The actress and presenter sat down with Mother&Baby to talk exclusively about how her pregnancy’s going and how she’s planning to tackle life as a single mum with an on-the-go career to factor in
Expecting her first child with former fiancé Daniel Riley, Claire Sweeney is having ‘a great pregnancy’. And despite no longer being romantically involved with Daniel, the former Loose Women panelist is upbeat about his involvement. ‘He was thrilled [with the pregnancy news] and he still is,’ says Claire. ‘He’s going to be very hands on.’
Claire’s been making the most of her pregnancy – including splurging on Seraphine and Tiffany Rose maternity pieces and celebrating her impending motherhood with a baby shower akin to a hen do few weeks ago at Liverpool’s Hilton Hotel. We’re talking a Robbie Williams tribute act and table-top dancing from the guests. ‘I wanted sparkle and feathers everywhere,’ Claire laughed.
But the former Brookside actress hasn’t let her cravings get the better of her. Although she’s currently obsessed with avocados, her earlier pregnancy cravings weren’t quite as healthy. ‘In the first trimester it was Cadbury chocolate,’ Claire recalls. ‘I couldn’t get enough, but that eased off, I tried to wean myself of that one because I thought I was going to get huge otherwise!’
The big gender reveal
Claire’s thrilled to be expecting a boy – but candidly admits it wasn’t what she was hoping for. ‘I always thought I wanted a girl because I had such a good relationship with my mum,’ she reveals. ‘When I found out I was having a little boy I got used to it and now I’m really enjoying buying little boys clothes.’
‘I did decide [on a name] but as the pregnancy’s developed I’ve decided to wait and see'
Like many mums-to-be, Claire admits she’s struggling to decide on a name for her son before he arrives, via a planned C-section, next month.
While she did have the name Gabriel in mind for her ‘miracle’ baby, she is now waiting to decide on what to call him until he’s born. ‘I did decide [on a name] in the early stages but as the pregnancy’s developed I’ve decided to wait and see,’ Claire says.
After two miscarriages, it’s no surprise that Claire was originally nervous about her current pregnancy – and how it would progress. ‘I was [protective of the baby] in the first three months, but when I feel him moving now I know he’s OK,’ she says. ‘I still wait every morning for that first movement.’
But despite having her first child at the age of 43, Claire insists that being an older mum doesn’t worry her.
‘I’m so young at heart and in my ways, and it’s about peace of mind,’ says Claire. ‘It suited me to have done everything I wanted to do, travel, all the dream jobs I wanted to do, party and then have my baby, instead of the other way round. I feel blessed that I’ve been given the chance at this stage in my life to have a baby.’
A new business venture
Claire’s making sure her body stays in great shape by keeping up her fitness levels – a passion that motivated her involvement in a new business endeavor, an online antenatal wellbeing and fitness platform called Results With Bump.
‘It’s not just about exercise, it’s about stretching, it’s about making yourself more comfortable when you’re pregnant,’ says Claire. ‘We also give tips on nutrition, what you should and shouldn’t eat. And I’ve even given my maternity clothes tips.’
Looking to the future
As much as she can’t wait to hold her son for the first time, Claire thinks she’ll miss her bump.
‘I’m sitting here now feeling him and he’s wriggling around and I love my bump,’ she says. ‘Women have said to me, “You’re going to miss your bump” and I now know exactly what they mean. I wouldn’t have got that before and I suddenly feel as if I’m part of a club I didn’t know existed.’
'My life has never been a routine and never will be'
While Claire’s been able to continue her various work commitments while pregnant, she knows that it will be difficult once her son is born – which is why she’s planning to enlist the help of a nanny. In fact, the baby will have to fit into Claire’s lifestyle quickly, as she’s returning to work almost immediately – to rehearse for a Christmas pantomime.
‘I’m lucky you see I’m not in a 9-5 job. I will be free all day I will literally be on stage for a few hours in the evening and for that time I just need someone to hold my baby, a nanny. I just need someone to help me along but I am going to be really hands on.
‘My instincts are telling me to go with my instincts when the baby is born,’ Claire says. ‘There are so many conflicting things and they keep talking about routine, but my life has never been a routine and never will be and I want him to fit in with my life.’
Results with Bump launches today.