Corrie star Kate Ford discusses motherhood

New mum and actress Kate Ford aka Tracy Barlow talks to Prima Baby about pregnancy birth and live after Coronation Street.

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Kate and her 6 month old baby were on the front cover of February’s Prima Baby. On the day of the photo-shoot she arrived with her son Otis ready for a good chin wag with our Deputy Editor, Claire Roberts, to talk about life as a new mum.

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Claire: Do actresses experience the same new-mummy ups and downs as other women?
Kate: Definitely! It’s only recently I’ve started feeling like ‘Kate’ again, rather than ‘Otis’s mum’. Now I’m ‘Kate who’s also Otis’s mum’. It’s a step in the right direction!

Claire: So you’ve found the early days of motherhood a challenge?
Kate: All of a sudden, you are not the most important person in the world. And although you’ve had nine months to get used to the idea, it’s still a real shock. Actors and actresses are very indulged, (she adds with a wink) so it’s a massive life change. Your time is not your own. And when it is, it’s spent re-heating cups of coffee in the microwave.

Claire: Is it right that you were already pregnant when you married your partner Jon Connery?
Kate: Yes six weeks! We‘d planned to wait a year before starting a family, but Otis had other ideas! I found out I was pregnant a week before the wedding. I’d been having stomach pains and had an inkling I should do a test. I couldn’t believe it when it was positive. My first thought was that I wouldn’t be able to drink champagne at the wedding – or on the honeymoon! But although it was a complete surprise, it was a very happy one, despite the fact I was really ill right up to week 17. All I could stomach was salt and vinegar crisps, white bread and Dairylea triangles – I also craved limes and sucked all the juice out of them!

Claire: So after the happy surprise, did everything runs smoothly?    
Kate: Otis was two weeks late, and was such a big baby he needed a little help coming into the world. I’d been in labour 24 hours and wasn’t dealing with the pain very well.  I had an epidural but didn’t like the way it made me lose the feeling in my legs, so I kept telling the anaesthetists to let it wear off, only for the pain to kick in again, at which point I’d want more! In the end, doctors used forceps, but Otis only had a tiny mark on his head. Despite the pain, the birth was one of the best experiences of my life.

Claire: How have you found feeding Otis?
Kate: I tried breast-feeding but because Otis was such a big baby I was anxious that he wasn’t getting enough milk and my boobs were really sore. It just didn’t work for me, and I feel completely comfortable with the decision I made. Women are under a lot of pressure to breastfeed, and can feel such a failure if, for whatever reason, they can’t, or choose not to. You’re not a second-rate mum if you bottle-feed. Bottle-feeding also meant Jon could share in feeding time – it was a brilliant bonding experience for him.

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Claire: Will you be going back to work on Coronation Street?
Kate: I’m in no rush to get back in the studio. ‘I’m hoping to work later on this year, but have nothing planned as yet. I’m still in touch with Corrie mates Tina O’Brien (Sarah Louise Platt) and Julia Howarth (Claire Peacock) and we have great catch-ups on the phone. There was a great team atmosphere on Corrie.

Claire:
There are a lot of demands from the media for celebrities to loose their baby weight. Do you feel pressured?
Kate:  I put on 3 ½ stone during my pregnancy and ate far too much sugar in the first few months after Otis was born.  I’ve cut back a bit recently – I haven’t wanted it as much. There are bits about my post-baby body I’m not so keen on but I look at Otis and it’s all worth it. I just love him so much. It’s like being with your best friend all day, every day.

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