Hilary Duff is refreshingly honest about working motherhood, home birth, and why it's all so different the second time around

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Many millennial mamas feel like they grew up not just watching Hilary Duff, but with Hilary Duff. The actress had a huge impact on a generation though pop culture and she continues to impact the women who've grown with her through her work and her frank commentary on motherhood and #momlife.

In interviews and on her Instagram account, Duff is super honest about motherhood and how her first experience of it at 24 was totally different than her second experience in her 30s. She's also been super honest about how hard it is to pump at work, and why that simply didn't work for her.

On the latest episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Duff tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that her candid Instagram posts aren't about clout or branding but rather a sincere desire to connect with other mothers and contribute to an important dialog.

"I want to be a part of the conversation," she tells Tenety. "I want to share my stories and I want to hear what people have to say, and I want a part of that team."

Duff is certainly a member of #TeamMotherly and we are so happy she's sharing her stories with us.

Here are a few of the topics Duff discussed on the podcast:

Motherhood in her 30s versus motherhood in her 20s 

When Duff welcomed her first child, son Luca, in 2012 she was 24 and making a huge transition in her life.

"I'd say it was a little isolating in the beginning because I didn't have any friends that had babies yet. But I had been working for such a long time that it felt like a natural step for me and I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I always knew that was going to be my number one priority in life. So I felt ready on some fronts and a little scared on others, but I really only got scared once I was pregnant," she tells Tenety.

Duff was afraid that she wasn't going to have all the answers as a parent, and she was also afraid of the birth process.

"I was really young so I was just like terrified of what was going to be like moving through my body. I actually wanted to have a scheduled c-section. My doctor was like, 'No sorry. You cannot. You have to try.' Which I was really appreciative for because I had a great birth," she explains.

When Luca arrived, everything changed for Duff. Motherhood became a priority in a way that she couldn't even predict before she experienced parenthood.

"I did feel like after I had him I lost a big chunk of my identity for like, maybe the first year and a half, but I don't think that was a negative thing. It was at times I was sad about it but you know it's full on. Like I don't remember setting him down for the first three months of life."

Giving birth the second time around

When Duff got pregnant for the second time she was in an entirely different headspace and an entirely different decade of life. By the time she welcomed daughter Banks with partner Matthew Koma in 2018, she had the kind of confidence that comes with having experienced motherhood before. She had more peers with kids and a stronger sense of community.

And she knew she wanted a home birth.

"With Banks, I was so much older and had kind of a different support system around me and I feel much more in tune with my body and I'm a lot healthier I think than I was then. I just wanted to try. I did a lot of research. I watched a lot of home birth videos," she tells Tenety.

As Motherly has previously reported, Duff doesn't shy away from telling her home birth story and is happy she made the choice to bring Banks into the world at home.

On juggling work and a newborn

Duff has been super open about how hard it is to breastfeed or pump while working in an environment that's not really conducive to it. She tells Tenety that juggling a bi-coastal career, a newborn, Luca's schedule (she shares him with ex-husband Mike Comrie) and the challenges of infant feeding made this last year the most challenging one she's had as a mom.

"I was pregnant and flying home like almost every other weekend to see Luca," she explains, noting that she'd land at midnight, get up at 5 o'clock in the morning and juggle 15-hour workdays as a pregnant person. It was intense.

"Then this year I had a newborn—a 4-month-old—and I was going back to work, you know nursing and trying to juggle that. It's really hard," she says, adding that she'd be carrying her pump around the set at work, but crew members didn't always understand that just pumping doesn't always happen when it's convenient.

"I'm talking to men who are like, 'Okay we have a break in the day you can go pump.' I'm like, 'it's not a feeding time. There's no milk.' They don't get it. You know so I can sit there and like pull at my nipples for however long but nothing's going to come out right now you know," she tells Tenety.

In the end, Duff decided to stop pumping and use formula, a decision she was super open about on Instagram.

Duff tells Tenety she is so open about motherhood for a couple of important reasons:

"I think I selfishly do it to get people reaching out and talking to me, you know because we're in the same struggle or whatever it is that we might be going through. So I like sharing. I like being candid. You know I love posting photos," she explains, adding that she tries to be candid, even about the moments that are not glamorous or aspirational at all. The moments when she's tired and unshowered with baby vomit in her hair.

"It's just this is what it is. It's messy and it's the best messiest thing ever."

That's a pretty great way to sum up motherhood.

To hear more from Duff, check out The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.

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Things We're Loving

It was s historical moment for the word and a scary moment for a woman who had just become a mother for the first time.

When the Duchess of Cambridge made stepped out of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital on July 22, 2013, with her new baby in her arms she was happy—but understandably scared, too.

Kate Middleton recently appeared on Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast and when Fletcher asked her about her postpartum debut Kate said she was understandably freaked out when she stepped out with her newborn.

"Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I'm not going to lie," Kate said.

During the podcast the Duchess opened up about her pregnancy and birth experiences, explaining how much hypnobirthing helped her and that she didn't know whether she was delivering prince or princess until Prince George was born as she'd opted to be surprised.

She was surprised and thrilled when she met her son, and looking forward to post-pregnancy life after spending her pregnancy quite ill with hyperemesis gravidarum (a seriously debilitating form of extreme morning sickness). She was so happy, but it was also (very understandably) an overwhelming experience. In addition to all the pressure new moms feel, Kate had an army of photographers waiting outside the hospital for her.

"Everything goes in a bit of a blur. I think, yeah I did stay in hospital overnight, I remember it was one of the hottest days and night with huge thunderstorms so I didn't get a huge amount of sleep, but George did, which was really great," she explained. "I was keen to get home because, for me, being in hospital, I had all the memories of being in hospital because of being sick [with acute morning sickness] so it wasn't a place I wanted to hang around in. So, I was really desperate to get home and get back to normality."

Kate wanted to get home, but she also really did want to share her baby boy with the public who had been so supportive of her young family, she explains.

"Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and you know we're hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important," she shared, adding that "Equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions."

"All sorts of mixed emotions."

The now-iconic images of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exiting the hospital with their firstborn have gone down in history, but so has Kate's bravery that day.

There's been a lot written about whether those pictures put pressure on other moms who might not feel ready for heels and blowouts right after giving birth, but one thing critics of the photocall often miss is the positive impact it had on other young women.

Yes, Kate looked beautiful, but she also looked like a woman whose body had just given birth—and the iconic images of her in that polka-dot dress taught a generation of women that the female body isn't an elastic band and that recovering from birth takes time.

"I, myself remember being really surprised when Kate Middleton came out of the hospital holding Prince George," Tina, now a mom herself and a model of postpartum realness in Mothercare's "Body Proud Mums campaign" explained last year.

Tina recalls how Kate's postpartum appearance showed her a reality society hadn't: "She had the baby bump, and I remember being surprised that your belly doesn't just go down after giving birth. I also thought how stupid I was to have ever thought it would. I guess pre-children you just have unrealistic expectations."

Tina wasn't stupid, she just hadn't been shown the truth.

So thank you, Kate, for stepping out of that hospital in 2013, despite being terrified, and showing the world your beautiful baby and your bump.



News

The Duchess of Cambridge is opening up about the meditative method that helped her deliver all three of her children and helped her cope with pregnancies made challenging by hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a seriously debilitating form of pregnancy nausea and vomiting.

The former Kate Middleton says she relied on hypnobirth, which is routinely used at the hospital where she delivered all three of her children.

In a new interview on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast with Giovanna Fletcher, Kate explained, "I saw the power of it really, the meditation and the deep breathing and things like that—that they teach you in hypnobirthing—when I was really sick and actually I realized that this was something I could take control of, I suppose, during labor," she said.

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The Duchess explained: "It was through hyperemesis that I really realized the power of the mind over the body because I really had to try everything and everything to try and help me through it."

So what is hypnobirthing? Well, it's not the party trick hypnosis commonly portrayed in pop culture. It's more of a meditative thing, a form of self-hypnosis proven to help mothers relax during childbirth.

Classes on hypnobirthing are available in most major cities (many experts recommend taking them when you're around 25 to 30 weeks), and several companies offer online courses as well.

It involves visualization, breathing techniques, guided meditation and sometimes massage. It can be used during vaginal births and C-sections (and, as Kate proves, even when you're not giving birth but dealing with other challenges). Research indicates hypnobirth may make labor faster and reduce the risk of C-section, and that it can reduce a mom's fear and anxiety.

American mother Colleen Temple has personally found this to be true. "Pre-hypnobirthing, I would literally cry on the spot when I thought about going into labor. Post-hypnobirthing? I felt empowered, strong, prepared and very ready to birth my baby. It transformed my mindset completely," she previously wrote for Motherly.

"With the help of the meditations and affirmations used in hypnobirthing, the fear of the unknown that I had before the course started shifted into the ability to truly trust that my body and my baby were going to do exactly what they needed to do to bring my little one safely into this world," shares Temple.

The mind can be a powerful thing, and Temple and the Duchess have plenty of company on team hypnobirth. Mogul mama Jessica Alba is also a fan. She told Ellen it's not weird, and is something women can involve their partners in. "My husband takes me through sort of a meditation. He'll say, 'you're relaxed, and you're floating on clouds while you're going through labor and your contractions. I'm just concentrating on breathing and staying relaxed," she explained.

The Duke of Cambridge isn't quite as into it as Alba's husband, but that's because it's more Kate's personal thing, she says.

"I'm not going to say that William was standing there sort of, chanting sweet nothings at me. He definitely wasn't! I didn't even ask him about it, but it was just something I wanted to do for myself," she said on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast.

Every mama should have things she wants to do for herself, and pregnant or not, meditation can be a great form of self-care.

[A version of this post was previously published April 26, 2018. It has been updated.]







News

You're going to need a big box of tissues handy to delve into this story. A California dad took to Twitter this week to share a heartwarming tale about the kindness of strangers aboard their newborn daughter's first flight.

Dustin Moore and his wife Caren recently adopted a baby girl in Colorado. The new dad told the Washington Post that years of fertility struggles and miscarriages led up to the amazing moment they became parents through adoption. The logistics of the situation also forced them to bring their 8-day-old baby on a Southwest Airlines flight to get her back to their home state—a situation that can be nerve-wracking for any parent, let alone a brand new one.

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Luckily for the Moores, they encountered two flight attendants who went above and beyond to make it a flight to remember, and pretty much threw them an impromptu baby shower.

Dustin says when he asked for a place to change the baby girl's diaper, he started chatting with a flight attendant named Jenny. She asked why they were traveling, and the proud dad explained about the adoption.

Minutes later, a second flight attendant named Bobby approached to gush over the baby. The couple didn't think much of it—until the intercom kicked on a short time later. It was Bobby, announcing that the flight had a very special passenger: "She's just been adopted by her parents Caren and Dustin, and is making her way home," Bobby told the entire plane, which promptly erupted into cheers.

The attendant then announced that the cabin crew would be passing out napkins and pens for passengers to share any messages or advice for the new family. That led to some adorable suggestions, which were then read out over the intercom:

"Drink lots of wine!"

"Rub each other's feet, and rub the baby's feet."

"Always tell her you love her."

The two flight attendants then handed over a bundle of about 60 napkins, and revealed they'd once been the beneficiaries of a similar kindness—the pair were a married couple, and a flight attendant had done same thing for them on their honeymoon flight. They wanted to pay it forward, and Moore wanted to do the same thing in sharing the story on Twitter.

"This website is used oft as a means to share what's wrong. I hope you'll take time to share what is good. In a world of turmoil, don't forget to showcase the Bobbys and Jennys, the kind strangers out there. And if they don't cross your path, be one. Seek good, or create it," tweeted Moore.

Is it time for a second box of tissues yet? 😭

Congrats to these proud parents—and major props to the flight attendants who kicked off a random act of kindness.

News

Gabrielle Union + Dwyane Wade have been blended family goals, an inspiration to those struggling with infertility and now they are an inspiration to parents of trans kids and supporters of trans rights.

This week Wade appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and spoke about his 12-year-old daughter Zaya coming out as transgender and Union posted a beautiful video + caption to Instagram, inviting fans to "meet Zaya."

In the video Zaya is riding in a golf cart with her dad and dropping wisdom. She says: "Just be true to yourself, because what's the point of even living on this earth if you're going to try to be someone you're not?...Be true and don't really care what the 'stereotypical' way of being you is."

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Union was so impressed by her step-daughter, captioning the video: "She's compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It's Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people."

Later in the week Union addressed criticism of Zaya's transition on Twitter, writing: "This has been a journey. We're still humbly learning but we decided quickly w/ our family that we wouldn't be led by fear. We refuse to sacrifice the freedom to live authentically becuz we are afraid of what ppl might say. U have the ability to learn & evolve."

Zaya's big brother is also on her side. Newly 18-year-old Zaire posted the cutest throwback pic from when he and Zaya were just little kids, noting how the siblings were and are best friends.

"Man, I remember bugging my mom as a kid telling her I wanted a brother so bad. I was the only child looking for company and someone to look after and take care of," Zaire began his caption. "I have been blessed to have my best friend, Zaya with me for 12 years. We did everything together … we fought, we played, we laughed and we cried. But the one thing we never did was leave each other behind."

Zaire continued: "I've told you that I would lay my life down to make sure you are ten toes down and happy on this earth," he told his younger sibling. "I don't care what they think Z, you are my best friend and I love you kid, and if it means anything, just know there's no love lost on this side ✊🏾"

We are so impressed and inspired by the love Zaya's family is showing her (and other kids by sharing this story publicly). You've got this Zaya!

News
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