|George Holz for PEOPLE for use on CBB|
Spending the first trimester of her first pregnancy on location in Botswana wasn’t the only challenge for Jill Scott as she filmed HBO’s No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The award-winning singer and actress tells SheKnows that the subject matter was at times equally tough, for it required her to portray a character — Mma Romatswe — dealing with the death of a child. “As an actor, I had to continuously relive it,” she explains. “That was difficult for me, to lose a child ten or twelve times a day as a pregnant woman…but when you have an opportunity to play a character who is so big, warm and open, the challenges melt away and you just want to do good work, period.”
While Jill told Essence in January that baby-on-the-way is a boy, she played coy with SheKnows. “I know what’s in here…a beautiful baby,” she said. Noting that it is “a great time” in her life, Jill feels that contemplating first-time motherhood at the age of 36 “is big.”
“I’m excited…And now, I can actually sit at home and watch the show. I’m going to take some time off. I don’t know how long. We’ll see how this goes. I pray for a healthy baby, so I guess everything is dependent on that.”
Baby-on-the-way will also be the first for Jill’s fiancé Lil Jon Roberts, and is due April 25th.