Please welcome our newest celebrity blogger, Lacey Chabert!
The actress, best known as Claudia on Party of Five and Gretchen in Mean Girls, can currently be seen on Still the King, airing Sundays at 9 p.m. on CMT. She’ll next appear in Hallmark’s A Wish for Christmas.
Chabert, 33, married Dave Nehdar during an intimate wedding over the 2013 holidays.
Because I’ve been acting since the age of 7, most stages of my life have been documented on film in one way or another — even those awkward teenage years where I painfully navigated puberty are forever committed to film. (Yikes!)
I truly love my job, and appreciate that I’ve been able to continue working through my first pregnancy and have this stage of life documented as well. I’ll always remember this special time of my life!
I’m a petite person … okay, I’m short. So I feel like I started “showing” about five minutes after the pregnancy test had two pink lines. Of course, during the first few months, it was easy to conceal a little round stomach, but at 6-7 months, I suddenly looked as though I was smuggling a large watermelon under my shirt! This newfound shape made for some interesting challenges when trying to hide my growing belly in the movie I just completed.
Being able to do what I love for a living is a luxury for which I’m very thankful. That being said, being in nearly every shot of a movie, while growing a tiny human, was challenging. I have the deepest respect for women who work up until they give birth because pregnancy is exhausting!
Since the most important thing is protecting my growing daughter, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my body isn’t my own right now. Accepting that my limitations are different than normal has been very humbling.
The fatigue I’ve experienced during pregnancy is intense, and yet I’ve also really struggled with insomnia. It’s so confusing that I can be this tired and not be able to sleep! Apparently, this is common, but it’s such a frustrating symptom — especially when you have a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call and a 14- to 16-hour work day ahead.
During the first week of filming, I started to experience this incredible pain in my rib cage; this baby girl has taken up residence in the right side. I swear she’s swinging on my ribs while she listens to that song “Chandelier” by Sia. I feel like my ribs are cracking open at times, but I’m glad she’s at least having fun in there. 😉
I also struggled with my feet swelling like water balloons around lunchtime every day, and I could no longer fit into my heels. The wonderful crew was so kind as to build a little platform for me so that I could take off my shoes when not in the shot and yet still be tall enough. Can I get one for real life, please?!
Then came the most hilarious challenge: our attempts to hide my pregnant belly. The character I was portraying was not pregnant so hiding my stomach was obviously important. Luckily, it was a winter movie so I wore lots of layers; sweaters, scarves, and coats became my best friend.
We also used every prop imaginable for me to hide behind. My character became very fond of holding her purse, paperwork, presents, moving boxes and luggage. I found myself sitting behind lots of desk or conveniently standing behind counters, car doors, Christmas trees, small children, etc. At one point, someone suggested I try to “suck in” for a take, which made me laugh so hard I almost cried.
A lot of the movie was filmed in closeup, so be ready to get very familiar with my eyeballs in this one, haha. I had no idea just how much my belly would grow during the month of filming. What I found out was it grew a lot! As have other parts of my body, but I digress. Hey, the baby enjoys carbs, it’s not my fault!
I was touched by everyone’s extra kindness toward me on set; they constantly brought me water and snacks, offered up a chair or an arm to hold so I wouldn’t trip, and scouted out the nearest restroom at every location. At first, I felt somewhat guilty about all this special attention, but I quickly learned to not be embarrassed by it and just truly appreciated the care and concern. The sweet on-set costumer would apologize to the baby for having to hide her every time he came over to adjust my costume in an attempt to camouflage the belly. This always made me smile.
Feeling the baby move has been my favorite part of pregnancy — well, not so much when she’s karate-chopping my ribs or using my bladder as a trampoline, but even then, all the kicks and pokes still melt my heart. When she would start her little dance and kick me while we were filming, it was always hard to not laugh and remain in the emotion of the scene — especially when all you want to do is grab everyone’s hand around you and say, “Feel this!”
I learned something about myself through this experience. I realized that not only am I not great at asking for help … I’m actually terrible at it. I feel this intense pressure to be able to do everything myself all the time. I’m not sure where this comes from exactly, but I’m glad I at least recognize my need to get better at asking for help and not feeling ashamed to do so.
Once the baby arrives, and especially when I go back to work after she’s here, I’m going to need a ton of help. So I have to get better at vocalizing those needs without feeling like I’m letting anyone down. Anyone else struggle with this?
I’m so thankful to the amazing crew for taking such good care of me, a network that trusted me with this role while seven months along, and to my husband for being on location with me for a month so I wouldn’t be alone.
I’ll forever be able to show my daughter the movie where she was in her mom’s belly. It’s a memory I’ll always cherish.
— Lacey Chabert