‘I couldn’t have coped with pregnancy while I was in Girls Aloud’

As someone who has toured the world, performed to sold-out crowds and recorded several chart-topping singles during her Girls Aloud career, singer Nadine Coyle has long been accustomed to a demanding lifestyle where priorities must be balanced .

But shortly after she left the band, Coyle’s world changed when her daughter Anaiya – now seven – was born.

After just three months she was rehearsing for a musical show in London and the reality of being a working mother was becoming clear; She realized that sometimes it would be necessary to turn down jobs that didn’t fit her new life.

“You go through phases where you feel like you’re rejecting stuff all the time,” said Coyle, now a solo artist and contestant on the latest series of celebrity bakingin an interview for the Telegraph podcast The Juggling Act, which you can easily listen to using the audio player above.

“As with any freelance job, it makes sense to find the right thing that works. Something that won’t take me away or mean I won’t get much time growing up for Anaiya, but it also helps me achieve the things I want to achieve.”

“It’s about finding the right job that fits into the big picture. It’s always about that balance. I don’t want to start interfering with her life just because of something I want to do. Anaiya is in a great school so there’s no way I can go anywhere for six months or even a month.”

Looking back, Coyle, who splits her time between London and Northern Ireland, feels her career has thrived since becoming a mother. “I feel like I’ve worked really consistently since Anaiya was born,” she said. From performing live to signing with a new record label, “there’s been a lot going on,” she said.

Though she and her daughter’s father, Jason Bell, a former American football player, are no longer in a relationship, Coyle said she doesn’t feel like a single mom because she has the support of her family — and is her ex-partner very involved in caring for her child.

“I have friends and I know people who are basically single mothers who have to do everything themselves; everything falls on her,” she said.

“And that’s not the situation I’m in. I was so lucky that since Anaiya was very young, my mother was amazing. Also, I have a great relationship with Jason. It works very well. Anaiya has fun with everyone.”

The singer gave birth to her daughter at the age of 27, shortly after leaving Girls Aloud.

When asked if she could have juggled the pressure of being in the band with a baby, the answer was straight forward.

“There was no way I could have been pregnant and on Girls Aloud at the same time,” she said. “Being in the band was way too physical – there’s a lot of dancing in heels.

“Friends of mine were in bands and were pregnant and I just don’t know how they do it.

“I could hardly walk from the living room to the kitchen [when I was pregnant], forget about getting dressed and making a routine. I was regularly in my pajamas and felt nauseous from 7am to 7pm.

“There was no way I could have done a promo or tour if I was pregnant.”

Before realizing she was pregnant, Coyle agreed to be part of a Lord of the Dance show at the London Palladium with Michael Flatley. Rehearsals began when her daughter was only three months old, which meant she flew her baby over from her then home in LA to get dressed.

Coping with jet lag is “not easy” because of the baby’s “routine”. “It was definitely a baptism of fire bringing her over,” she said.

When they arrived, the singer went straight to a dress rehearsal. “There was a lot of talk about couture – a handmade couture dress, and I had just given birth. I thought I could never wear couture, even when I was at my best. I’m not a couture girl.”

Rehearsals for the show were also tested due to a combination of jet lag and the pressures that come with a new mom.

“In the dress rehearsal of the show, I realized I didn’t even know the lyrics,” she said. “I was so focused on what Anaiya was doing… whether she was sleeping and stuff like that. I just couldn’t find a way to keep the lyrics in my mind.”

The show subsequently went on tour around the world, but Coyle decided she couldn’t leave her daughter or take her away for a long time, so she missed the opportunity.

When she looks back on that time, she sees the stress she was under. “Looking back at pictures of me in the first year or two [after Anaiya was born] and I don’t look like myself at all,” she said.

“I can tell how I felt looking at the pictures. It was very stressful. I had started working again and there just seemed to be no rest. It took a while for normality to return.”

While it has sometimes been difficult to balance the demands of work with caring for her daughter, Coyle now feels that spending more time at home does her good. Before becoming a mother, she felt “guilty” about invitations to events, but wanted to stay at home.

“I enjoyed spending time with my family,” she says. “Any time I had downtime, I was with my family or friends in Ireland. And you miss going to this or that party. But I thought to myself: “One party is like the other”.

“It’s all relatively the same no matter where you are, and I don’t like it anymore.”

“As a mother, I can’t fool around, I can’t be at Art Basel in Miami with my kid at home. I can’t be at fashion week when I have a child who needs breakfast, lunch and dinner and needs to be entertained throughout the day. Motherhood rules out that option for me.”

Hear Nadine Coyle on The Telegraph’s new podcast, The Juggling Act, on the audio player above, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Join the Telegraph Women Facebook group to discuss The Juggling Act and more. ‘I couldn’t have coped with pregnancy while I was in Girls Aloud’

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