Why Jen Lilley Returned to Work 8 Weeks After Giving Birth to Daughter Julie

Jen Lilley and daughter Julie with Santa Claus

Jen Lilley has gotten her bearings as a mom of three.

The Hallmark Channel star, 35, and husband Jason Wayne welcomed a baby girl named Julie Evangeline on July 30, and Lilley was back at work just eight weeks later — something she couldn’t have been more grateful for.

“I don’t know that I could have done it if Julie, our daughter, had been my first baby,” Lilley told Entertainment Tonight. The actress and Wayne are also parents to son Kayden, 3½, whom they adopted, and a 20-month-old son, whom they welcomed via foster care.

“She’s my first biological, but because I already had two babies before her, I was used to the way a child just turns your life upside down and adapting,” Lilley said. “But I was like, she was just born and I have this six-week recovery, which every woman goes through … then I was stoked to get back in the saddle. I was very lucky and fortunate, because I had worked for these producers before. I knew how accommodating and honest they are.”

Lilley added, “There was no unsaid tension that I was bringing a baby [to set] and they were being genuine about it.”

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But being back at work hasn’t been without its challenges. And Lilley — who stars in the Hallmark Channel Christmas movie Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday this year — has a secret weapon up her sleeve: “lots of coffee.”

“I’m sure they have to color-correct my teeth from the coffee from the beginning of the movie,” the actress said, laughing. “I’m sure my teeth are like three shades below.”

“These Hallmark movies, sponsored by espresso beans and under-eye concealer!” Lilley joked.

Lilley shared her pregnancy news exclusively with PEOPLE in March, saying that while she doesn’t “wish three under 3 on anyone,” she and her husband couldn’t have been more excited to welcome a baby girl.

The family celebrated Kayden’s official adoption in June, throwing him a “We Found Our Missing Piece”-themed bash full of puzzle-themed decorations and balloons, plus games, a ball pit, a bounce house and a colorful custom puzzle-piece-decorated cake.

As for her second child, Lilley told ET that she and Wayne hope to officially adopt him into their family soon. “That should be finalized … probably summer of next year, which is fantastic,” she said.

Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

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