You can love motherhood with your whole heart and still be real about how hard it can be (especially this year).
Trigger warning: This article addresses pregnancy and infant loss, and may be upsetting for some readers.
Celebrity mamas really are just like us. No matter how many followers you have or how much money is in your bank account, there are some hard facts of motherhood that you can't escape...especially in the dumpster fire that has been 2020.
In a year that challenged us in so many ways, these high profile mothers are refusing to pretend that being a mom isn't incredibly challenging (especially in a society that doesn't really support moms).
We're clapping for these famous mamas who got real about motherhood in 2020:
Kristen Bell's 5-year-old daughter started 2020 'still in diapers' because every kid is different
Back in May, Kristen Bell inadvertently caused a massive controversy on the mom internet when she said "currently, my youngest is five and a half, still in diapers." Some people were critical of the comments, but 2020 brought a lot of changes, including Bell's daughter graduating out of diapers by July. 👏👏👏
Bell was also super open about how hard home schooling was for her family. In May she explained that she ripped up her daily homeschool schedule (remember those viral schedules that were floating around during the early days of the pandemic?) and just did what works for her family.
After taking the summer break, when homeschool was back in session Bell kept it real, telling the world that two days into the semester she was already exhausted.
Jodie Turner-Smith opted for a home birth to avoid America's racist healthcare system
Joshua Jackson says his British wife, Jodie Turner-Smith, opted to birth at home rather than risk experiencing the racism in the American healthcare system.
"She wanted to be in a place where she was as comfortable as possible, understandably," Jackson told EsquireEsquire. "And I wanted her to be in a place where she felt like she was being heard at every step along the way, rather than having to go through that filter of being a Black woman interfacing with the American medical system."
Smith and Jackson welcomed their baby girl in April and in an interview for British Vogue's September Issue Smith opened up about her birth experience. She didn't sugarcoat how hard birth can be on the human body and mind.
She labored at home for four days with her husband by her side.
"We had already decided on a home birth because of concerns about negative birth outcomes for Black women in America," she explains, pointing out how systemic racism in medical care means Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely than white women to die during or right after pregnancy than white mothers in the United States.
That's why Smith originally wanted a home birth, a decision that was reinforced by the pandemic.
"We never imagined that in the coming weeks, hospitals around the country would begin restricting who could be present in the birthing rooms, forcing mothers to deliver without the support person or people of their choice," she said. "Delivering at home ensured that I had what every single woman deserves to have: full agency in deterring my birth support."
Delivering a child into the world is so hard, but it was especially hard in 2020.
"Sometimes I wonder how I will explain to my daughter what it meant to be born in the year 2020," says Smith. "The historic events, the social unrest, and me—a new mother just trying to do her best. I think I will tell her that it was as if the world had paused for her to be born. And that, hopefully, it never quite returned to the way it was before."
Smith recalls how, on the third day of her labor, she shared a quiet moment with her husband that gave her strength.
"I was fatigued and beginning to lose my resolve. Josh ran me a bath, and as I lay in it contracting, I talked to my body and I talked to my daughter. In that moment, he snapped a picture of me. An honest moment of family and togetherness—a husband supporting a wife, our baby still inside me, the sacred process of creating a family."
Amy Schumer on why she might be done having kids: 'I can't be pregnant ever again'
Amy Schumer's first pregnancy was famously hard, and that's why it might be her only pregnancy.
As People reports, on an episode of Sunday Today with Willie Geist, Schumer explained why, after suffering through hyperemesis gravidarum (a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness) during her pregnancy with son Gene she's not going to be pregnant a second time.
"I decided that I can't be pregnant ever again," she says. "We thought about a surrogate, but I think we're going to hold off for right now."
Schumer tried IVF this year in the hopes of giving Gene a sibling but that, too, has proved to be really difficult.
"We did IVF and IVF was really tough on me," she says. "I don't think I could ever do IVF again."
Having one child has been so awesome, Schumer's not in a rush to have more right now. She calls Gene "the best thing in my life."
Jamie Otis: Postpartum checkup revealed 'I have HPV'
Married at First Sight star Jamie Otis opened up about her HPV diagnosis in 2020. During her most recent pregnancy, the mom of two had an abnormal Pap test in her first trimester.
During a postpartum checkup, Otis had a biopsy and will likely be receiving the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) to treat her HPV.
According to the Mayo Clinic, "most HPV infections don't lead to cancer. But some types of genital HPV can cause cancer of the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina (cervix)."
That's why Otis is so thankful that her doctors were on top of this and that her HPV was caught early and she wants other moms to take care of themselves, too.
"Don't let life get too 'busy' to get your check ups," she says, adding that while she'll likely be fine she really only ended up getting a Pap test because she got pregnant. Had that not happened she would have no idea about her HPV.
Jenna Dewan: Breastfeeding 5-month-old can 'be really challenging'
Even if you've breastfed a baby before, nursing your new newborn can come with its own challenges.
That was the case for Jenna Dewan, who noted in a recent Instagram post how breastfeeding her 5-month-old son is "incredible and it can also be really challenging."
It's been different than it was with 7-year-old Everly, Dewan says.
She continues: "At least it was for me the second time around. From latching issues, to my son loving one side vs. another, making more milk, when to pump... EVERYTHING was different and I found myself asking a lot of questions."
(If you need some help with breastfeeding here are the top 50 breastfeeding tips, according to lactation experts).
Chrissy Teigen was real, raw and so vulnerable after losing her son Jack
When Chrissy Teigen suffered a pregnancy loss this year she didn't hide it or minimize her pain. She grieved big and out loud, and her bravery led to other mothers opening up about their pain.
Motherhood makes us strong, but loving someone so much also makes us vulnerable to immense pain.
In a powerful essay she wrote weeks after her loss, Teigen thanks everyone who reached out to her to share stories of their own or offer support without expecting a grieving mother to respond.
"I feel bad our grief was so public because I made the joy so public. I was excited to share our news with the world. Stories leading up to this had been chronicled for all. It's hard to look at them now."
By being so incredibly truthful about what was happening in her life, Teigen gave a kind of social permission to other grieving mothers to seek help and support.
Ali Fedotowsky-Manno: I didn't feel 'I deserved any sort of support after' miscarriage
Bachelorette-turned-blogger Fedotowsky-Manno knows this all too well. In July she revealed she'd had a miscarriage and in an interview with People she explained that she wasn't sure at first how or when to share that news.
"I think a lot of the reasons women don't share about miscarriages is because there is shame involved," she explains. "I always thought the shame was because your body couldn't carry a baby in that moment...But for me, where the shame came was not feeling that I deserved any sort of support after—feeling that what I went through wasn't the same as someone who goes through it when they'd been trying for years or they were 20 weeks pregnant."
She continues: "I have two beautiful children. So my experience didn't begin to compare to those, so I felt shame in being supported."
But pain isn't something we need to compare or measure. It is possible to honor and hold space for a friend who suffered a stillbirth and still honor and seek support for your own grief over an early pregnancy loss.
Miscarriage is painful. No matter when it happens. No matter how many children you already have or how many miscarriages you've already had. We need to talk about pregnancy loss so that we can find community and support and, importantly, reduce the shame.
Thank you, Ali, for speaking your truth!
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