"I just couldn't really see my life without having a family," Julie Lake tells PEOPLE exclusively of her pregnancy news
There’s a baby on the way for Julie Lake!
The actress, best known for playing meth addict Angie Rice on Orange Is the New Black, is expecting her first child, a son, with husband Jeff Cahn, PEOPLE can exclusively confirm.
“We’re having a baby!” Lake, 36, tells PEOPLE of her impending baby boy, who is due this November. “It’s all a crazy leap into the unknown. It’ll be an adventure but I am very excited about it!”
Lake says she and Cahn learned of the exciting news just a few months back when she suspected she was pregnant and decided to take a test before her husband had to travel for a few days.
“We did it the night before he left to go away for a bit and I was so scared,” she admits. “I was like, ‘Wait, let’s not do it!’ I peed on the stick and then was like, ‘No, no, I can’t do this, just throw it away! Don’t look at it, we’ll figure it out later. We’ll do it when you get back!’ “
After learning of the positive result, Lake recalls Cahn, a television writer, was “really happy and excited” because he has always wanted to be a dad.
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The first-time mom-to-be, meanwhile, tells PEOPLE she was still having mixed feelings over the baby news, which didn’t come as much of a shock to her.
“It was overwhelming but happy at the same time,” she explains. “It wasn’t a huge surprise because I just felt weird immediately. I know a lot of women who are like, ‘I was six weeks pregnant, I had no clue.’ But I was like, ‘Something is weird. I’m really foggy, I can’t remember things, I felt mildly nauseated.’ I knew something was off.”
It was those symptoms, plus some others, that made Lake’s first trimester more difficult than she had ever anticipated as a first-time mother.
“I had a migraine before I knew I was pregnant. I had to go to the hospital, then I had headaches all week,” explains the actress, who is currently in her second trimester. “Then I found out I was pregnant, then I threw my back out and I couldn’t move for a week. And then the nausea started and I was throwing up for two months straight.”
“I was so tired I could barely move, [and] I was sleeping all the time,” she continues. “When I first got pregnant, I thought, ‘Cool, nine months till the baby gets here. It’s gonna be so special.’ And then I’m like, ‘No, the baby is here, he has taken over my body. Life has forever changed instantly.’ “
Though Lake admits her pregnancy thus far hasn’t been “as bad as Amy Schumer” (Schumer suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a form of acute morning sickness), she acknowledges that like the comedian, she envies those who enjoy being pregnant.
“I am so angry when somebody says they love being pregnant. I’m like, ‘You have no idea how lucky you are that you didn’t have the flu for months,’ ” she quips. “But I’m finally feeling a little bit better and I’m more hopeful now that I can enjoy this for a little bit without throwing up every day.”
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As she prepares for her son’s arrival, Lake says she’s experiencing many of the same concerns that first-time mothers face, including her body changing, balancing motherhood with work and developing more “mom friends.”
“I’m more worried about being taken out of the game for a while [because] I’m pregnant,” shares the star, who has a role in the upcoming second season of Big Little Lies. “I hope I’m working with a kid. I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I always envisioned myself as a working mom. I love to be out in the world.”
To help alleviate some of those concerns, Lake joined The Jane Club in Los Angeles, which is a workspace for women with children and even offers babysitting services downstairs from the time kids are 3 months old.
“Most of my friends actually don’t have children, a lot of them are single,” the actress shares of her decision to join. “I wanted a community of other women who have children who have been through what I’ve been going through that I can talk to, so I’m really excited about that.”
And though she’s having her first child in her mid-30s, Lake says her age has never fazed her, despite concern from some women who may feel their time to have a biological child is passing quickly.
“It’s a huge change … I wanted to put it off as long as I could,” she reveals to PEOPLE. “I think part of the reason that my husband and I did it when we did was my age and we didn’t want to get into a situation where we waited too long and then it was really difficult to get pregnant.”
“I always thought at some point this maternal clock would kick in where I’d be like, ‘I really want to have a child now, I need it in my life.’ That definitely never happened for me,” she continues. “It was more of just a choice of like, ‘Okay, well, do I see my life without kids or with kids?’ and I just couldn’t really see my life without having a family.”
“I’m really excited to actually have the little guy here, get to meet him and find out who he is and what he’s all about,” Lake adds.