Ali Stroker 'Always Wondered' About Pregnancy in Wheelchair — Now She's 'Never Been Happier' as a Mom

The Tony Award winner welcomed her first baby, son Jesse, with husband David Perlow in November

Ali Stroker/Instagram
Ali Stroker/Instagram

Ali Stroker is thrilled to be stepping into a new role in her life: Mom.

While speaking to PEOPLE about her starring role as Lady Anne in the Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park's production of Richard III, Stroker chatted about her first few months as a new mom, calling it the "best experience of my life."

The Tony Award winner, 35, and husband David Perlow welcomed their first baby together, son Jesse, in November. In the months since the arrival of her baby boy, Stroker says she's "never been happier."

"Jesse is so special. He's so much fun. He is laughing and smiling, and he doesn't say words, but he is super vocal and makes so many sounds," she shares. "He's just such a light. He's so bright and caring and curious, and we're just so lucky. He's such a good boy."

As a wheelchair user, Stroker says she had "so many questions" growing up as to whether pregnancy would be a possibility for her.

"Growing up I didn't know anybody in a wheelchair, a woman in a wheelchair, who had a baby," she shares. "I always wondered if it was going to be possible for me."

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Related:'Glee' Alum Ali Stroker and Husband David Perlow Welcome First Baby Together: 'We Are So Lucky'

Stroker has been open on social media about her own experience with pregnancy, delivery and new motherhood, explaining that she believes it's "so important to have other people to talk to about it."

"I was so nervous about certain things, like how was I going to get Jesse in the car? How would I be independent with him? I was trying to solve all these things in my head before he came, and then I realized, and everybody says that this is the common sort of motto as a mom and as a parent, is that you just have to figure it out as you go," she explains.

The Glee alum says she and Perlow have found several ways to make their home more accessible with a baby, such as finding a crib with removable legs and using an adjustable desk as a changing table.

"We have a high chair that clips onto the table that doesn't have legs so that I can roll under it and reach him better. I have a car seat that swivels," she continues. "These were all products that I found through other moms in chairs and also just by trial and error. There are so many new things in my life, and I can't tell you how fulfilled I am as a mom."

While Stroker is loving the joys of motherhood, she also opened up about some of the challenges the role can bring.

"The interrupted sleep is difficult. It's very new. In the past six months, I don't think I've been awake for so many hours," she says. "I try to give myself grace and nap when I can, and when I start to feel overwhelmed, take a break."

"Every single person needs a break in this journey of parenthood, and so I'll just look at my husband, and I'll be like, 'All right, I got to take a break.'"

Before becoming a mom, Stroker took on the role of Lady Anne in the Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park's production of Richard III, which she called a "dream opportunity."

"It was a really fun production to be a part of," she shares, noting that she was pregnant with Jesse at the time.

"It was so cool because Jesse was part of it the whole time," she says. "That's just so awesome to feel every night, it was like a little secret that I had."

The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Richard III airs May 19 on PBS at 9 p.m. ET.

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