Entertainment TV Sunrise’s Edwina Bartholomew on her ‘quite torturous’ pregnancy
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Sunrise’s Edwina Bartholomew on her ‘quite torturous’ pregnancy

Edwina Bartholomew Neil Varcoe
Edwina Bartholomew and husband Neil Varcoe (last September) are "ready for the next chapter" when their first baby is born. Photo: Instagram
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After filming Seven’s Sunrise one winter morning, Edwina Bartholomew sounds chirpy on the phone, talking about expecting her first baby.

“I feel good,” Bartholomew, 36, tells The New Daily.

“It’s a funny thing. I think pregnancy has a lot of similarities to shift work. You feel a bit hungover and jet lagged. So I’m actually not any more exhausted than I normally am.”

The next day, an email pings from the South Australian country girl turned breakfast TV newsreader.

Edwina Bartholomew
“Well that escalated quickly,” said Bartholomew, sharing her baby news on June 6. Photo: Instagram

“After speaking yesterday, I returned home to have a nap on the couch for three hours and then went to bed at 8pm and still couldn’t get up to go to work at 5am,” she wrote.

Bartholomew had to call in sick to Sunrise, then go back to sleep for four hours, “So please disregard my comments about feeling hunky dory.

“Turns out that’s bullsh-t and I’m buggered,” she said.

“I think I probably just needed to admit that to myself.”

Now 24 weeks along, Bartholomew – who finished Sydney’s City2Sea in August – has every reason to be exhausted.

The polite response out of the way, she describes her spotlit pregnancy as  “quite torturous. It hasn’t been whale music and massage”.

First up, she and her journalist husband Neil Varcoe, 37, are renovating their Sydney home, and “it isn’t like an aesthetic renovation where you want to do a few nice things”, she says.

“It’s an empty house that’s falling apart, a crumbling house. Two Chilean backpackers on Airtasker helped me move boxes out.”

While the couple (and blue heeler Mate) was homeless, Varcoe developed a mould allergy and checked into a hotel to live while Bartholomew couch-surfed at “a squat” in Bondi.

“People often say you never forget your first pregnancy. I genuinely won’t forget mine,” she says.

“It’s quite hilarious. I think the baby will be resilient, a Survivor baby.”

Bartholomew first suspected she was pregnant during a getaway with Varcoe to their 1890s sandstone farmhouse in the Capertee Valley, New South Wales.

Neil Varcoe Edwina Bartholomew
Neil Varcoe, Bartholomew and Mate on a family drive in June. Photo: Instagram

“I was worried I’d done shift work for so long I couldn’t convince my body it was OK to get pregnant, so I took three weeks off and we went to the farm, and as it turns out I was already pregnant.”

Johanna Griggs had dropped in to film a segment for Better Homes and Gardens, and Bartholomew bought “this amazing soft cheese but suddenly I couldn’t stand the smell,” she says.

“Jo was saying, ‘This is delicious’, and I was like, ‘Get it away from me.’ I said to my husband, ‘I think we might be pregnant’ but we were away from shops so I couldn’t do a test.

“I ended up doing one in a Westfield bathroom and it turned out negative. But I still felt weird so I bought another test and went home and that was positive.”

Bartholomew then had to keep her big news a secret until she was 12 weeks along, “but most of the female viewers had already guessed”, she says.

“It is a bit hard to hide on national TV.”

While she only had mild morning sickness and a craving for Mexican food, “for a while I was a little bit concerned about the long-term health of the child surviving on Jatz crackers,” she says.

The straightforward star says finding “a bra that fits and the correct maternity undies that don’t give you a double muffin top” has been tricky.

“I’ve always been a size 12-14, then you start putting on five, 10 kilos and you still have to wrap that in something presentable for work.

“I don’t want that to sound like a whinge. Your body becomes this amazing womanly force, and the best part is I feel so natural, like everything that is supposed to happen is happening,” she says.

“You suddenly become part of this secret club that your girlfriends have known for so long.”

Bartholomew and Varcoe met while working at Sydney radio station 2GB, “then continued our flirtations via Facebook after I left”, she says.

Together “around 10 years”, they wed at their farm in April 2018. 

The newsreader, who will take maternity leave from around November then return to Sunrise in June or July, hopes they can squeeze in a getaway “somewhere tropical” before they become parents.

They haven’t found out their baby’s gender.

“I just always thought it’s one of the world’s last surprises,” Bartholomew says.

“The great adventure.”

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