Being pregnant and giving birth to your first child can be overwhelming enough—but experiencing both during a worldwide pandemic is something Katy Blakey and her husband Joey Mongaras will never forget. Even more unique was that Blakey, an NBC 5 anchor and reporter, was more immersed in the pandemic than most, reporting about it almost 24/7 during her last 6 weeks of pregnancy.
During that time and after daughter Harper’s birth, Blakey and Mongaras were both working from home—so they had more time together to prepare and learn to parent than most new moms and dads get. And because of all the support Blakey received, sometimes from virtual strangers, she felt surrounded even during COVID-19 isolation. So while 2020 was incredibly challenging, for Blakey, the year turned out to have the shiniest of silver linings.
Job: Emmy Award–winning NBC 5 weekend evening anchor and daytime reporter
Lives in: East Dallas
Hails from: McKinney
Alma mater: Southern Methodist University, where she graduated as president of her class with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and political science
Significant other: Husband Joey Mongaras, a criminal defense attorney she met through their adult kickball league
Child: Daughter Harper, 1
Where to find her: facebook.com/katyblakeyjournalist; @katyblakeynbc5 on Instagram
One-on-One with Katy Blakey
DFWChild: Did you always know you wanted to be a reporter?
Katy Blakey: Yes. My parents were always big about knowing about what was happening in our community. That importance was instilled in me at a young age. We watched the news together every night.
C: What about being a mom? Did you always know you wanted that, too?
KB: I did, but my first focus was my career.
C: You and Joey met in 2008, married in 2012 and had Harper 8 years later. Was the long wait to become parents intentional?
KB: Yes and no. When Joey and I were dating and even once we were married, our relationship was either long distance [due to career], or our work schedules were the complete opposite, so we barely saw each other.
C: How did you two decide you were ready for a little one?
KB: Living together and then being on the same schedule felt like it needed to come first. We wanted to make sure we were stable both financially and with our careers.
C: You’re both only children—were your parents getting anxious for a grandbaby?
KB: We felt no pressure from either side even though I was 36 and he was 40. They were obviously thrilled when we did make our announcement.
C: Do you and Joey follow a particular parenting style?
KB: Winging it and Googling things at night. We’re just doing the best we can. We both had such great parents, so we’re just doing what feels natural.
C: Has anyone given you mom advice that you would pass on to others?
KB: Yes, from fellow NBC 5 reporter Diana Zoga: “Don’t mom alone.” And it’s the only advice I’ll ever give to others, unless they ask.
C: How did COVID-19 affect your experience of being pregnant and giving birth?
KB: It was definitely a different experience. During the last six weeks of pregnancy, Joey couldn’t come to any of my doctor’s appointments. And then when I went into labor, he had to sit in the car at first while we confirmed I really was in labor. My family sat in the car the entire time. Oh, and I had to wear a mask during birth. I bought an extra cute one just for the birth.
C: Once you brought Harper home, did you experience any anxiety, given that everyone was still pretty isolated?
KB: Yes, and I wasn’t prepared for it. But that’s where I will be forever grateful to everyone for their love and support. Even viewers from NBC 5 that were fellow moms reached out to me through social media to check on me and tell me that I wasn’t alone. Either they had also experienced or were experiencing similar anxiety. I’m truly grateful for their guidance.
C: What about becoming a mom has surprised you the most?
KB: How much fun it is. Sure, it’s challenging, but we’ve had so much fun, especially since we were both working from home and able to be around her more because of the pandemic.
C: Have you and Joey talked about having another child?
KB: We’re trying to figure out what we want to do. We’re both only children so we know what that life is like. Two could be really interesting but for now, we’re just enjoying having Harper.
C: Now to the subject of work-life balance: fact or fiction?
KB: During the pandemic, I was literally reporting around the clock. And then when I was on maternity leave, Joey was still working from home, doing depositions at the kitchen counter. Now that things are getting back to normal, we work hard to find a groove of how to balance work and being with her, knowing that every day is different.
C: Do you think you’ll always be a working mom?
KB: Yes. I love being a mom, but I also really love my job. I believe journalism is a public service, and becoming a mom has definitely made me a better journalist.
C: How has it affected the way you approach stories?
KB: I’ve always tried to put myself in the position of who I’m interviewing, but the stories I cover definitely hit me harder now. And if children are a part of the story, I think, What if this had been Harper?
C: Do you think the pandemic will cause a shift in how we work?
KB: I hope it’s opened employers’ eyes to the vital and multiple roles moms and women play in our communities. And hopefully we can start looking at alternatives to the traditional workday and find better ways to support strong families and a strong female workforce.
RELATED: Behind the Scenes with These Local TV Moms
No Demo Reno’s Jennifer Todryk
The Bachelor’s Catherine Giudici Lowe
Real Housewives’ Tiffany Moon
Real Housewives’ Kameron Westcott
WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre
NBC 5’s Meredith Land
Photo courtesy Julia Newman Photography