Actress Natalie Cassidy, 28, is a mum to Eliza, 1&1/2 and supports the National Literacy Trust’s Words for Life campaign
Prima Baby: How did you find the early days of motherhood?
Natalie Cassidy: Like every mum, it was a shock to the system at first. Eliza had terrible sickness as a baby – she was sick about every 90 seconds for the first few weeks, which was hard. I found online mum chatrooms so helpful during that time – you can log on at 4am with a baby who’s still crying and chat to other mums in a similar position. It helps to know you’re not the only one.
PB: How do you juggle work with family?
NC: Eliza goes to nursery twice a week, so I try to fit work projects in around those times. It’s getting more difficult, though – I’m much busier after Celebrity Big Brother (Natalie was in the ninth series). Eliza’s dad (Adam Cottrell) looks after her a lot too, and my family pitches in. I’m very lucky to have that support – childcare is a major topic of discussion with my mum friends. It’s a thorny subject – of course you want the people looking after your child to be well paid, but the cost of childcare makes going back to work financially difficult for so many women.
PB: Why did you get involved in the Words for Life campaign?
NC: I only do things I’m passionate about – and this is one of them. Literacy isn’t just about reading – it’s also about communication, such as speech and writing – being able to make yourself heard! Apparently 80% of the brain develops by the age of 3 – it’s such a short window of opportunity, we have to make the most of it.
PB: What does Eliza like to read?
NC: Her current favourite is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. She pretends she’s a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. We’re regulars at our library – that’s the thing about encouraging a love of books, it doesn’t have to cost you anything. She’s a proper little performer – she loves doing her ‘surprised face’ (cue a big gasp). It’s very funny to watch.
PB: So another actress in the family?
NC: In a way, I hope not. I’d like her to have a normal job! We’re not a theatrical family, but my grandad was a bookie; a proper chit-chat man and a real entertainer – I think Eliza and I must take after him!
The Words for Life campaign and website helps parents support their children’s language and literacy from birth to 11, with developmental milestones, tips and fun activities. For more info visit wordsforlife.org.uk.