Actress and TV Presenter Denise Van Outen talks about life and babies
Did you always plan to be a mum?
I always wanted to be a mum, but I had a moment when I thought ‘this isn’t going to happen’, because I was on my own and hadn’t met my husband (Lee Mead, the winner of BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do).
How was the birth?
It was amazing, even though I had a caesarean. It was really calm and the staff were fantastic.I think I was quite lucky, too – I expected my recovery to take a long time, but four hours later I was moving around, which is quite unusual.
What’s your favourite thing about being a mum?
Just having this constant little buddy that you absolutely love more than anything, and they adore you. In the mornings, I can have the worst breath and she’ll still smile at me and think I’m amazing, whereas Lee will go, ‘Eurgh, go away!’
What have you had to give up since becoming a mum?
Some of my freedom. And a lot of clothes: some because I can’t fit back in them, and some aren’t appropriate now I’m a mum
What does Lee do better than you?
Putting Betsy to sleep. I don’t know why, but now she’s a little bit older, she’ll fall asleep in his arms in an instant. She tests me more.
Which baby product could you not live without?
Sudocrem. It’s brilliant for babies’ bottoms but it’s also really good at getting rid of spots.
Why did you choose the name Betsy?
When I was living in LA I watched a lot of old films and I’d quite often see the name in the credits and think ‘that looks nice’. And it works really well with Lee’s surname
What’s her favourite snack?
She likes raisins and little chunks of cheese
If you could invent something for new mums what would it be?
A pill you could take that removes the guilt. Because you feel guilty about everything! Guilty if you’re on the phone and not spending time with your child, guilty if you go back to work…
I’d want someone I knew I could trust and who’d give my child lots of attention and cuddles. I’d like Denise Robertson, the agony aunt from This Morning. The baby would be well looked after and cuddled.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
The Only Way Is Essex. Isn’t it everyone’s? Even though I narrate it, I absolutely love it, and sometimes watch each episode twice, just in case I miss something.
Would you like more children?
We would but we’re not in a rush at the moment, so we’ll have to wait and see. Betsy’s only one, and friends have said that it’s when they get to toddler stage you begin to crave another baby.
What would you do differently next time?
It’s hard because each baby is different, so it would depend on the child’s temperament. There’s not much I would change, though. I probably would get out of the house a lot sooner: I think, like all new mums, I was a bit nervous when Betsy was newborn.
Denise was chatting to Victoria Brierley