Nermina and Erik Pieters on their lockdown pregnancy
- Credit: Kirsty Thompson
Nermina Pieters-Mekic, the Bosnian-Dutch model, singer and former Real Housewife of Cheshire, and her husband, professional footballer Erik Pieters, have just had their first, longed-for baby
They spoke to Cheshire Life editor Joanne Goodwin about her experience of being pregnant during the Covid pandemic and the frightening accident that put a temporary stop to Nermina's horseriding
Cheshire is our home. Although I was born in Bosnia and I grew up in the Netherlands, where I’ve met my Dutch husband Erik Pieters, I wouldn’t like to live anywhere else right now. We moved here when Erik played for Stoke City for six years (he now plays for Burnley) and I got to know Cheshire even better when I joined the reality TV show The Real Housewives of Cheshire in season six.
Moving countries is never easy, even though I did it a few times when I was younger. It has its challenges but it’s in my nature to adapt to my environment and when I joined the show I really wanted to get to know new people and get to know Cheshire. For Erik, the move was a little bit easier as he has teammates and a routine but I think for the partners it can be difficult to get out there, make friends and build a (new) life.
Saying that, Erik and I have made Cheshire our life together and what we love the most about living here – besides the fact we’ve made friends for life – is you have everything in one place. We love our long walks with the dogs in the Cheshire countryside and having my horses stabled in Somerford Park is a treat every day.
Our favourite restaurant, Cibo in Wilmslow, is just five minutes from our house and we can be in London in just two hours. And let’s not forget the luxury and glam and social scene we have in normal times in Cheshire. There is just no place like it. If you ask me, it’s unique.
Although the current situation has prevented us from seeing our families who still live in the Netherlands, I can truly say becoming pregnant with our first baby was the highlight of 2020. We have been married for almost five years now and we’ve really enjoyed each other’s company, but the feeling of starting our own family has given a completely different dimension to our marriage. Being in the public eye, we did feel quite some pressure when people would ask us about having children. It’s been a question we had to answer so many times but becoming pregnant wasn’t an easy journey.
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People assumed because we are both are young, and healthy and fit that things would happen naturally for us. Nothing could be less true. We had a miscarriage early last year and I had to have a procedure before I was allowed to try to get pregnant again. I remember at one point thinking maybe we were one of the couples who wouldn’t be able to have kids of our own. It didn’t put pressure on our relationship, but it always stuck in the back of our minds.
We were over the moon when we found out I was pregnant again but apprehensive at the same time, looking back at our history. I struggled with sickness in the first trimester, and with being in lockdown, and despite all the privileges I have, and truly appreciate, not having my family here was not easy.
It made me feel a little lonely and isolated because my life changed from being active and social to being in bed sick all day by myself and not being able to see the people I love to talk about it.
Not having your family around when things like this happen is hard and finding the right hospitals and doctors when you’re not from the area here is even harder. We had to research everything as it was all new for us and we didn’t know who to ask for help.
I’ve gone to Macclesfield General Hospital for my check-ups and went to The Birth Company in Alderley Edge for a private scan.
We are very lucky and appreciative of the NHS healthcare we have been given and I’m really pleased with how we have been looked after. There is so much to take in when you become pregnant, all the changes, mentally and physically, have really made me respect the female body even more.
I’ve embraced all these changes and I’ve accepted my body not being the same anymore. I really like to push myself physically normally, so if anything, I had to learn to take it easy from time to time. Erik has been a great support.
One of my loves is riding, something I did not want to give up, but on Boxing Day I had an accident where I got kicked by another horse and A&E at Macclesfield provided me with the best care. We should all be very grateful for the NHS – the healthcare here isn’t like anywhere else in the world.
Right now Erik and I are just enjoying every stage of the pregnancy and we are counting days to finally meeting our baby in April. There is still so much to do, learn and organise before the baby arrives. It’s a very magical time and we are taking in all special moments in as much as possible. Hopefully, then we will be able to share these special moments with our families and friends.
Erik Pieters says...
It's been emotional. My wife loves her horses more than anything in the world so I couldn't stop her from riding. It's something that makes her happy, and a happy wife, especially a pregnant one, is a happy life. Her horses Sidney and Orson are the most honest and gentle creatures, so I trusted them.
When Nermina phoned me on Boxing Day to tell me she was on her way to the hospital, and not to panic, my heart stopped for a second, and my whole body felt weak. My first thought was if the baby was ok. I had arrived at the hotel in Leeds with Burnley because we had a game the next day.
Even though I knew the fall wasn't Nermina's, or her horse's fault I asked her not to ride again until the baby was born. I'm really proud of the way Nermina has handled everything regarding her pregnancy. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, and as a man, it has kept surprising me in a positive way.'