Univision TV Host Pamela Silva on Giving Birth Mid-Pandemic and Starting a New Chapter in Her Life
The renowned co-host of Primer Impacto talks to People en Español exclusively about her new life with baby Ford and her plans for returning to work.
Pamela Silva had the scare of her life when her son, Ford, arrived three weeks before his May due date. The Spanish-language media titan and Emmy winner — who had been co-hosting Univision's Primer Impacto from home due to the coronavirus pandemic — tried not to panic when she started to experience early contractions in mid-April. On April 21, the Peruvian journalist, 38, worked as usual, but when her water broke unexpectedly, she headed to the hospital in Miami.
Many fans couldn’t believe their eyes when the TV host Instagrammed a photo with her newborn in May, confirming that she'd become a mother after keeping her pregnancy intensely private — she didn't show her belly on her show or on social media until after she'd already given birth. The news was doubly shocking given that she'd just filed for divorce from her husband, television executive Cesar Conde, in January (though the announcement didn't become public for two months). Silva had been married to Conde, the new president of NBC Universal News Group, for 10 years, but in court documents obtained by People en Español, both parties accepted that Ford is not Conde's son.
When news of Silva's pregnancy first broke in March, speculation about the reason for her split with Conde was rampant. Silva won't address any rumors, except to say that she very much "desired" Ford and the timing was perfect. "The nights alone and the lack of sleep are difficult, but I still enjoy it all very much," she tells People en Español. "I haven't complained even a single day, because even though I may have dark circles under my eyes or feel tired, I haven't been happier in my entire life."
Silva says there was no calculated reason for her top-secret pregnancy, beyond any parent's understandable worries about complications. "I had a lot of fear that something would go wrong," she says. "When he was already in my arms was the moment I wanted to share it." Giving birth in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic only intensified her anxiety, though she did test negative for the virus prior to entering the delivery room.
Silva had a healthy pregnancy and planned to have a natural birth, but after 14 hours in labor, she needed an emergency C-section. "I worried if everything was OK with the baby because his blood pressure was dropping," she recalls. "He had his umbilical cord wrapped twice around his little neck when they took him out. I just wanted to hear him cry and know that he was safe. Until I saw him, I couldn't believe it."
Unfortunately, mom and baby weren't quite out of the woods at that point, either. Because Ford was premature, he had to stay 10 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. “You want to come back home with your baby in your arms, and having to see his empty crib was really hard," she says, getting teary-eyed. While still dealing with intense pain from her C-section, she returned to the hospital every day to breastfeed Ford and spend a few hours with her newborn. Her sister Paloma would drive her. “Being pregnant during the pandemic has been a totally different experience, a difficult one, but I also think it has strengthened my bond with my son because in most situations he and I were alone, just the two of us,” she says.
When she was finally able to bring her son to his cozy home in Miami, she felt fulfilled. “I wanted a name that was short and powerful,” Silva says of Ford, who shares his name with the son of a fashion designer friend. Her mother, Rosario Rodríguez, chose Liam as her grandchild's middle name. “I see her so devoted to her little boy," Rodríguez says of Silva. "She always wants to have him near her. Pamela always longed to be a mother.” Rodríguez, along with Paloma, gave the new mom their unconditional help during her first weeks with the newborn at home.
In mid-July, when her maternity leave is over, Silva will return to the small screen — and to her coveted throne at Univision, which has been her second home for the past 17 years. The working mom will leave the baby in the care of a trusted nanny during the day. "Ford has come to push me to do new things," says Silva. "I have to make it — I have no option. He inspires me to continue working, to be better as a woman and as a professional."
She won't be alone as a new mother at Primer Impacto; her co-host, Michelle Galván, is expecting her first daughter this summer. Her coworkers were unconditionally supportive, she says, from the first moment that they found out she was pregnant. "There comes a point when the belly is noticeable," says Silva, who only gained 20 pounds during pregnancy. "Even though you couldn't really notice it on the air, you could in person. It's not that I hid it — I just didn't announce it, which is very different."
Shutting out the world — and staying away from social media — helped her hang on to her inner peace while prepping for life with Ford. When she chose not to reveal the identity of her baby's father, some of her followers speculated that she had secretly used a surrogate. "Many people questioned it — 'she wasn't pregnant.' I was pregnant and had a huge belly!" jokes Silva. She also says she felt so radiant and full of positive energy during her pregnancy that she hasn't ruled out giving Ford a little brother or sister in the future. "I would love to be pregnant again. The love I feel for Ford is so great that I would love to live that again."
Becoming a new mom in the public eye after news of her divorce came out was not easy, and Silva has this message for social media users: "You have to be careful with your words, with the things you tell people, with the comments you make, because there are other people involved. Now I have a son who is a part of me. As a mother, one gets more sensitive and protective."
As a public figure, being judged by strangers is not new for her. “When you work in media, it’s a whole package," she explains. "You have to accept the good and the bad. I never complain, I accept it. I don’t see it as pressure, it’s part of my reality. You have to adapt. You have to be centered in your reality, your inner peace, in your faith, and live your present. That’s how I faced this pregnancy.”
Even with the less-than-ideal circumstances surrounding Ford's birth, Silva couldn't be happier with how her life has changed. "When you feel happiness and self-confidence — in accepting how things happened and accepting how things are — that gives you an inner peace that allows you to enjoy each moment," she says. "My son is the love of my life now, and he has filled me with a kind of joy that I didn't imagine was possible."
Silva, who identifies herself as a single mom, does not reveal whether she is in a new romantic relationship or raising Ford with his dad. “My son gave me hope again and he is very fortunate," she says. "He has love on all sides — and unconditional support on all sides — and in time, people will learn more about my son, when he is a bit older. My son has a family, he has love to spare, but I am the person mainly responsible for my son. The story continues and there are still many things to tell.”
For more with Pamela and her new baby, pick up the new issue of People en Español, now on newsstands.