Heart FM presenter Zoe Hardman and her rugby ace husband Paul Doran Jones proudly presented their beautiful baby girl Luna in an exclusive shoot and interview in HELLO! back in October 2016. "I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with love," Zoe told us at the time. "It's been the most incredible few weeks. People say that you'll never really experience love like it until you have your own child and I didn't really know what they meant until I met her."
Luna weighed in at 6lb 9oz when she arrived on 19 September 2016 after a gruelling labour that ended with a forceps delivery - a stark contrast to the serene water birth Zoe had planned. "I'm blissful and elated," she said. "But also absolutely shattered. Now I know why they use sleep deprivation as a form of torture." Not that Zoe shows any signs of exhaustion. In fact, the new mum is positively glowing as she welcomes us into the Regency house she now calls home, having swapped the showbiz circuit in London for family life in Cheltenham with Paul.
The couple welcomed baby Luna in September 2016
Paul, meanwhile, is already a dad to three-year-old Isla – whose drawings are hung proudly on the kitchen walls – from a previous relationship. "Isla's been like, 'My baby sister' this, 'My baby sister' that," said Zoe. "She's been amazing. There hasn't been an ounce of jealousy. I just can't wait for those two to grow up together. They'll be absolute tearaway."
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Zoe has a ready-made social group in her new home thanks to the tightknit wives and girlfriends of Paul's teammates, many of whom also have children, and close friends Mike and Zara Tindall live nearby with their daughter Mia. "I got such a supportive text from Mike while I was in labour and walking around the park," said Zoe. Paul added: "They're over the moon for us."
A closer look at Zoe's baby's nursery
The couple also opened up about the difficult labour. "They don't call it 'labour' for nothing and I'm sure everyone's birth has its complications," said the presenter, who had been taking hypnobirthing classes and had her heart set on a water birth. "But to be completely honest – and I have to be – I felt really quite traumatised afterwards. It was hardcore. It took me a while to process it and I had to keep talking about it and thinking about it. And I cried a lot about it because I was physically in a lot of pain and also mentally. I wanted to give birth in the water and I wanted it to be really calm and it wasn't. But I've processed it now and I feel really good."
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With a wry smile, she added: "Next time around I'll have an epidural and a cup of tea." Although Zoe is keen to enjoy life as a new mum for a while, there seems no doubt that the couple will add to their brood in the future. "I am totally surrounded by girls now. That's why we need a boy," said Paul. The couple went on to welcome a son, Kit, in April 2018.
Zoe shares her Ibiza wedding plans:
Zoe praised her boyfriend, now husband, for helping her through her birth trauma. "He was such, such a huge support," said Zoe. "He didn't leave my side for the two-and-a-half days that we were in there. He was the most incredible birthing partner: lots of back massages, lots of cuddles and kisses, lots of 'I love yous' – and he hadn't eaten for three days as he'd forgotten to bring snacks in."
Seeing Paul being such a fantastic father has strengthened her feelings for him. "I feel like I was always madly in love with him but, without trying to sound cheesy, you fall more in love with someone when you look at them and think that you've created this life together. I look at him and Luna together and I can't stop crying. It's the most magical thing. He's an amazing father and a great support and I couldn't do it without him."
The couple married in 2017
So how did the couple hit upon the unusual name Luna for their little girl? "Something really, really weird happened to me," said Zoe, wide-eyed as she tells us she was 14 weeks pregnant and in the US on a gruelling charity trek in the Grand Canyon when, for two nights straight, she dreamt she was having a baby girl called Luna. "She's such a Luna," said the new mum. "She's really majestic and beautiful and really calming. There's a lovely aura about her and she's a really chilled baby." Paul added with a laugh: "You can't have a name like Luna and not be quite a cool cat."
Nursery Furniture by Baby Knees.