When Kiwi actor Ido Drent’s wife Mandy found out she was pregnant with their son Bastion back in 2014, she created the most romantic setting to share the happy news – penning a romantic letter to Ido telling him that God had “knitted” them a baby.
But this time, mother’s intuition kicked in early and Mandy couldn’t help but spill her suspicion to Ido straight away. After a series of negative pregnancy tests, Ido admits he wasn’t quite so convinced. Mandy, though, rushed out and bought a double buggy!
“I had no doubt whatsoever,” she smiles. “We ended up doing about 20 pregnancy tests before it finally came back positive, but I always knew it would. I just had the strongest feeling I was pregnant – it was quite incredible. Nothing could have told me otherwise.”
But Offspring star Ido, 29, laughs that, in hindsight, signs of hormonal change were there from the very beginning.
“I guess I knew something was up when she rang me crying her eyes out from a car park in LA because she’d lost her parking ticket. She was hysterical, like it was the worst thing in the world. I was like, ‘Babe, calm down. We’ll just pay the money and it will be fine.’”
Since then, the little family – who’ve become used to dividing their time between Auckland, Australia and Los Angeles for Ido’s TV and film roles – has returned to New Zealand to prepare for baby number two, due in November. They were delighted to find out they’re expecting a girl.
“We had this idea of getting the sonographer to write down what gender the baby is in an envelope and having a big ‘gender reveal’ cake, but as soon as we saw the screen, we were both like, ‘It’s a girl!’” tells Mandy, 28.
“It was pretty obvious it wasn’t a boy, let’s put it that way,” laughs Ido, who admits he’s always dreamed of having a daughter. “All parent-child relationships are special, but I think there’s something unique about the bond between a father and daughter. I would’ve been happy either way, but I’m excited about having a girl.”
The committed Christians are keen to have a big family and know that while the 19-month gap between Bastion – known as Baz or Bazzy – and his little sister will be hard work, they’re confident it will pay off.
“We are under no illusion about how hard it will be,” tells Ido. “But I like the idea that they’ll never know life alone. And we’re used to the chaos of being parents now!”
Adds Mandy, “We’ll just try to embrace the chaos. With the first baby, you have all these romantic ideas about what it’s going to be like. This time around, our eyes are definitely wide open. But I can’t wait to see Baz with his sister – that’s what I’m most excited about. I think he’ll love her.”
Life is certainly a little hectic when we arrive at Ido and Mandy’s rented Auckland house for our Woman’s Day photo shoot. The pair, who are in the midst of building a family home on the North Shore, are heading off on holiday later that night, so there’s a half-packed suitcase in the middle of the living room. And Ido has just run in from filming a last-minute audition tape.
Little Bastion is having a tough day – he’s teething and a touch grizzly – but Mandy and Ido do their best to soothe him as they tell us that parenting has only strengthened their bond.
“I’ve matured so much since becoming a dad,” says Ido, who has recently finished filming the sixth season of Offspring, where he plays therapist Lawrence Pethbridge.
“I feel like there’s a different weight to me now and it’s made me a better person. And I’m continually amazed by Mandy because she’s an incredible mum. It’s like there’s a deeper understanding between us now. We have more grace for each other.”
Ido – who will appear in Prime’s Brokenwood Mysteries next month – has had pretty much back-to-back roles since his debut as Daniel Potts on Shortland Street in 2009. But he confesses the uncertain life of an actor has become tougher since becoming a parent.
“You have to trust in the process, but it definitely adds a level of stress not knowing when the next pay cheque might come in. It can be quite scary, so I have to work on keeping my mental state in check. Ultimately, my family is the most important thing to me, so I’ll do whatever it takes to look after them.”
With three months to go before baby number two, Mandy is much more relaxed about the labour. Last time, she studied hypnobirthing and was disappointed that she needed an epidural after many hours of complications.
“I am aiming for a natural birth again, but ultimately, as long as we have a healthy little baby at the end, that’s all that matters,” says Mandy. “And to be honest, the labour is the least of my worries. My big focus is still Bazzy and what it’s going to be like for him to share our attention.”Like Baz, their little girl will be born in Auckland. And no matter what sort of birth they have, Ido and Mandy can’t wait to meet their second bundle of joy. “It’s going to be so good,” smiles Ido.
“There’s nothing quite like being a dad – you get to watch as their personalities unfold. It’s just this beautiful and pure relationship with your kid. Nothing can compare.”