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AM Show presenter Melissa Chan-Green’s birthday blessing

Melissa became a mum-of-two and turned 40 in the same milestone month.
Emily Chalk

Beloved broadcaster Melissa Chan-Green’s 40th birthday did not involve a big party, bucketloads of bubbly or a trip abroad. Instead, she spent a low-key day with her husband Caspar, son Busby and her two-week-old bundle of joy Mabel. “It was better than any 40th birthday celebration I could have ever hoped for,” the AM presenter grins.

Although she’s always knocked her career goals out of the park, there was a point where Melissa wasn’t sure she would get the chance to be a mum, so celebrating her big day with her two babies by her side was a dream come true.

“When I was 30, I was over in London, working as Newshub’s Europe correspondent,” recalls Melissa. “Life was busy and the idea of a family just seemed so far away, so distant. I hadn’t met Caspar by then, so in that situation, I just couldn’t see a family ever happening for myself.”

Melissa and Caspar are in a happy routine with kids Mabel and Busby.

Things changed when she met trivia guru Caspar, 43, near the end of her time in the UK. The couple fell in love, Melissa returned to Aotearoa and the pair maintained a two-year long-distance relationship while Caspar established his pub quiz business. In 2018, once he was able to manage it remotely, he moved to Auckland to be with Melissa and they tied the knot on Waiheke Island in February 2019, welcoming Busby a year later.

“I just felt so lucky to have one child, but I knew I was an older mum, so I didn’t think that being able to have a second would be a possibility,” muses Melissa.

“So then having Mabel as well, I feel like I won Lotto twice!”

‘I’ve got a job I enjoy and I also want to be the very best mum I can be’

The besotted mum describes five-month-old Mabel as a dream baby. “She’s a star when it comes to sleeping. I’m only getting up twice a night, which is amazing compared to Busby.

“She’s such a sweetheart. She’s got a really chill temperament – she seems to take everything in her stride, which is interesting because I don’t know if I would describe myself as especially chill!”

Melissa concedes that Mabel might have inherited her laid-back demeanour from Caspar. “He’s definitely pretty relaxed,” she says. “It feels corny to say, but I’m so proud of him as a dad. When we first had Busby, it was a bit of a shock – he’d never really been around small children, let alone had one of his own, but he’s just chill and kind.

“He’s a real hands-on dad, which is a weird thing to say because you wouldn’t describe a mum like that, but – let’s face it – some dads aren’t. It’s very much an equal partnership.”

Celebrating her 40th with her babies.

Both Melissa and Caspar keep odd hours – she’ll be getting up at 3am when she returns to work on AM on 24 October and he’s often making calls or sending emails in the middle of the night as his quiz business is London-based – but their schedules mean they can both spend lots of time with the kids.

Caspar is in charge of taking Busby to daycare, which he attends a few days a week, while Melissa and Mabel head to the library or swimming lessons, then they all get to spend time together in the afternoon.

Melissa says Busby, who turns four in November, is enjoying being a big brother.

“He’s just been really sweet with her. Maybe things will change when she’s trying to take his toys, but at the moment, it’s going really well! The other day, I actually overheard him say to her, ‘Mabel, if ever you’re sad, I will always be here to care for you.’ My heart exploded. That was the sweetest thing.”

“It feels corny to say, but I’m so proud of him as a dad,” says Melissa.

Mabel managed to roll over for the first time on the afternoon of our Woman’s Day photo shoot, so it’s only a matter of time before she’s on the move – and possibly after Busby’s favourite possessions. “We’re going to have to set up some strict rules for Busby’s Lego,” Melissa smiles.

Although while things are picture-perfect for the family at the moment, the journalist didn’t have the easiest pregnancy with Mabel as she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

“Caspar was with me when the doctor told me and I don’t remember anything else from that meeting,” shares Melissa. “I just remember when we went out to the car and I burst into tears. I felt like I’d heard of gestational diabetes, but I didn’t know much about it. Honestly, I thought it meant the ice cream I’d had two weeks earlier had done something to damage my baby.

“I was already nervous about being pregnant and turning 40, so I was like, ‘I have to be really careful in this pregnancy.’ To hear that news just made me anxious that maybe everything wasn’t going to be perfect.”

With AM co-host Ryan.

Melissa discovered that gestational diabetes is relatively common, particularly in older mothers, and her Asian background also put her at greater risk. She says testing her blood glucose levels and injecting insulin turned out to be manageable – it was more the worry about potential pregnancy complications that troubled her.

She did need to stay in hospital longer after giving birth, so Mabel’s blood sugar levels could be tested, and Melissa will need annual tests herself for a while, but she wishes there was more information on gestational diabetes out there for mums.

Melissa with her “helpers” as she gets down to work.

She explains, “I found this online community of people who were talking about it and I realised that gestational diabetes is to do with your hormones – it’s not that you’re not exercising enough or eating badly. For me, the guilt had set in. I feel like a lot of unnecessary angst for mothers could be cut out if we knew that a lot of people do get it and then aren’t affected post-pregnancy.”

Although Melissa’s loved being able to spend these early months with Mabel, she’s also excited to be heading back to work, to sit alongside co-host Ryan Bridge, next week.

“I watch AM pretty much every morning,” she grins.

“I’ve been texting Ryan my thoughts on the things they’ve been talking about on the show quite often, so he’ll probably be pleased that he won’t be dealing with that any more!”

Melissa’s a little bit anxious about managing Mabel’s feeds as she recently had a bad bout of mastitis, but she’s confident that she has a good plan.

She’s also grateful she gets the best of both worlds with her broadcasting job.

“I was only a year and a bit into the role before going on maternity leave. I feel like we’ve just got in and hit the accelerator, so I’m excited to continue the ride! At the same time, I’ve got two little ones who I still really want to make sure I have quality time with – it’s the balance of both for me right now. I’ve got a job I enjoy and I also want to be the very best mum I can be.”

Other than losing “a chunk of sleep”, Melissa says the family’s routine won’t change a lot when she’s back on telly. “I’ll try to nap when Mabel has a nap. She’ll probably still be napping for at least another year, so that should work fine. Then I’ll just go to bed at the same time as the kids.

“But there have been times in the past where Busby and I have been reading a book, and I’m asleep before he is – before we’ve even finished the book!”

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