OLA Jordan admits she wishes she'd started trying for a baby sooner, but she had to choose between Strictly Come Dancing and starting a family.
The mum-of-one, 38, and husband James Jordan, 43, both joined Strictly as pro dancers in 2006, with Ola eventually leaving in 2015, two years after her husband hung up his shoes.
The couple, who have been married for 17 years, welcomed their first baby Ella on February 27 last year – after three years of trying and a successful first round of IVF.
Ola, who teamed up with coffee retailer Coffee Friend, tells Fabulous: "You don’t think you’re going to have to go through IVF until it doesn’t happen for a long time and you go ‘right there’s a problem, we need to look into it’.
"So I suppose I would try earlier. But then we had a career, we were doing things, we were busy.
"If it happened at that time, maybe it wouldn’t be right for us and we wouldn’t have been ready.
"I suppose you’re never ready but I definitely would (have tried earlier) if I knew I was going to struggle to get pregnant."
But Ola says Strictly pros have to make a choice between dancing and parenthood.
It's something Gorka Marquez will be all too familiar with, having been forced to spend months away from fiancee Gemma Atkinson and daughter Mia, one, who live in Manchester, when he filmed the most recent series in London.
Ola explains: "I couldn’t do Strictly with a baby because I wouldn’t have anyone to look after her.
Strictly takes up so much of your time. You have to pick between something like Strictly or having a family, unfortunately
"Strictly takes up so much of your time that I'd have to have someone 24/7 and I don’t have anyone like that.
"My mum is far away and plus she’s older now, I wouldn’t want her to be running around after a little baby. So yeah it would be hard.
"You have to pick between something like Strictly or having a family, unfortunately."
The Jordans are some of Strictly's best known and loved professionals, with Ola winning the Glitterball trophy with journalist Chris Hollins in 2009.
But she wouldn't return to the show, admitting: "No I wouldn’t go back, I’m definitely too old.
"Strictly takes 24/7 for six or seven months. I love the show and I love watching it, now I'll go ‘ooh can you imagine doing that lift? My back would hurt’.
"I’ve got all sorts of injuries from a life of dancing. So no, I’m quite happy sitting on my sofa with a glass of wine and watching the show."
First-time parenthood has been an extra challenge thanks to Covid, which meant Ola's dad and mum Janina, who live in her native Poland, still haven't been able to meet their granddaughter.
Ola says: "It was just really hard not being around people, because we suddenly had this brand new baby and we didn’t know what we were doing.
"In normal circumstances, your family come over, everyone helps with the baby and gives you tips.
"Suddenly we had this baby and we didn’t have any help, it was just us and Google looking up ‘is this OK?’ So it was really tough not having my mum around.
"In September it will be two years since I’ve seen her. My mum and dad haven’t met my baby yet, which is really tough, but it’s one of those things we have to deal with.
"We don't know when we will see them. My mum hasn’t had her vaccine yet, the roll out is a lot slower than it is in the UK, so I’m not rushing because I don’t want to go there and give them something I shouldn’t.
"I don’t want anyone to get ill but obviously we would love to see them as soon as possible.
"The hardest part of motherhood is making sure I’m doing the right thing.
"I want to be a good mum and I hope I am a good mum but you question yourself with everything – ‘am I feeding her right?’ ‘Am I doing the right thing by teaching her things, playing with her?’
"I just hope I’m doing a good job and you really don’t know, no-one can tell you. Not having my mum around, I question everything I do."
If you have to be in front of millions of people in a tight skimpy costume, you will look at that donner kebab twice. I think I’m definitely more relaxed now, I don’t have to squeeze into those skimpy costumes anymore
As a professional dancer, Ola faced years of pressure to fit into sexy outfits, but her priorities have changed now.
She says: "If you have to be in front of millions of people in a tight skimpy costume, you will look at that donner kebab twice.
"You’re more aware of your body, you want to look your best and also you’re going to be standing next to 10 other girls who look fit and amazing in their skimpy costumes, so yeah there is a pressure, of course there is.
"I think I’m definitely more relaxed now, I don’t have to squeeze into those skimpy costumes anymore. As much as I would love to, it would be hard.
"I’m at a different time in my life now. That’s not the most important thing for me anymore, that time’s been and gone."
Together for more than two decades, James and Ola's passionate relationship once saw them romp in their Strictly dressing room – while legendary host Bruce Forsyth was next door.
But Ola admits there's very little time for romance in their relationship at the moment.
She says: "It’s hard, I never really appreciated when people used to say ‘it’s hard when you have babies’.
"Especially being in lockdown, we couldn’t go out anywhere, we couldn’t leave Ella with anyone so it’s hard to have that alone time.
"If Ella’s got a bit of a tantrum or her teeth coming out, she goes to bed late and then we’re both tired.
"So it’s definitely hard to have the romance, but we’re strong so we’ll be alright."
Tragically, James' dad Allan Jordan passed away on March 13 at the age of 68, having been diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering a series of strokes.
Ahead of his funeral last week, a heartbroken James raised nearly £15,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity by allowing Ola to shave off his hair live on Loose Women.
The dancer grew his hair long during lockdown because of a superstition about his "hero" dad, leaving him too scared to cut it while he was alive.
Ola says: "It is really sad and I think for James, doing something positive like this helps him grieve.
"You’ve got to take something positive out of it and I think that’s what James did.
"To raise so much money for charity was amazing. It makes you realise how many people are losing loved ones to cancer and brain tumours."
With Allan's illness taking precedent, Ola and James have no plans for another baby anytime soon.
She says: "Having James’ dad being so ill, I think that went to the back of our minds. So we haven’t really thought about it just yet."
Ola says motherhood has made her more aware of her own mortality too, explaining: "I think it has made me more emotional.
"It makes you think about stuff you haven’t thought about, like 'what if something happens to me? What’s going to happen to Ella?'
"If I get a bit down and upset, I shake myself and go 'right I need to snap out of this because you need to look after this little baby'.
"I’m quite good at doing that, you just have to wake up sometimes."
In September it will be two years since I’ve seen my mum. She and my dad haven’t met my baby yet, which is really tough
As for James, fatherhood has made him into a "big softie" – while mum takes on disciplinary duties.
Ola says: "He’s a big softie, I always knew he was but I think as a dad he became much more soft than me.
"She’s a daddy’s girl. He’s just so sweet with her. I’ll tell her off for doing something and he’ll just go and give her a cuddle.
"I’m like ‘you can’t do that' but when I watch them together it is really sweet. They’ve got a good relationship, it’s lovely to see.
"Before my baby, I used to say ‘I don’t have time to go to the gym today’ but I had all the time in the world to do things.
"Now I really don’t have time, she doesn’t let me do anything because I have this baby running around.
"She keeps me on my toes but it’s amazing, don’t get me wrong. She’s brilliant, she’s a little character.
"The best part of motherhood is having a little person who looks just like you. She’s got my eyes, I look at her and think ‘yeah I can see you in me when I was little’.
"Just having that little person who is relying on you, like a little shadow, walking behind you all the time. Wherever you go, she’s there, it’s sweet.
"My priorities have changed massively. As soon as that baby’s in your arms, it’s not about you anymore.
"Being an older mum, you’re used to dropping everything and going to meet a friend for a drink but I can’t do that now, you’ve got to think about that little person."
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