|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.”