Nicole Sullivan on Keeping Pregnancy Under Wraps

10/28/2009 at 05:00 PM ET
Courtesy Life & Style

Although she made a name for herself on MADtv and The King of Queens, Nicole Sullivan says the biggest test of her acting skill came earlier this year when she tried to hide her pregnancy with son Beckett Edward, now 8 weeks, from the cast and crew of Lifetime’s Rita Rocks.

“I got pregnant before the end of last season and was so sick at work,” she explains in a new interview, “and one day I had to come in and lie down for 15 minutes.”

The show sent a doctor to Nicole’s dressing room, where the 39-year-old actress insisted she had the flu. “The doctor said, ‘I should give you a pregnancy test,'” Nicole recalls. “I said, ‘I’m a grown woman! I don’t need to take a pregnancy test.'”

“Three weeks later, once I hit the 12-week mark, I called them and said, ‘Well, I didn’t really have the flu, I’m pregnant.’ They couldn’t have been nicer.”

Their reaction was a welcome change for Nicole, who notes that during her pregnancy with son Dashel Pierce, 2, she was working for a different network. “They said, ‘Oh, we’ll try to make this work,'” Nicole reveals. “When I told Lifetime they screamed with happiness for me.”

They’ve been equally supportive since Beckett’s birth, with baby boy frequently accompanying mom to the set. Nicole — who has been using a nanny — says that she’ll soon hand those reins off to her own mother.

“The little ones,” she says while giving Beckett a squeeze, “they gotta be close to you.”

Marriage and motherhood were both things Nicole says she “always wanted,” but also both things she purposefully put off. “[I] wanted to make sure I’d grown up and got to do and see everything I wanted to see,” she explains. Meeting husband Jason Packham changed all that, however — in a hurry!

“It all happened whirlwind,” Nicole observes. “My husband…we were engaged after a year, married after another year, pregnant three months after we were married and then baby No. 2 came two years after that. It’s been a crazy five years.”

Nicole counts herself lucky that she never struggled to conceive. “I was in my late 30s and I knew I needed to get crackin’ if I wanted to have a couple of kids,” she says. “You can’t take things for granted with this female system.”

“Women can get a little flippant about it, the next thing you know they’re 43, 44 and don’t know why they can’t have kids, and the body is built a different way. It’s not meant to do it at that age, it’s not that easy. So we got on it right away. And it was good.”

Click below to read about Nicole’s efforts to potty train Dashel.

For the immediate time being, Nicole says she’s focused on getting Dashel potty trained. “You can imagine how that is,” she quips. “I have to take [him] to the toilet every 20 minutes.” She adds,

“It’s the plan we’re doing. It seems like an inordinate amount of peeing. Yesterday he peed 14, 15 times. I never peed that much ever.”

Between career demands and family demands, Nicole admits that she “starts to panic” when she stops to “look at the big picture.” That’s why she instead takes things “day-by-day,” and tries not to over-think things.

“I had four weeks off after the baby,” Nicole notes. “And when I was home I thought, ‘OK, I go back to work, how’s it going to work feeding the baby? I’m in every scene, only have a half-hour lunch every day. Well, let’s just show up and see how it works.'”

When the time came, Nicole says that her fears were all for naught.

“The first day I took one little break, did the feeding during lunchtime and we figured it out. We’re two weeks in and it’s been going OK.”


— Missy

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 27 comments

T. on

I absolutely love her kids names

millefleur on

I think her comments about motherhood and age are a little strange.

marfmom on

why strange, millifleur? i mean, it’s true, your fertility goes down after 35 or 40.

Holly on

I am 25 with 2 kids and one coming this May. I had my first at 21 and many older moms snubbed me and continue to do so. However I am so glad I had my babies young and I agree older women in their late 30s have a much harder time concieving and often the babies are born with problems [not always but more then us young mamas] anyhow I agree with her that woman are not meant to have kids so late in life.

Lauren on

I always wondered why we have periods into our 50’s maybe 60’s if the female body shouldn’t bare children once you hit your 40’s.

Anna on

I like how she is realistic about a woman’s fertility. So many people think there is no end but there is. It starts going down rapidly after 35 already!

marfmom on

Lauren, is it normal to have regular periods that long? The women I know started going through menopause earlier. Certainly some women are able to give birth into their late 50s/early 60s but I assumed that most women are unable to/don’t have regular periods then. I have no idea though…good question!

felicity on

To say a woman of a certain age “aren’t meant to have kids so late in life” seems a bit of a sweeping statement. Just as people are different, so are the forces that control reproduction. That a woman of any age conceives at all really should mean the pregnancy was simply “meant to be”- including those in their mid to late 30s and beyond.

Yes, though there are challenges and risks typically associated with older women having children, it can (and is) being done with good results. Again, not downplaying the risks- but truth be told, all pregnancies come with some degree of risk. No matter the age.

kris on

I didn’t think many woman have regular periods in their 50’s and 60’s. The average age of a woman’s last period is 51 (obviously that means there are many above and below). I know woman who have started menopause in their 40’s. My Mother was 39 so obviously I took that into account and did not wait a long time to have children as I was married at 25. Yes, all woman are different. But statistically the chance of getting pregnant naturally declines as a woman gets older. The rate of miscarriages goes up as a woman get older and the chance of birth defects goes up as a woman gets older. It is what it is and woman need to be aware of these facts.

Ashleigh on

Even though fertility may decrease, there’s always adoption.

megan on

“and many older moms snubbed me and continue to do so”

If you’re continually snubbed by multiple people, there must be more to it than just “ugh, she’s a young mom.” 0_0

Liliana on

As long as women know the risks and complications that may accompany them if they choose to become pregnant later on in life, I see no reason why they should feel pressured into having children by a certain time. While it’s important for some to have a biological child, others would be thrilled to welcome a child through adoption.

As someone who became a mother at 17, I’ve never received any negative comments or hurtful glares by older moms. A few times, people have remarked that they thought my eldest son was my brother but I don’t consider that a jab. A good friend of mine happens to be the mother of my son’s friend. I’ve known her for three years now and we thoroughly enjoy getting together. She had her son when she was 40 and now, seven years later, she is 23 years older than me. Our difference in ages has never even been mentioned.

Holly on

Megan I live in a city where lots of moms are older then me and at the park I have had comments like “did you even finish school first” Or were your kids planned, is there father around” Dont imply that I am not a good mom because you know nothing about me. I was just making a comment on snobby older moms who think they are better then young moms.

Megan on

I’m not implying that you’re not a good mom.

Kim on

I understand what Holly is saying. I had my daughter at 17 years old and she is going to be 11 in a few weeks. I have a hard time with the moms of her friends because they are all well into their 40’s and I’m 28 years old. It’s an uncomfortable situation because they do snub you. Not all but some do. My advice is to concentrate on doing your best to raise your kids right and don’t worry about the small stuff. I personally don’t think older women should have kids either because of the risks to themselves and to the babies, but to each his own. I am a big believer in fate and if god wants you to have a baby in your 40’s than so be it.

Deana on

I’m also a young mom and had my first baby at 23 – which is considered young amongst my peer group. It has been difficult and I have felt an older mom/younger mom judgement thing. Even though I have my M.A., own a home, am married and have a job, I often find that older moms have a perception that I can’t possibly have the maturity to be a patient, supportive mother.

Not all older moms are that way though. I think sometimes people project their life choices onto you. If they waited, then anyone else who doesn’t must have rushed into it with no forethought and cannot support their children. I say – to each their own.

traxie on

Re the comments about snubbing, I think some people are a bit tactless and lack empathy, so they can’t imagine why somebody would make a life choice different to theirs. Even within a 30something mom cohort I am sometimes taken aback by how judgemental people can be about their peers’ choices (say, around breastfeeding or discipline). I do try to be accepting but when you think about it, often the only thing you have in common with moms at the park or playgroup is the fact that you both have a uterus!!

Holly on

ITA Traxie.
And to the person who commented it must be something I am doing wrong that is just not true. I am curious to know if you are a mother yourself? If so you should know that moms can be very very judgemental and rude and with me being a young mom that just makes it worse. I was 21 when I had my first and looked younger. I have had many snide comments and a couple outwardly rude and mean things said. Once was during my first birthing class. I was 20 then and my husband was at work the first class so I went on my own. A first time mom who had to be close to 40 said “awwww how sad an unwed teen mom…. I just hope we all dont have to support her and that baby because I dont want to pay for their welfare and food stamps”
Luckily no one in the room laughed or thought it was funny and the lamaze teacher actually stopped and said something about how rude and totally out of line that was. She said she had a baby at 18 so what did that make her.
Anyway those are some of my experiences.

miaow on

Holly- wow. That officially beats every rude mother story I have ever heard. I am amzed with all the pregannacy hormones in that room she didn’t get slapped!

Jessi on

I was 18 when my first daughter passed away couple hours after birth. It was extremely hard during pregnancy.

Then at 18 I suffered an ectopic pregnancy (4 months after Abby’s death).

Then now at 19 I possibly could be pregnant again! Most likely I am.

I really love her on Rita Rocks!

Cheryl on

Fertility declines after 35? Not always. I had baby #3 at 35 AFTER a vasectomy!!! LOL

Lucy on

Holly, maybe you are “snubbed” because of your attitude, not your age. I detect that you are the holier-than-thou type that thinks she is better than everyone. Not all moms in their 30s have babies with problems. It is riskier after 35, we all know that, but for you to stereotype older mothers and lump them into one category is rude and inconsiderate. I hope your kids aren’t like you. Maybe they should be raised to be respectful and nicer.

Holly on

Lucy I am taking it that you are either
A. A old mom like I am talking about.
B. Just wish to be a mom and it hasnt happened.
You have an attitude problem and MANY young moms agree that YES older women do act snobby sometimes! Not all but there have been some!

Angie on

Holly, you sound extremely rude in your comments. Your attitude toward “older mothers” has proven to be juvenile and immature. I don’t agree that people should mock others due to the fact that they are or look young when they have children and I think it is absolute uncalled for, but the lack of respect you are paying others does not help your case. Your last comment about Lucy, honestly, disgusts me. Whether she is older or does not have a child should be none of your concern, she is entitled to her opinion whether you agree with it or not. Please, ladies, it’s hard enough raising children (even though it is a joy) let’s not make it tougher by being callous.

And just for the record: I am not one of your “older” mothers and yes, I do have a child.

Cheryl on


I’ve been BOTH a young mother and an older one. And sorry, no one snubbed me because of my age. I would have to agree with Lucy – it’s your attitude that’s getting you snubbed. YOUR attitude towards “older” mothers stinks. Your comment about we are not MEANT to have kids so late in life just shows how immature you really are. God chose and wanted me to be a mom again at 35 because I conceived him AFTER a vasectomy; so even though I tried to prevent him, God does what he feels is best. I love my son and couldn’t imagine life without him. He is here for a reason and he sure the heck was ABSOLUTELY meant to be. He is 13 months and my other 2 are 10 and 11 yrs. I feel I have more patience now as a “older” mother than I did in my 20’s. I’m glad God chose this for me, because I feel so blessed!

Holly on

Hello did you not read Lucys rude comments to me! “I hope your kids arn’t like you”
Is that not rude? I made a rude comment to her because she made a rude one to me. Sounds immature but I dont care.

Cheryl on

Sorry. Still agree with Lucy. “Hoping that your kids are not like you” is not rude. It just scares us that someone so immature can be raising children. You giving Lucy a rude comment “just because she gave one to you” is totally a childish kind of attiutude. And then you say “you don’t care” if you sound immature? Well, you should because you’re kids are going to be learning that behavior from you! And you should VERY MUCH care about what you are teaching your children.