Becoming a new mom again has left Brigitte Nielsen, 55, feeling young, even if she fears others will perceive her as too old
“I might not take her to school when the time comes. I’ll let my husband do it, because I don’t want people to say, ‘Is that your grandmother taking you to school?’ ” Nielsen tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I don’t want her to feel bad.”
Nielsen gave birth to Frida on June 22 after more than 10 years of undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment. And though she’s in her 50s now, she went on to explain that Frida “keeps me very young.”
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Frida is the fifth child for the Red Sonja star, and the first for her husband, 39-year-old Italian model Mattia Dessi.
“I’m very excited about trying new things,” Nielsen says of the couple’s plans. “We’ll see a thing on TV or we see something, ‘Oh, we have to do this with Frida.’ We’re already looking forward. We want to travel with her, do a lot of things.”
“I’ve got a whole new chapter. It’s a big chapter,” Nielsen adds. “Happiness gives you energy. It’s a natural high.”
Staying healthy is a big part of how she is preparing for that chapter. “I think more then anything, live every day, because anything can happen,” says the actress. “Really take advantage of the good you have, but be good to yourself: What you eat, what you do. Take care of every little responsibility now, but also still enjoy it. Don’t be so focused that you cannot.”
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Nielsen — also mom to sons Raoul Meyer Jr., 23, Douglas Meyer, 25, Killian Gastineau, 28, and Julian Winding, 34 — has one other big message for women: “Never give up” if motherhood is something they really want.
“Some women think, ‘Oh my God, I’m too old.’ Well, yeah, I can understand people saying, ‘How dare she?’ ” the star says of her critics. “But how many men have their first kids in their 60s and 70s and they never doubt it?”
“Do I understand that [people] are a bit skeptical? Yes, I understand. I also totally respect the fact that not everybody likes it and agrees with it, but it is my life,” she continues.
For exclusive photos and more on Brigitte Nielsen’s story, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.