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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