The miracle of life should never be taken for granted. Mom-to-be Jill Scott can attest. Having been told she couldn’t conceive, the singer and actress is elated at the prospect of motherhood. ESSENCE.com chatted with the Philly native and star of HBO’s upcoming “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” about her surprising news, future nuptials, and why she’s had to take a dose of the “big girl” reality pill.
ESSENCE.COM: Congrats, Ms. Scott! We are so happy for you. What was your gut reaction when you learned you were pregnant?
JILL SCOTT: Shock. I didn’t think it was possible for me to have kids because I was told I couldn’t conceive. I had given up hope of becoming a mother one day.
ESSENCE.COM: What a blessing—a miracle baby! After you got over the shock where did you stand emotionally?
SCOTT: I had to slow down because after I found out, I was supposed to leave for Africa the next day. I called my doctor and talked about what I needed to do, what I couldn’t do and what I could do. I was just trying to take as many precautions and be as knowledgeable as I possibly could. Quite frankly, I was freaked out and everyone was asking me, “What are you going to do?” My agent was distraught, but it wasn’t about anybody else other than me finding out if the baby was going to be okay, so that’s what I did first—slow down.
ESSENCE.COM: Is that the sole reason that you chose to prolong the news?
SCOTT: Well, yes, that was a large part of it. Because I’m 36 and considered a high risk for pregnancy, I wanted to make sure that everything was okay. My closest friends and family knew and that was enough for me. Oddly enough, as pregnant as I am, I didn’t have time to enjoy my pregnancy because I was working in Botswana for four and a half months playing someone else. It was a lot of hard work, and I’m not tripping about it because it was a wonderful opportunity and experience. So right now I’m chillin’— enjoying looking at cribs, mobiles, growing and finding maternity clothes and sleeping (laughs.)
ESSENCE.COM: So have you chosen a name yet?
SCOTT: (Chuckles.) Yes, but we want the baby to be the first to hear it.
ESSENCE.COM: We can respect that. Are you having a boy or a girl?
SCOTT: A boy. He will make his grand entrance mid-April.
ESSENCE.COM: Now you’ll have two men around the house to take care of you. Your fiancé and drummer, Lil Jon Roberts, must be thinking, “I’m the Man!”
SCOTT: (Laughs.)We’re in the same place as far as just the initial shock and just feeling so blessed to be having this child. But yeah, that would make him “The Man” to do what can be done. It’s funny because I remember one day I was feeling a little down and I said to my girlfriend, “I guess I’ve missed my opportunity to be a mom,” and she responded, “No, you just haven’t met the right man yet.” I’ve always believed that everything on this earth has a rightful key that fits and he was mine.
ESSENCE.COM: Now, Ms. Jill, that’s another song right there—“Right Key” or maybe the new version to “Padlock to My Heart.” So what kind of cravings are you having and which of your favorite foods can you no longer stomach?
SCOTT: (Laughs.) I craved salty foods. I used to eat mustard, olives and pickles all together in a sandwich. Now I don’t want anything. I’m having a hard time building an appetite. I have to force myself to eat. I just can’t figure out what I want. I’ll have a taste for something, make it and then be like, Nah, I don’t think so. I’m real difficult right now.
ESSENCE.COM: So do you and Mr. Roberts plan to get hitched after the baby arrives?
SCOTT: No, there’s just so much happening. We didn’t plan for this, but God obviously had other plans. We planned to enjoy ourselves and maybe try the endometriosis treatment thing [which can enhance fertility] and try to start a family.
ESSENCE.COM: They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. What have you enjoyed most about wearing motherhood?
SCOTT: You know, I’ve had to take a dose of the “big girl” pill in many different areas. What I mean by that is, for so long I’ve been able to be carefree—frolicking in my life. I didn’t have to be responsible for anyone else but myself, my mother and my grandmother. I’ve been free to do what I want, when I want. Now I have to watch what I eat, how I eat, make sure I get enough rest. Before I was just running and now, I’m so much more responsible and thoughtful and that’s a good thing.
ESSENCE.COM: So do you think you’ll be a good mom?
SCOTT: I hope so. It might sound odd but I’m parenting now even though my son hasn’t arrived yet. I have to be aware that I’m someone’s mom and in three months he’ll be here. Therefore, I have to be aware of my energy and my attitude. I don’t want to be the funky, pregnant lady just because I can. I really have to make an effort to be conscious of everything about me because it’s no longer about me, but my child. I don’t feel like talking or anything now. I just want to be silent and experience all of this. There are so many amazing things happening at once.
ESSENCE.COM: So how did you survive nearly five months in Botswana for your HBO Series “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency?”
SCOTT: Girl, I almost didn’t. It was so hot in Botswana. I wanted to go home but the reality was that it was a dream job; I worked really hard to get it, and more importantly, I really didn’t want my son to see me as a quitter. In the meantime, it’s still difficult to remain calm. I have to acknowledge the fact that I wasn’t and learn not to be so hype about the job, rushing and forcing myself. I had to be patient and others had to learn to be patient with me even if they didn’t want to. Because, you know, when you’re filming, folks are ready to go.
ESSENCE.COM: You sound like you’re glowing. All we can think about is the wonderful influence motherhood will have on you musically.
SCOTT: Yes, I’ve been writing. A lot of things are on my mind. As a woman, I hear better, I smell better, my taste buds are different and I feel so much more like a sexual being than I ever have. I’ve learned a lot about men and mothers. I’ve never appreciated mothers this much, or even my mother, until now as I sit in a room with my grandmother, my mother and now my son. It’s truly amazing what’s happened to me and there’s a lot to say and I can’t wait to say it.
ESSENCE.COM: What parting words do you have for those sisters who might have given up on becoming mothers?
SCOTT: It’s so hard to believe, it’s hard to have faith, especially when things aren’t working out. It’s difficult and a challenge when you continuously ask for what you want and need in your life or at least what you think you want and need in your life, but that’s when you have to believe and have faith the most. Who knows how the blessings will flow or at what time or what hour those lessons are going to come. So I’d simply share to learn to be grateful for everything. When you give up, when you start to believe again, when you’re crying, when it hurts so bad, when you’re too embarrassed to face anybody— whatever—just be thankful because I believe that’s all God really wants from us is to be appreciative. It’s been my way of thinking and I’m hoping to teach this lil’ one these things.