Brittany Kerr Aldean is haunted by her memories of the Las Vegas shooting, and confesses in an exclusive new PEOPLE interview, “I still think about it daily, and I still shake when I think about it.”
Country star Jason Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival on Oct. 1, 2017, his then-pregnant wife in a tent behind the stage, when a gunman fired bullets into the audience from his hotel window. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old gambler and real-estate businessman, killed 58 people and injured over 400 others.
As she hid in her tent and listened to the shots ringing out, Brittany thought of her unborn child, son Memphis, now 16 months old. It had taken a year and a half of in vitro fertilization treatments to get pregnant with him, and she recalls thinking, ” ‘It took me so long to have this child, and now I’m not ever going to meet him.’ “
But she did. The Aldeans survived the tragedy and have since been able to welcome not only Memphis into the world but, more recently, his little sister Navy Rome.
At just 9 weeks old, Navy is the 31-year-old former cheerleader’s second child, and the sixth member of the Aldean household (which also includes the singer’s daughters Kendyl, 11, and Keeley, 16, from his previous marriage).
Brittany can’t wait for the new chapter that her baby girl brings, exclaiming delightedly that “Navy is going to be my little best friend that I take shopping and get my nails done with. I’m so excited to do all the girly things with her.”
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That includes sharing wardrobes, as the new mom jokes that she’s going to try and stay fashionable so that her daughter will want to borrow her clothes.
But aside from these typical mother-daughter activities, Navy’s childhood is set to be far from ordinary — Brittany is planning on taking her and her big brother on tour with their dad.
“She’s a little young right now so we may wait until towards the end of the year to go on the road with him, but that is our goal, to all be out there as a family so the kids can experience that life and see their dad perform,” she tells PEOPLE.
The mother of two even hopes that one day her daughter will follow in the 42-year-old country artist’s musical footsteps: “I’m praying that Navy can sing!”
Before welcoming her son, Brittany struggled to get pregnant, and it took a whole year and a half of IVF treatments before the doctors realized she was suffering from endometriosis. She was given the necessary laparoscopy treatment, and became pregnant shortly after with Memphis. But that year and a half was a time not only of immense physical pain, but also “heartache.”
As she explains to PEOPLE, “Doing IVF is such a roller coaster of emotions. You get excited and you think you’re going to get pregnant, and then you don’t. It’s hard.”
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Conceiving Navy was much easier, but her birth was not without complications. Brittany was already anemic and suffered from a low blood count when she entered the hospital, but a lacerated cervix caused her to lose an excess amount of blood on top of that.
Her blood count dropped to a dangerous low of 20, and she had to spend the night in the hospital as doctors feared she’d pass out if she went home. Brittany was given a blood transfusion, plus iron medication for six weeks.
Overall a proponent of self-care, Brittany explains that her secret is to be healthy but not push yourself too hard. For example, she was very cautious about working out while pregnant, and has recently been cleared by doctors to get back in the gym, where she’s focusing on cardio and weight training to build back her post-pregnancy abs.
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Brittany also sticks to a high-protein and vegetable diet, avoiding carbs and sugar. She and Aldean aren’t huge foodies, which she says makes it easier for them to stick to their diets since they aren’t craving gourmet meals.
Instacart has been a “lifesaver,” Brittany raves, since it means she can just order lots of fruits and vegetables from home on her phone and snack on those throughout the day.
She makes it all look easy but, surprisingly, the mother of two admits she wasn’t always sure she wanted to be a parent. She tells PEOPLE with a laugh, “I thought I’d just own a lot of animals and be totally fine — like, ‘If I just have a bunch of bulldogs, I’ll be all good!’ “
It was meeting the “Crazy Town” singer that swayed her in the end: “When I met Jason and fell in love with him, I just wanted to start a family with him. My mind changed completely,” Brittany says. “I knew I wanted to be a mom.”
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