Interview

ICYMI: Elizabeth Hendrickson Interview

Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson Shares The Joys Of First-Time Motherhood 

Bringing a baby into the world is already an emotional event, but for Elizabeth Hendrickson, who welcomed daughter Josephine on March 27, there was a lot more drama involved, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before fathers would be banned from the delivery room as a safety measure, the actress and her hubby, Rob Meder, opted to induce labor, but even that took careful planning. “I had to wait until I passed 14 days in quarantine because I had worked with Greg [Rikaart, Kevin] and he was later diagnosed [with the coronavirus],” Hendrickson explains. “On the 15th day, I was induced. When I went into active labor, I was in the most excruciating pain and I was like, ‘Just get me the drugs!’ ”

After an epidural was administered, it was showtime. “I was so scared what giving birth was going to be like, and in the middle of me pushing, I looked at the nurse and said, ‘You know, this really isn’t that bad. This is the coolest thing ever,’ Hendrickson chuckles. “Granted, I was on drugs so I couldn’t feel everything, but it really is the wildest and the most powerful thing you could possibly experience. I pushed her out in an hour and there she was!”

After a couple of hours, mom and baby were transferred to postpartum recovery, where dads weren’t allowed. “Being alone was really hard,” Hendrickson sighs. “I mean, there was something very special and serene about just the two of us being together. That whole time, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and was just talking to her. She was in my arms and I just couldn’t put her down, but it was hard not having Rob there. I mean, the nurses are super-busy, and because of COVID, they would only come in and check on me every few hours. I was also getting all this information from them and if Rob was there, he could retain some of that information because I was out of my mind. I hadn’t slept in like 14 hours. So dealing with all of that by yourself was a lot as a first-time mom. If I’d had a baby before I’m sure it would have been a little bit easier.”

Things weren’t any less complicated when Hendrickson was released. “Getting the baby into the car was a challenge,” she groans. “I thought I was a pro since all of my friends have babies. Rob had said, ‘We should really figure out the car seat,’ and I was like, ‘Who doesn’t know how to work a car seat? You pop it in, you pop it out.’ He wanted to practice and work with it and I shot him down. And then fast-forward to us putting JoJo in the car seat. There was this one strap that you pull to tighten all of the buckles but we couldn’t do that because it was already pulled and we didn’t know how to loosen it. I’m surprised that we didn’t get divorced right there at the valet. We actually had to call Rob’s cousin, who has the same car seat, and ask how to do it. It was pretty funny. I then sat in the back with her and Rob played spa music as we drove 10 miles per hour home.”

There, Josephine’s maternal grandmother, Kim, was already waiting. “My mom came out before the birth, so she was here with us for that first week, but it was still really stressful at the time and it wasn’t as easy as we had hoped,” Hendrickson relays. “She was definitely help- ful, but the thing was that we weren’t able to let her hold the baby. There was only so much that my mom could do and our house is small. It was so hard and then she had to go home because she has her business and her dog.” Luckily, everyone fell into a routine in time to help relieve the stress. “I found the first few weeks to be pretty smooth and easy because babies sleep so much,” Hendrickson marvels. “Once they start to wake up, you really understand when everyone tells you how hard it is. That’s when everything really started to kick in. I’ve learned that sleep deprivation is a real thing.”

Still, the memorable moments have been racking up. “I just love making her laugh and smile,” gushes Hendrickson. “My favorite time with her is bath time. She loves the bath. Now when she sees me, she recognizes me and she smiles; it’s just the sweetest thing in the world. And let me tell you, when she sees and recog- nizes her father, it just makes me crumble. She loves Rob so much. His conversations with her are hysterical; I can hear them on the monitor. I’m not even hormonal anymore and I’m cry- ing on a daily basis. She is for sure going to be saying, ‘Dada’ before ‘Mama’. So yeah, my favorite times are just watching her evolve and her personality come out.”

With this new experience behind her, Hendrickson is now looking forward to her alter ego, Chloe, giving birth. “When I was in labor and hobbling around the hospital room, I looked at the nurse and said, ‘You know, I’m on a soap opera. I’ve had two children on a soap opera and I just realized I’m an awful actress! This is not at all what I’ve been playing!’ ” she laughs. “But now it’s been so long and I can barely remember what it was like. I was looking forward to doing it a little bit closer to me having a baby because it would have been fresh, but I’m still super-excited.”

For now, though, it will have to wait. With Y&R production shuttered, Hendrickson has enjoyed the extended maternity leave. “I always thought that I would be a mom who wanted to get right back to work, and I would have been back at work by now, but having this time with her has been really special,” the actress smiles. “Listen, do I miss work and do I miss my friends and my co-workers? Of course. But I am so happy that I’ve been able to see her when she wakes up in the morning and see her in the afternoon and see her at night and really be with her during her first moments of life. In a way, I feel that I really deserve this with her and I’m very thankful for it because it did take me a long time to get here, and now that I’m here, I’m just really trying to appreciate everything that I’ve received.”

 

Tickled Pink

After two heartbreaking miscarriages, Hendrickson was over the moon when she became pregnant with Josephine. “I had just gotten back from my wedding and still on a high from getting married,” she recounts. “I started getting an inkling that maybe there was a possibility I could be pregnant, but I was tak- ing pregnancy tests and they were coming back negative. I was going to have dinner with a friend and I remember thinking, ‘Just in case, I shouldn’t drink tonight.’ And before I went to dinner, I took one more pregnancy test and it showed that I was pregnant.” Unfortunately, her hubby was out of town. “Rob was traveling, so I was home alone and I remember being a crazy person, talking to myself because I was just so stunned and I had no one to talk to. I kept looking at myself in the mirror and saying, ‘Oh, my God. You’re pregnant? Are you pregnant? I’m pregnant.’ ” Once it was officially confirmed by a trip to the doctor, the mom-to-be proceeded to gestate without incident. “I loved being pregnant,” she enthuses. “Everyone told me that once I hit the end I would be over it, but I could have done easily another couple of months. I loved it so much. I miss being pregnant. There are lots of bonuses that come with it. You get taken care of like you never have before. It’s like the red carpet gets rolled out for you wherever you go. People will offer to carry your groceries, husbands are rubbing your feet all the time and people will serve your food first at a big table. You really get treated like a princess!”

 

Just The Facts

Birthday: July 3

Here & There: Born in New York City, raised in nearby Northport, NY.

Spousal Support: Married to Rob Meder since June 29, 2019. Their daughter, Josephine James, arrived on March 27.

No Regular Jo: “We con- ceived in St. Barts, where we got married, so I wanted something French [for her name]. Josephine came up on that list and I just loved all the nicknames that come along with Josephine. You can have Josie, JoJo, Jo, Joe. And Rob really liked James. I thought that Josephine James together was just a perfect name and I loved that JJ would be a great nickname, too.”

Mind This: “Mom brain is a full-on thing. I used to remember everything. I never had to write a list down and now it’s like I’ve got lists all over the house, but I’m lucky if I get to one thing on my list a day.”

Baby Gadget Must-Have: “The SNOO, which is the crib that rocks them to sleep. It’s pretty amazing. At night it’s really great because when they kind of start to stir and wake up in their sleep, the crib will basically match their fussiness, and as they continue to grow more fussy, the more it will rock them back to sleep. It’s really, really helpful in the middle of the night.”

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