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TV’s Nancy O’Dell: Mother, Author, Health Advocate

Nancy O’Dell talks about her new book, her baby, and the loss of her mother to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

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My mom and I were extremely close. We had such a great relationship. She couldn’t have been a more perfect mother. I wish I could call her up and tell her that Ashby is doing this or doing that.

What about your relationship with your mom do you hope to emulate with Ashby?

I could talk to my mom about anything. I never felt like I had to sneak out and I never wanted to participate in anything dangerous because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. It wasn’t that I was fearful that I would be punished if I missed my curfew, I just knew how much they worried and I didn’t want put them through that or disappoint them. This is the type of relationship I hope to build with my daughter.

What about motherhood is most inspiring or overwhelming?

The love. This is a love like you have never experienced before. I can't possibly explain how much I love this person. With the love, comes a lot of worry. My mom was a big worrier. She always said “I hope you are not a worrier like me,” but I am.

Your book of "mom-to-mom tips" for pregnant women came out in April. Want to share a few?

There are cute things and practical things in the book, which is dedicated to my mom and Ashby. There is a recipe for my mom’s spice cake. The ugly side of pregnancy is constipation. I didn’t want to take any medications during pregnancy and I hate the taste of prunes, but this cake is full of prunes and it tastes delicious.

Did you gain a lot of weight during pregnancy?

I gained a lot during the first trimester. My doctor said, “I don’t want you to diet, but you are beyond where you should be and we don’t want you to gain too much.” At the end, I leveled off and gained between 30 and 35 lbs. What you don’t realize is that you still look pregnant after you deliver. Everyone tells you that you will have a little belly, but you look like you are still five or six months pregnant for a while.

Any “who knew?” moments during pregnancy?

I had no idea that you leak colostrum before you even have the baby. I spent a lot of time trying to dry my wardrobe before going on television because I did not know to wear pads before I even started nursing.

So how did you lose it?

Mostly running, along with some weight training. By the time I got back to work after a three-month maternity leave, I was within three lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight, but when I started to focus on my mom, I put some weight back on.

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