Tika Sumpter is expecting her first child, a little girl, in early October. But while most couples gearing up to welcome a baby this fall likely made it known earlier this year, Sumpter waited until August to do so — and for good reason.
“She’s my first child, and I wanted to experience every moment of this pregnancy for myself and enjoy it without everybody else being in it with me,” Sumpter, who currently stars in OWN’s The Haves and Have Nots, told Fit Pregnancy and Baby for their October issue’s cover story.
“I didn’t want to hear, ‘Who’s the dad? Are you with the dad?’ Social media can be harsh, and I’m a mama bear, protective of my family,” Sumpter, 36, explains. “So that’s why I waited to tell people, including some friends.”
“My friends weren’t mad at me,” she adds. “They said, ‘You did it the way you wanted to do it. You’re an inspiration.’ “
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“Until recently, you couldn’t tell if I was pregnant or had a little beer belly!” she says.
Sumpter shares that although she’s excited for her daughter’s arrival, the pregnancy wasn’t planned. But the story about how she learned she was expecting is one for the books.
“I found out around Valentine’s Day, when my boyfriend took me on a surprise trip to San Diego. I never want McDonald’s, but I was like, ‘I need a Big Mac, fries and a Coke now,’ ” she recalls. “They were still only serving breakfast, so I insisted we wait there until they started serving lunch.
“Afterward, I immediately fell asleep,” she continues. “When I woke up, my boyfriend was like, ‘Ha-ha! Are you pregnant?‘ I said, ‘Maybe. Go get a test!’ He brought back a generic-brand test, and right away it said positive. I could not comprehend it. So I said, ‘Go get a name-brand test!’ He did, and that one said yes too.
“I still have the stick,” Sumpter adds. “I had to show it to my mom because she didn’t even believe me when I told her.”
Social media isn’t the only culprit behind the pregnancy questions the private star gets, though. Some of the curiosity can’t be avoided.
“One of the first questions my mother asked when she found out I was pregnant was, ‘Are you going to get married?’ ” Sumpter says. “I’d love to, but maybe in a year or so. I’ve been with my boyfriend for more than a year and a half.”
“Our relationship is not dependent on a ring,” adds the One Life to Live alum. “I love him to death, and he loves me to death, and that’s all that matters to me.”
The mom-to-be plans on practicing mental flexibility when it comes to the birth of her daughter, but she can’t help thinking of what her ideal situation would be like.
“In my dream birth, I’d maybe have some contractions and then my baby would come out with Bach playing in the background, my boyfriend holding my hand and my doula rubbing my back,” Sumpter says. “In reality, I realize it may turn out differently.”
“Giving birth naturally would be great, but my boyfriend knows that if I say I need drugs, then I need them,” she explains. “I have a high threshold for pain, but it’s not like I win anything for putting myself through that. Plans are just plans. I know everything can change.”
— Jen Juneau