We’ve watched Sarah Chalke, 33, grow up on television: First, as daughter Becky on Roseanne, then as Dr. Elliot Reid on Scrubs. Now she plays recurring character Stella on How I Met Your Mother. Her newest role—parent, along with fiancé Jamie Afifi—is scheduled to kick off on Christmas Day, her due date. We talked with her at this issue’s cover photo shoot, just five weeks before her big day.
Fit Pregnancy: How have you liked being pregnant?
Sarah Chalke: I’ve loved it. The first three months, when I had nausea 24 hours a day, were not that fun; and I couldn’t believe how tired I was. Now, it all feels pretty miraculous, especially feeling the baby kick. I have been more nervous than I thought I would be in terms of thinking about the baby’s health and all, but I try to keep that at bay.
I do feel a change now as we count down; at the beginning you think 10 months is forever. Now I feel like I need every second, like I’m cramming for exams. There’s so much to do before the baby comes. And I just can’t wait to meet him.
FP: Has there been anything that really surprises you?
SC: The insomnia! I’ve never had trouble sleeping before. I wake up and go and do stuff—check emails, clean closets, steam some milk and go back to sleep—I guess this is nesting, and also my body preparing to be up at night.
Another thing that caught me off guard is how incredible the whole experience is! It’s really the first experience I just can’t wrap my head around, that there is a baby living inside of me. I did four pregnancy tests because I didn’t believe it; then there’s the ultrasound and they give you a due date!
I was at all three of my older sister’s deliveries, but it still never ceases to amaze me. I guess the other thing that surprised me is the level of responsibility you feel from early on, all the tests. And whether to get the swine flu vaccine—I got in line at 4 a.m. to get mine. All these decisions. I guess I will never wake up without worrying again.
FP: Have you had any cravings or aversions?
SC: When I first got pregnant, about a week before the morning sickness kicked in, I was just starving all the time. But it was for bland, simple food like carbs. I grew up eating vegetarian and organic, but we always had dessert, so I still go for ice cream. Also salt-and-vinegar chips.
It’s interesting how strong the cravings are—I remember talking to my sister while she was making chocolate chip cookies and I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. Aversions? Chicken! I love chicken, but you could just say the word and I’d get queasy.
FP: What have you been doing for exercise?
SC: Before, I was doing yoga, boot camp and hiking with my dog. I don’t like the gym; I need to switch out or I get bored. Now I focus on gentle exercise I know is going to be safe—just yoga and hiking, some prenatal Pilates.