Former WWE wrestler and ‘GoDaddy Girl’ Candice Michelle and her husband KenGee Ehrlich are proud first-time parents to 2-week-old daughter AkiAnne. The 31-year-old new mom opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the joys – and adjustments – to motherhood, her breastfeeding plans and how the WWE somewhat prepared her for the rigors of motherhood.
CBS: Congrats on the arrival of your daughter AkiAnne Rose. How is she doing?
CM: “She is doing awesome actually. She sleeps through much of the night, such a good baby. Breastfeeding is a little difficult to get the hang of because she wants to eat all the time. But that is a good thing mommy is getting used to this marathon breastfeeding at nighttime.”
CBS: How has motherhood been so far?
CM: “It has been so awesome. I just feel so blessed in my life because we had planned on having a baby. I have so many friends and acquaintances that have had babies by accident or they weren’t married and they have been just amazing raising their kids. Now, having our own, I see how difficult it is and I just feel so blessed that I’m ready for this, and that I’m at this chapter in my life, and have a wonderful husband that helps me out with half of everything.”
CBS: Tell us a funny story related to how motherhood changes you.
CM: “I had a Saturday where I had pumped enough breast milk so I could take a couple hours and go to the gym and just sort of do my thing. I was really looking forward to that and then the whole time I was gone, I was worrying about her and missing her! I am like, “okay, I worked so hard to pump this milk so I could have some of my own time and here I am just missing her the whole time!”
CBS: Are you exhausted or are you able to get some sleep?
CM: “I actually get sleep. I’m so happy about that. She sleeps about 5 ½ hours at night and gets up and eats, then sleeps another two hours and eats, another two hours and then eats. So I am getting enough sleep. My WWE schedule always kept me busy. Sometimes I only got an hour of sleep and then I’d have to go and wrestle. That prepared me somewhat.
When we do the marathon breastfeeding at night that can be 3-5 hours of me sitting on my tushy on the couch. That can emotionally and physically drain you so just getting into the flow of that is challenging.”
CBS: Do you have a plan as to how long you want to breastfeed?
CM: “My husband has an idea of a year, I have an idea of more like 6 months. So we will see as we’re now at one month. It’s a lot of responsibility with pumping and I plan to go back to work in September. So we’ll just see how my schedule is as I think that will be a big deciding factor with everything. I’m going to try for as long as possible since I know it’s the best medicine for her.”
CBS: How did you come up with the name AkiAnne?
CM: “My husband is Japanese and my husband’s mom’s name is Akia and my mom’s middle name is Anne. Both of our moms have passed on and are in heaven so they are her little guardian angels which is why we joined the two names to make AkiAnne.”
CBS: Do you feel any pressure to lose the baby weight? Are you on a regular fitness regime?
CM: “That’s the thing about breastfeeding, I’m burning so many calories. All I’ve really been able to do is walk because I don’t want to not have enough milk for her. So we walk everyday and between that and the breastfeeding, I have already dropped 24 pounds in three weeks so I’m actually feeling really great about it. I have to hold myself back because I’m so athletic and so into getting that release from stress or pressure and letting the endorphins flow.
AkiAnne loves to sleep in her stroller so walking has been a good fit. I really don’t feel so much pressure. I feel like the weight is just really coming off very naturally and I think that, by the time I need to go back to work, I’ll be where I need to be so I’m very thankful for that.”
CBS: Tell us about your experiences in the WWE, did you enjoy it?
CM: “Yeah I loved it. It was amazing. For me it was the best of both worlds being athletic and doing a sport and still being on television. It was so much fun and we traveled the world and we have the most amazing fans. It was a great 5 years of my life and really helped prepare me for this stage of my life which is funny as I would have never thought it would have.”
CBS: Do you think the WWE portrays women in a positive light?
CM: “I think it’s up to every individual to help portray themselves in a positive light and determine what’s okay for each individual’s standards. When you are with the WWE, they kind of help you with your character, but you are really in control of your character. They always say they give you a platform to become a star and then it is up to you to make yourself a star and I believe in that. If they ask you to go out and do something you don’t want to do, you need to have a backbone and say that you don’t want to.
Sometimes, there’s the ‘T and A’ aspect and when I started I sort of felt that I was just the eye candy of the show, but it was my start and I was okay with that. When I really wanted to start wrestling, I really had to fight my way out of that and earn the respect of the fans. It really is up to you to make your own way.”
CBS: You appeared nude in Playboy. Is this something you plan to discuss with AkiAnne?
CM: “It’s one of those things that will come up and I will have to discuss it. I am so proud of my Playboy shoot and it was actually a dream come true for me to do the cover of Playboy, but once you have a little girl your views change. You become very protective and I totally have the motherly instincts. In reality, whatever her goals and dreams are I will support, just like my mother did.”
CBS: Are you and your husband hoping for more kids in the future?
CM: “I think so. I’ve always had this number of 3 in my mind of how many I wanted. Things are going really good but I am only in week three right now. I think when the time is right, we will have more. I want to have a big family even though I came from a smaller family.”
CBS: Are you continuing your work as brand ambassador for GoDaddy.com?
CM: “Absolutely, GoDaddy has been so incredible throughout my entire career and all the changes in my life. They have supported me as a wrestler and now as a mom. AkiAnne has her own domain and her very own website, akiannerose.com. It’s such a great opportunity because it’s really sort of like cell phones nowadays where everyone has one. We have family in Japan and Wisconsin and it’s hard to get photos and information to all these people. So I have photos of my pregnancy and AkiAnne on there, and I wrote a blog about my 42 hour labor. It is really awesome for everyone to be able to share that and I have GoDaddy to thank for all of that.”
CBS: Did I just hear you say 42 hour labor?
CM: “Yeah, I was having a home birth and was in labor for 31 hours. Due to her positioning etc., we needed a little help so we did end up going to the hospital.”
CBS: Are you working on any other projects or with charities?
CM: “I am working with the Los Angeles Youth Network (LAYN) and I also a mentor for them. This has just been an awesome opportunity for me to be able to give back. That was one of my main things when I wasn’t with WWE any more. Actually I was at the end of my career when I was injured and couldn’t wrestle any more and I was just feeling really grateful for everything I had. Being able to give back and to mentor one of the girls and has been just awesome.”