Real Life

MAFS NZ star Yuki Sato shares daughter Iris’ shock birth

The MAFS NZ star introduces the new addition to her family and reflects on her time on reality TV
Yuki Sato holding daughter IrisPictures: Hagen Hopkins

Married At First Sight New Zealand may not have worked out for her, but Yuki Sato certainly experienced love at first sight with her beautiful baby daughter Iris, who joined the family in a hurry last October.

“Her arrival was very unexpected!” laughs Wellington hairdresser Yuki, 37. “It was two weeks before her due date and I’d had an appointment with the midwife, telling her I’d had a feeling similar to period pain.

“She thought Iris would maybe come that night or the next day, but 15 minutes after I got home, my waters broke and I gave birth to Iris in the living room! I was like, ‘What the hell just happened?!’”

Yuki was shocked by the speedy arrival, but thankful that both her partner and mum happened to be home to play midwife. It was 5pm, so the traffic was gridlocked and there was no way professional help could arrive in time.

Yuki’s partner phoned for an ambulance and together they followed instructions from the operator, her partner literally catching Iris as she entered the world. Yuki’s mum stayed with their elder daughter Starla throughout, her bedroom door firmly closed.’

“I’m not sure what Starla thought because I was really yelling and screaming right next to her door!” giggles Yuki. “Luckily, it wasn’t too long because the birth was so quick.”

Yuki’s mum had flown over from Japan for the birth. She was staying for two months to help support Yuki and spend time with her grandchildren.

“It was just the best to have her here,” she shares. “The birth confused mum, though. In Japan, you stay in hospital for quite a long time to recover. But because I had Iris unexpectedly at home, our midwife just stitched me up in my own bed and then left me to it!”

Yuki has always wanted children. So, her thrill is evident as she now embraces having two daughters with her partner of three years, the same partner she was dating when Woman’s Day last caught up with her in 2021.

Luckily Yuki’s mum was on hand when baby Iris made her shock arrival.

“My partner and I met on Bumble,” she shares. “I fell pregnant quite quickly. Actually, at that photoshoot, I was already pregnant, but it was a chaotic time, so I didn’t say anything!”

Because of the pregnancy, the couple didn’t have much time to bond as boyfriend and girlfriend. However, they both still wanted to be parents, so they committed to making it work.

“He’s the best person to be a parent with,” Yuki gushes. “He’s a good father – he plays with his daughters and tries to see things from a different perspective. But he’s a private person. He doesn’t want to be in the public eye.”

While Yuki is delighted to be a mum, she notes family life isn’t all roses.

“We’re definitely in the chaotic stage of parenthood! It’s so easy for me to lose my cool because the mental load is a lot. I really struggle with dividing my time between my little one, the older one and my partner. I had to stop looking at social media. It was showing me unrealistic expectations of being a mum, which made me sad.”

Now juggling motherhood and hairdressing, Yuki will soon add psychology studies to the mix!

Stuck at home with a sore tummy, Starla, three, couldn’t come to our photoshoot, but Yuki says she’s a really cheerful, outgoing little girl, who takes after her partner, while chilled-out seven-month-old Iris is more like her.

“They’re quite different but both nice girls,” says the former reality TV star. She closed her hairdressing salon last year after finding it too hard to juggle a small business and a young family. She has now enrolled full-time in university to study psychology.

Yuki explains, “Studying is therapeutic for me and I’ve wanted to learn more about human behaviour for a long time. As a hairdresser, people treat you like a counsellor. It fascinates me how much they’ll share with another person. Eventually maybe I’ll be a psychologist for MAFS – tell John Aiken I’m going to take over!”

And despite things not working out between her and MAFS husband Dan McLaughlan – whom she married on the second season of the show in 2018 and split from in 2020 – Yuki says she can’t wait to watch the new series, which premieres on Three on Sunday 26 May.

With MAFS husband Dan. “The break-up was my fault,” says Yuki.

“Even though we didn’t stay together, I really learnt about myself. In hindsight, my break-up with Dan was my fault. I take full responsibility. I didn’t prioritise us as a couple – I was too selfish and prioritised my work.

“At the same time, he wasn’t ready for kids and I was so focused on that. I don’t know where he is at now, but I wish him well. I’m excited to watch this year’s contestants go on the journey to find love!”

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