Mother's Day Is Every Day for Showbiz Women Who Mix Maternity with Celebrity

updated 05/02/1983 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/02/1983 01:00AM

In a mirror-ringed rehearsal studio at New York's Radio City Music Hall, Sandy Duncan, 37, and her third (and six-years-younger) husband, hoofer Don Correia, limber up for a dance extravaganza they will star in next month with the high-kicking Rockettes. The couple's agreement with the producer does not call for long-stemmed roses or a steady supply of iced Dom Perignon—but that their dressing room come equipped with a crib for son Jeffrey, 7 months.

Downtown on lower Fifth Avenue, flame-haired Blair (Altered States) Brown is trying on 1960s pillbox hats and knee-baring pastel suits for her role as Jacqueline Kennedy in the miniseries Kennedy, which will air on NBC later this year. Snoozing nearby, surrounded by swatches and wigs and watched over by his nanny, is 1-year-old Robert Jordan, Blair's son by swarthy actor Richard {Interiors, Captains and the Kings) Jordan, 44.

A chauffeur-driven limo wends its way down Manhattan's East Side, and inside Good Morning America co-host Joan Lunden nurses 6-week-old Lindsay, her second daughter. When they arrive, Lunden, 32, passes the baby to a production assistant, gets a last-minute touch-up from the makeup woman, and tapes an interview with Bob Hope in his hotel suite.

These career women can afford baby-sitters, of course. What they can't afford, they feel, is to miss out on being with their very young children. Other celebrity moms—Jill Clayburgh, Olivia Hussey, Jaclyn Smith, Lucie Arnaz, rocker Chrissie Hynde, Clio Goldsmith and Lindsay Wagner—also are taking up the challenge of combining a profession with parenthood. "I got to a point in my life where I had some of the things I thought I always wanted," explains Brown, 35, of her decision to have a child. "I was happy about my work, but I found it really wasn't enough." Clio Goldsmith, the sizzling 25-year-old star of France's The Gift and mother of Talita, born last September, echoes Brown's sentiments. "I made Talita," she says, "because I wanted somebody else to think about. In this job you think about yourself the whole goddamn time."

Motherhood has proved a happy diversion from that kind of narcissism for most of these women. "When you're an actress, you may lose your occupation unless you stay very svelte," says the 5'6" Brown. She gained a hefty 50 pounds during her pregnancy and, after her son was born, put her career on hold for another seven months until she reduced to 115.

Duncan, who made her last stage appearance during her third month, ballooned from 107 to 157 and used pregnancy as "an excuse not to be disciplined." That included dropping out of exercise classes because they were "a big bore." Broadway's Peter Pan is paying for it now with daily ballet, aerobic and fitness classes; Duncan has five pounds more to go. GMA 's Lunden put on 40 pounds, but she took some solace in the fact that her husband, TV producer Michael Krauss, 43, gained right along with her. Both are postponing diets until Lunden stops nursing.

Morning sickness prevented 31-year-old Olivia Hussey from working during her pregnancy with second son Maximillian, born in January. "It didn't leave me for nine months," she reports. Nausea also plagued Lunden, but eating a large bowl of buttered noodles daily helped her to stay on the air until two weeks before giving birth.

Childbirth classes are de rigueur for '80s parents; Lunden and Krauss opted for Lamaze. Duncan and Brown (and their spouses) took similar instruction, but their children were delivered by cesarean after long labors—26 hours in Duncan's case, 20 in Brown's. Unlike her American counterparts, Milan-based Goldsmith unabashedly declares that she doesn't feel birth is a spectator sport, either for herself ("I want to see my baby arrive all clean with its little pink sweater, shoes and hat") or for her husband, TV producer Carlo Puri ("I wouldn't wish witnessing it on anybody, least of all Carlo").

To be sure, there are distinct advantages to being a rich and famous mom. Like the nanny that accompanied Lucie Arnaz, 31, and hubby Laurence Luckinbill when, according to Lucie, they took No. 1 son Simon "everywhere." Simon, now 2½ years old, will tag along with them, as well as the family's newest addition, 4-month-old Joseph, when Mom and Dad tour the country this summer in I Do! I Do! Lunden's au pair enabled her to go back before the cameras when Lindsay was 3 weeks old. "I would never recommend that anyone else do what I did," says Lunden. "Having to go back on the air is an unusual need."

Goldsmith returned to work, filming a European TV miniseries, six weeks after giving birth. She leaves Talita with a nanny and sometimes her mother-in-law. Brown's full-time mother's helper is now traveling with her and Robert on location in Hyannis, Palm Beach and Richmond, Va. for Kennedy.

Caring for Jeffrey was the easy part for Duncan; he merely adapted to her Broadway-shaped timing, going to bed at 1:30 a.m., waking briefly for an 8:30 feeding, then sleeping till noon. (Having a full-time baby-sitter doesn't hurt either.) The hard part is going back to work. "I haven't missed it," she says, "and I'm so nervous, I'm seeing a psychiatrist to help me get over the feeling that I can't do it."

"There is no greater change in a woman's life than having a baby," allows Lunden. Goldsmith agrees. "I saw everything in a dream, La Vie en Rose. I even painted my flat pink," she admits. "It never came into my mind all the problems—the nannies, the nappies, the crying—that fall upon you when you've got a child." Says Brown, between fittings for her role as Jackie: "I don't see how people with no money for help and no options do it." But they do, Blair. They do.

Written by BONNIE JOHNSON, reported by correspondents in Los Angeles, New York and Rome

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