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My little angel; Dawn Collinson talks to actress Sunetra Sarker about the joys of motherhood.

Byline: Dawn Collinson

WHEN actress Sunetra Sarker decided to come back to Liverpool for the birth of her first baby, she thought she'd got it all perfectly planned.

"But nothing's easy with me, I should know that by now," she laughs.

In fact, baby Noah began making his entrance into the world at midnight on the day they moved into their new rented home.

And he didn't arrive until 36 hours, two failed inducements, an epidural and an emergency Caesarean later!

"It was what you'd call very tricky, all the way," smiles Sunetra, who's back on TV this week in C4's sexy drama No Angels.

"I wanted to have the baby at the Women's hospital so I could be near my family and friends in Liverpool, so we rented a flat here thinking we still had about two weeks before the baby was due.

"But the baby was 10 days early, and literally as soon as we put the last box down on the floor my waters broke. So we drove to the Women's and I was getting monitored for a few days, then they decided to induce me. Two inducements and an epidural didn't work, and when I finally pushed his head out they realised he was facing the sky rather than the other way so they had to push him back in and give me an emergency Caesarean.

"By the time he eventually arrived I felt like I'd researched birthing on every possible level."

The 31-year-old former Brookside star discovered she was pregnant while she was filming the last series of No Angels, in which she plays nurse and party girl Anji.

She and husband Nick, a stonemason, had only been married a year and she admits a baby wasn't on their agenda just yet. But it was a happy surprise and Sunetra is clearly thrilled to be a mum.

"We didn't have a name for him for two days, but we called him Noah because it suited his face," she says, "and his Indian name is Kishore which means youthful. I think maybe I looked a bit like him when I was a baby, but at the moment I think he looks more like Nick, although it changes on a weekly basis.

"Everyone says we should put him up for modelling, but we're so British and you never like to brag about your own, do you? But I am so blessed."

Having intended to move back to London months after Noah was born, the couple found their plans unexpectantly changing again.

"We stayed in Liverpool for 10 weeks and then I started this series of No Angels over in Leeds so we moved as a family while I was working solidly for five months," she says.

When filming finished at Christmas they were faced with a dilemma - to return to London or get somewhere more permanent in Liverpool.

"And being round the corner from my mum and dad won," smiles Sunetra. "It's so nice to be back home and my mum and dad are just falling over themselves to be with the baby.

"They are just so in love with him, and he with them. It's amazing how you find family just click with each other."

Returning to work when Noah was just 10 weeks old was a wrench, admits Sunetra. But she took him on set with her for No Angels, and since he and Nick were with her in Leeds they were never apart for long.

"I had a really lovely nanny, and the other girls were like surrogate mothers to him," she says. "I'd come off set and he'd be in the office or make-up or wardrobe, they were all having their Noah time and they'd be fighting to take him for a walk at lunchtime.

"Honestly, he was so spoilt and looked after, I was really lucky to be in a job where I felt so happy with people. Working with three girls who I've got so close to just made it so much easier and they did everything they could do to help.

"They even gave up all the socialising in pubs and clubs we used to do, to stay in with me, the baby and the monitor."

Now filming again across the Pennines on a new Kay Mellor series, Sunetra says she's almost back to her pre-baby shape. But, she insists, it's just rushing around after Noah which has shifted her pregnancy weight.

"A couple of magazines have asked me to do that 'how I lost my weight' nonsense, but I think the pressure on new mums is enough without having to worry about your weight," she says.

"To expect everyone to go back to their old size straight away after you've had a baby is ridiculous.

"I'm so busy with Noah and work that I probably haven't eaten as much as I want to and obviously you're exercising all the time without trying.

"I really do still need to get fit and lose maybe the last stone, but I'm in no rush.

"I think people might be able to see that Anji's a bit chubbier this series than she used to be, but I've never claimed to be Posh Spice so I wasn't planning on becoming a size six - not that I ever was!"


ANGEL DELIGHT: Sunetra (left) with her No Angels co-stars
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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