She is known most as a Baywatch bombshell (and she is still the latter), but Gena Lee Nolin is now known as a “mama” to four and wife. What many of you may not know is that Gena is now an advocate for thyroid disease patients.
In an exclusive interview with Celebrities Do Good, Nolin chats with us about her life at home with her kids, her struggle with postpartum depression and her silent struggle with thyroid disease.
Check it out below:
Danity Donnaly (DD): Such a pleasure to chat with you Gena! Most of us know you as one of the hot buxom blondes from Baywatch, but now years later you are a mother of four! How did you spend your Mother’s Day?
Gena Nolin (GN): I woke up with breakfast in bed! Gluten free pancakes smothered with fresh strawberries and a big cup of coffee! All the kids helped daddy cook, so it was extra special. They get so excited for me to open my cards and gifts before I can even get a sip of my coffee. [laughing] Cale is really good about the kids making me home made cards. The rest of day was spent with my own Mother, going to church, dinner and ending it with a sunset bike ride with the family. My Mom and I were just saying the other day, that this year might’ve been the best Mother’s Day we’ve ever had.
DD: I’m sure you adore each and every one of your little ones, but it can’t be easy having four kiddos. I have three and know how much work it is. How do you handle a day when you have a colic baby, a toddler AND a sassy teenager?
GN: I’m not going to lie, it’s one of the toughest jobs us women have. By far the hardest I’ve personally had. It’s not just the baby faze or getting through the terrible two’s, it’s the tween/teen years and learning how to deal with everyone’s needs when you have more then one child. I have a reminder on my phone that goes off everyday at 10am that simply say’s, “What do you need”? I forget to take time out if I’m not reminded. When I see that, I take a deep breath and remember to book that massage I’ve put off.
DD: I know many women don’t like to talk about depressions and the stigma surrounding it, but you are stepping up to the plate revealing that you had postpartum depression (PPD). When did you first realize that this was something that you were having to deal with? What advice do you have for moms who are going through this now?
GN: I had PPD and undiagnosed thyroid disease for years. I have a lot of things to say to the women suffering…. First, you’re not alone! So many of us new mom’s are going through the very same thing. Take the time to get into the doc, get labs done to rule certain things out and if it’s depression you’re plagued with, seek out counseling. Noone is perfect and from my experience the one’s who seem to have it down and appear to be perfect are sadly the one’s who are suffering the most. Be real, let go of who you think you should be and just be YOU! That’s enough!
DD: You also were diagnosed with thyroid disease. How has that diagnosis changed your life? How do you keep a healthy body and weight?
GN: It seems like it took forever to get diagnosed! Once I found out I had hashimoto’s disease my life changed. Diet, exercise, new doctor, really everything! My weight still goes up and down regardless of what I eat, it’s just the crummy part of the disease. I eat healthy and exercise, so I defiantly do my part. My new book that’s out October 8, 2013 called “Beautiful Inside and Out” is my personal journey with thyroid disease, how I got through the 15 hour days, relationships, children… [sighing] It’s a curl up on the couch with a glass of wine kind of book. I tell all, but I had too. It was healing to let the cat out of the bag. [laughing]
DD: You have a Facebook page that you created to help other women living with thyroid disease. Can you tell us a little bit about the page? How old it is? How many members you have and why is it important to you?
GN: I created Thyroid Sexy on Facebook in July 2011. I have almost 30k people! It was important for me to get the message out and help others who were suffering like me. Until you have the symptoms some of us are faced with, it’s hard to explain. I needed others to be there for me and I for them. That sums up “Thyroid Sexy” for you, comfort and support to whomever needs it!
DD: What is the most challenging part of having thyroid disease?
GN: The aches and pains!! Sometimes I feel like I’m 70 years old kid you not. The weight is up and down and that’s really hard when you’re in this business. The consistency of feeling good can be hard with my schedule, but I’m positive and truly feel this doesn’t define me.
DD: What’s next for you? Do you plan on doing anymore in the entertainment business?
GN: I have my book “Beautiful Inside and Out” coming up with tour dates, some exciting shows and I’m now writing for Yahoo, Celebrity Baby Scoop and other sites. I’ve never viewed myself as a writer, but I’m rolling with it. Whenever I get the chance to help or give advice I’m thrilled. When people actually like reading it, I get goofy excited! [smiling]
DD: What have you learned about yourself after having children?
GN: I’ve learned there is two of me. The “before kids” me and the “after kids” me! Life truly began June 3, 1997 when my son Spencer was born and it’s never been the same. I’ve learned that I’m selfless and can fix just about anything with my super human hugs and kisses. Wait, one more thing… I am an amazingly strong creature that can do anything! Just ask my kiddo’s!
DD: What charities/causes are closest to your heart?
GN: I’m starting my own. “The Thyroid Sexy Foundation” that will help people who can’t afford medical help in regards to their thyroid meds and labs. I also love working with “Make A Wish foundation”!
DD: Thanks so much for your time, Gena and for sharing with us!
GN: It was my pleasure! Thank you…
We adore Gena! Beautiful inside AND out!
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