. I think she'll love singing as she tries to copy me when I sing to her and she smiles from ear to ear when I do.
“I had really bad anxiety and panic attacks from four weeks pregnant”
I knew straight away I was having a girl as my pregnancy was so different. My three boys were all fairly similar: I had minimal sickness and a general feeling of being chilled out and relaxed. But with Ella I was an emotional wreck. I had really bad anxiety and panic attacks from four weeks pregnant. It was quite a shock to the system as I’d never experienced that before. I was also having the worst sickness until around 18 weeks.
“I feel really lucky to have four beautiful, healthy children and see my body as my life's story”
I'm not perfect but I'm far more comfortable in my own skin than with my first pregnancy at 20. After my first son Josh was born by C-section, I had to be back in work six weeks later and had no time to get back in shape. I was very conscious about my body as I was constantly with Liz (McClarnon) and Kerry (Katona) in Atomic Kitten who to me seemed so fresh faced, slim and confident. I felt out of shape and really tired all the time. Looking back, it was far too soon for me to throw myself into touring the world, but I was young and following the requests of management and record label. Now I'm older and wiser, I feel really lucky to have four beautiful, healthy children and see my body as my life's story.
I eat quite healthily most of the time. While pregnant with Ella I kept craving cheese but after eating it I always felt really sick so it was a double-edged sword! I took Pregnacare vitamins throughout and drank Water Baby, a drink for pregnant women.
I initially breast-fed Ella so that was a great start to fire up my body to burn extra calories. Then after my six-week post-natal check-up I started doing light exercise using Gymcube.com. It was great to use the site as I didn't really want to be struggling in a class full of fit people. Also I could be really flexible as Ella was feeding all the time. I started doing three 20-minute classes a week then built it up as I became stronger. I combined that with a Paleo diet. My goal was to drop a dress size by Christmas which I did and more, but losing weight gradually and eating a balanced diet has helped me maintain a trim figure.
My children are all very different. Josh is 12 and becoming a teenager fast! He's taller than me already, but we call him 'gentle giant' as he's quite sensitive and really loving. He loves anything to do with history and cadets. Harry is full of beans. I've never known a child to have so much energy. He's really dedicated to football and has lashings of confidence. Alfie is quite shy and very introvert. He’s been chosen to train in a Great British Gymnastic Olympic team, and he loves it. Ella is already very loud, probably because she’s having to fight for air time with her three big brothers!
“With four children, life gets really manic at times”
It’s absolutely amazing to have a daughter after thinking for so long it'd never happen. She's just the icing on the cake for my beautiful family. I still pinch myself. With four children, life gets really manic at times so I have to be really organised. If I don't plan ahead, I don't have any ‘me time’, which I feel is quite important.
Life is a constant juggling act. Sometimes I feel like I have no idea what's going on and feel totally drained trying to keep up with all the different after-school activities, homework, housework and so on. I have a big planner on the wall and try my best to write everything down that needs doing. Rich and I synchronise diaries so we know when we need to call on family to look after the children. My mum has been an amazing help over the years.
Right now, the thought of another child makes me break out in a cold sweat! I'm more than happy with my family. I think once I've learnt how to grow an extra pair of arms and another brain, there could be a possibility of another baby!
Natasha is supporting GymCube, the number one for personalised health and fitness programmes online.