For pregnant actress Debbie Newby-Ward, her baby storyline on TV One’s Nothing Trivial has been a strange form of preparation for becoming a mum. The 34-year-old actress filmed scenes with her character Emma’s newborn Constance, while her first child was on the way.
Due at the end of theyear, the crew managed to hide Debbie’s burgeoning belly behind stragically placed objects and clever camera angles until filming wrapped in September, but Debbie still wasn’t quite mentally prepared for some of the realities of motherhood she faced while doing the show.
“Emma’s labour scene was quite a bizarre experience. I had some funny chats with my obstetrician, working out what was okay to do before that scene was shot. [I didn’t know] how hard I should push in my circumstance,” jokes Debbie.
“I was happy when that scene was over, because leading up to it seemed to encourage various people to fill me in on their labour experiences. I had to keep on reminding them that at some point I would actually be doing this for real, and asked them to please stop talking about it!”
While Emma is keen to return to work quickly after giving birth, Debbie says that her character’s experiences have made her reflect on the tough decisions and unique pressures that face mothers.
“The show brought up interesting conversations on set and within my household. There are lots of confronting decisions to make,” says Debbie, who is married to Brendon Ward.“It seems there is so much information out there about motherhood, and ‘what to do’ or ‘not to do’, that at times I think a woman can actually feel robbed of her instinct to make her own choices."
“I guess as a new mother you don’t know how you are going to feel until you are in that situation. A lot of women have told me that once they had their baby, going back to work straight away was the last thing they wanted to do. But for Emma, she feels she needs to balance her new life as a mother,” says Debbie.
On the show, Emma has befriended fellow new mum Jo (played by actress Katherine Kennard), who is feeling isolated and alienated by Mac (Shane Cortese) and his friends.Debbie understands why Emma has bonded with her.
“Playing mums together brought about a new dimension for both of us as characters and actors,” says Debbie.
“Emma has a kind heart and looks for the best in people, which means she is more open to new friendships. Sharing an experience with someone can bring you great comfort, and I think being a mother is a big drawcard in this new friendship between Emma and Jo. Once that common ground has been established, then you find yourself relating to each other on all sorts of levels and topics.”
Nothing Trivial, TV One, Wednesday, 8.30pm