ICYMI

Nadia Bjorlin on the ups and downs of first-time motherhood

This DAYS star is getting a crash course in life lessons

Nadia Bjorlin
"Days of Our Lives" Set Cast Photo Gallery Shoot
NBC Studios
Burbank
9/30/10
©John Paschal/jpistudios.com
310-657-9661

Credit: JPI

Nadia Bjorlin made her DAYS debut in 1999 at age 19, and her recent birthday in early August prompted her to reflect on the changes in her life since first playing Chloe. “I’ve grown up in front of the cameras,” she says. “When I had my birthday, I was thinking about how I’ve been at DAYS almost half of my life. I used to be one of the kids around here, and now I’m one of the grown-ups. It’s funny to see early footage of when I started on DAYS. My voice was lighter and I looked like a baby. At that age, I thought I knew everything.”

Seventeen years later, Bjorlin, who became a wife and mother over a 12-month span, is certainly getting a crash course in life lessons. “It’s been incredibly humbling,” she notes of welcoming son Torin on May 4. “Before becoming a mom, when people talked about the first few months being hard, I’d just brush it off and think, ‘Oh, it will be fine.’ As an actor, we have crazy hours and sometimes we don’t sleep, or we have to be up in the middle of the night for an early call time. This isn’t like any of that [laughs]. It’s just really hard. You can read every parenting book in the world and think that you’re prepared, but then you just have to throw all of that away. There’s never really order. It ebbs and flows in how you feel and how you cope. It’s basically trying to stay sane.” Still, despite the chaotic roller-coaster ride of dizzying adjustments, Bjorlin smiles, “It’s also incredible and rewarding. Every day I see Torin grow and change.”

Bjorlin and hubby Grant Turnbull always planned on having children someday, but three months into their marriage, when Bjorlin went for an annual doctor’s exam, the actress learned she was two weeks pregnant. “It was a beautiful surprise,” she shares. “I was really glad that I found out so soon because we were going on a vacation in Hawaii. If I started to feel really horrible while we were there, I wouldn’t have to think that it was something I ate. So the news couldn’t have come at a better time.”

With a big return planned at DAYS, however, Bjorlin recalls, “I said, ‘How is this going to work?’ So we waited until the safe period [after the first trimester], and when I went in for a story meeting, they were amazing about it. There was another writer here at the time and he said, ‘I can really use that.’ ” With the soap’s advanced shooting schedule, Chloe’s pregnancy wasn’t written in for months. “The ironic part was that we didn’t really use it for the longest time,” she explains. “It ended up being a timeline issue that was out of everybody’s control. I didn’t start working until December, and then we had the break, and then the show went on hiatus for five weeks. When you’re pregnant, every week matters, so by the time I came back, in the Chloe pregnancy test scenes, I was eight months pregnant.”

The wardrobe department camouflaged Bjorlin’s expanding belly by dressing her in black, and she was seated in most scenes. “From what I’m seeing on-screen, it’s hidden pretty well,” she comments. “I look a little rounder in my face than usual, but the pregnancy isn’t obvious.”

After a six-week maternity leave, Bjorlin returned to the DAYS set with mixed emotions. “I don’t think there is ever a good time for when you should go back to work after having a baby,” she asserts. “I felt terrible about leaving Torin. He was so small.” And Chloe was still pregnant. “I had to wear a fake belly for a bit,” she shrugs. “They said, ‘We’re so sorry for making you go through this again!’ I told them, ‘At least it’s still fresh in my mind [laughs].’ ”

The actress feels her recent life changes have helped her performances. “Without even realizing it, my own personal evolution is reflected in Chloe,” she observes. “I think Chloe has become more confident and stronger in her choices. I love that I’m a mom because now it gives me a new perspective on Chloe. All of the choices that she’s making in the story are based on her wanting to be a good mom and a good person. I think that’s different. The last few times Chloe has been back, I always felt it was about her needing somebody and fighting to be loved. That’s changed. She’s become more grown-up.”

So has Bjorlin, who says she couldn’t have imagined the road she would travel when she first joined DAYS. “At the time, I was so happy and grateful to be working on this amazing TV show. I was excited about where I was in my life,” she relays. “Even though the circumstances are different today with the passage of time, I’m still excited about being on DAYS and grateful for the life that I have.”

And Baby Makes Three

Bjorlin had some memorable set encounters while pregnant with Torin. “There was the one love scene I had to do with Vincent [Irizarry, Deimos],” she shares. “Poor Vincent. He’s so nice. He said, ‘I feel really weird doing this. It’s like there are three of us on the set [laughs].’ I was totally fine with it. John-Paul Lavoisier [Philip] was a little freaked out. He said, ‘This is my first time ever making out with a pregnant woman.’ I made him feel my belly. I said, ‘Let’s not make it weird here. Touch the belly. Okay, now we can kiss.’ ” As for Bryan R. Dattilo (Lucas), the first castmate she told about her pregnancy, “The funny thing is, just as I came back from my maternity leave, I saw Bryan in the hallway and he asked, ‘So, when are you having your baby?’ I told him, ‘I had the baby already, Bryan.’ I reminded him that I told him in November. It’s such a time warp around here. He was like, ‘I didn’t think you looked pregnant. I was wondering, “How many months does she have left?” ’ ”

sd3916_nadia_03 sd3916_nadia_02

Just the Facts

Birthday: August 2

Hails From: Newport, RI, but moved to Sweden when she was
2 months old.

Supportive Spouse: Bjorlin married Grant Turnbull on May 15, 2015 in Palm Springs, CA. “When you have a baby, you realize who you are married to, his strengths and weaknesses. We balance each other out. God bless him. When he comes home from work, he’s hands-on, changes diapers, the whole thing. But he’s not as good at sleep deprivation as I am.”

Boy Wonder: Torin Mathias Turnbull was born on May 4. “He’s a happy baby who likes to laugh. He’s also strong. He was able to sit up after a few weeks.”

Food, Glorious Food: Bjorlin had specific cravings during her pregnancy. “I ate like a teenage boy. It was probably because I was having a boy. I was eating things I wouldn’t normally eat, like pasta with meat sauce, cheeseburgers, anything meaty or cheesy was what I wanted all the time. It was very savory, hearty food.”

Are You Experienced? “My mother had six children. I asked her, ‘How in the world did you manage?’ And she answered, ‘Because I’m amazing [laughs].’ ” Sister Kamilla, she praises, “has been a godsend.Before I had Torin, Kamilla said that she would be there for me, and I told her that I’d be fine. But then after Torin was born, I would text my sister at 4 in the morning with so many questions. You think that you can do everything, but you realize that all moms are superwomen because it’s an incredible juggling act.”

Comments