Six former Bachelorettes — DeAnna Stagliano (season 4), Jillian Harris (season 5), Ali Fedotowsky-Manno (season 6), Ashley Rosenbaum (season 7), Emily Maynard (season 8) and Desiree Siegfried (season 9) — open up about motherhood in an exclusive interview with PEOPLE
Life after Bachelorette! Six former Bachelorettes are opening up about finding love – and raising new babies! Subscribe now for all about how they found their happily ever after – only in PEOPLE!
2016 was very special for six former Bachelorette stars, who each welcomed a little bundle of joy last year.
Since handing out their final roses on their respective seasons of the reality series, the ABC leading ladies have said goodbye to singlehood and hello to full-on mommy mindset.
In an exclusive sit-down with PEOPLE, DeAnna Stagliano (season 4), Jillian Harris (season 5), Ali Fedotowsky-Manno (season 6), Ashley Rosenbaum (season 7), Emily Maynard (season 8) and Desiree Siegfried (season 9) open up about embracing motherhood, juggling their careers and giving up their party-girl ways since each welcoming babies in 2016.
“After having Leo, I went right back to work, and it didn’t take me long to realize I was taking on too much. Something had to give,” says 37-year-old Kelowna-based interior designer Harris in the current issue of PEOPLE — she shares son Leo (born Aug. 5, 2016) with fiancé Justin Pasutto, 29.
Since giving birth, Harris, who hosts HGTV’s Love It or List It Too, admits to having scaled back by delegating more and hiring another employee, and adds, “Waking up at 6 a.m. to play ‘Old MacDonald’ and dance with my son is more fun than anything else in the world.”
Last year, Rosenbaum, 32, became a mom for the second time with her husband J.P. — whom she met on the show in 2011 — when she welcomed their daughter Essie (born Nov. 4, 2016). “It’s empowering knowing I can handle as much as I do,” says Rosenbaum, who is also mom to 2-year-old son, Fordham. “My son is all about sports,” reveals Rosenbaum. “When Essie was born, I was like, ‘How soon can I put her in ballet?’ I can’t wait!”
Reflecting on her younger, single years, Rosenbaum says in a PEOPLE exclusive PEN video alongside her fellow Bachelorettes, “I think it’s funny that we used to stay out late, like we used to go to the reunions and party. And now we like all walk in with like bags under our eyes. We’re like baby-wearing, stroller-pushing.”
“Last night, we were texting like, ‘Who wants to get together for a drink?’ and everyone’s like, ‘Sure, if it’s at 5 p.m. because my baby’s in bed at 6 p.m.,’ ” adds Fedotowsky-Manno with a laugh about the group’s similar lifestyles. “This morning, we were on a group text on the way here and I’m like, ‘Who’s got extra diapers?’ It’s so different than it would have been maybe two years ago. We would have been like, ‘Who’s got the booze?’ and maybe we’re like, ‘Who’s got the diapers and the booze?!’ “
Last summer, the L.A.-based blogger and her husband Kevin Manno welcomed little Molly into the world on July 6, 2016.
Though the new mom is supportive of whatever her daughter might want to be when she grows up, including following in her mother’s reality TV footsteps, she is keeping a close watch on little Molly’s adorably mischievous side.
“There was one day that Molly would not stop pooping in the bathtub — over and over,” says the newly married mama. “As a parent, you talk about poop more than you ever could have imagined!”
RELATED VIDEO: Ali Fedotowsky Admits She Will ‘Definitely Support’ Baby Molly If She Wants To Be The Bachelorette!
- For more from the Bachelorettes on motherhood, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Like Rosenbaum, Maynard Johnson, 31, also expanded her brood last year when she welcomed her third child, son Gibson (born Sept. 16, 2016), 14 months after giving birth to her second child — son Jennings, 21 months — with husband Tyler Johnson, 31.
“I’ve reached a new form of exhaustion,” admits Maynard Johnson, who is also mother to her 11-year-old daughter, Ricki. “Once you go past two kids, it almost doesn’t make a difference,” she says.
Similarly, Stagliano (née Pappas), who is married to sports-events coordinator husband Stephen, 33, was able to experience motherhood for the second child when she gave birth to son Austin on March 1, 2016.
“Sleep deprivation is no joke. I felt like a crazy person,” reveals Stagliano, 35, who is also mom to daughter Addison, 3. “It took a toll on our marriage, on me, on our family … it is a form of torture!”
Despite being admittedly weary from having two children under the age of 4, she wouldn’t trade motherhood for the world. “The way Austin looks at me, it’s like he knows I’m it. I’m the woman in his life. When he gets married, I will cry!”
- Watch People Features: Bachelorette Baby Boom, available now on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the PEN app on your favorite device.
Prior to welcoming her now 6-month-old son Asher on Oct. 19, 2016, Siegfried (née Hartsock), 30, admits that she “had never even held a newborn!”
Quickly, though, the new mom and her husband Chris — whom she met, fell in love with and got engaged to on the series in 2013 — adapted to parenthood. “Our lives have changed — and our priorities have changed — in the best way possible. Just seeing my son’s face makes me happier than anything,” says the Seattle-based wedding blogger and bridal stylist, who admits to having fallen “more in love” with her husband since having their son.
“He has been so great, really taking care of me so that I could take care of Asher,” says Siegfried. “Parenthood is a test for couples, if you can be strong for each other.”
Season 13 of The Bachelorette premieres May 22 on ABC.
—With NATALIE STONE