The actress, about to be a mama of two, dishes with Fit Pregnancy's editor in chief and soon-to-be mom of three, Laura Kalehoff, about this happy, hectic, hormonal time.
Alyssa Milano Interview on Pregnancy and Motherhood
Even if you just landed in Los Angeles' Milk Studios from the moon, you'd realize one thing immediately: Alyssa Milano, radiant in her second trimester, is no rookie to pregnancy. Her megawatt Samantha Micelli grin is as genuine as ever. Yet now she's the wise, efficient and utterly smitten mom of Milo, who turns 3 this August. She arrives at the shoot in comfy maternity jeans, a white tee and a melon-colored jacket, kicks off her made-for- walking Pertini suede oxfords and settles right into the hair-and-makeup chair. She's been up since sunrise with Milo and has already had pineapple and cottage cheese for breakfast—why linger over the buffet table? When her publicist, who is also pregnant (between the three of us moms-to-be, there's enough estrogen coursing through studio 3 to power all the lights on set) mentions taking a childbirth class, Milano laughs knowingly: "You'll forget everything you learned as soon as you get to the hospital." And while many cover models like to break for lunch, Milano opts to shoot straight through so she can wrap up early and get home to her little man. "Someone said a wise thing to me when I was pregnant with Milo," she remembers. "'Savor this pregnancy, because it's entirely about this baby, but your second pregnancy will still be about this baby who will already have been born.' That's super true."
In addition to squeezing in QT with Milo and her hubby, Hollywood agent David Bugliari, Milano is running her own sort of amazing race before her due date. First up: Complete shooting season two of ABC's primetime soap, Mistresses, playing Savannah Davis. Then she'll be in New York City judging season four of Lifetime's Project Runway All Stars. "I'm mentally preparing to be working pretty much until the end of this pregnancy," she says. All while managing a renovation on their home outside Los Angeles; Milano will have a month in the house before she delivers her daughter in early fall. Whew! Milano and I, due weeks apart, talked about embracing the pregnancy pounds, saying "heck, yes!" to the epidural and discovering a love like none other.
LAURA KALEHOFF: So how are you feeling? When you're pregnant, everyone asks how you're feeling, but how are you really feeling? Truth!
ALYSSA MILANO: I feel good, but I'm tired, and I don't know if that's the pregnancy or because I've been working so much.
LK: Well, it's different the second time around, too, because you're chasing a toddler.
LK: Congrats! There are women who love being pregnant and women who hate it. What camp are you in?
AM: I love it. I don't think it's as romantic as we project it to be through the media, but I think what the body goes through is miraculous. It's such a cool thing to experience. I feel blessed that I'm getting another chance to do it, especially at 41.
LK: I think when you already have a kid, you feel even more grateful, because you know you're getting to create another amazing little human. Still, it's not all sunshine. Have you had any quirky symptoms? I've had the weirdest dreams.
AM: My dreams are crazy vivid. It's probably because we're only sleeping for short stretches. The peeing at night is pretty miserable. I counted: Last night I got up six times between 11 p.m. and 7:15 a.m.
LK: And then there's the kicking. Have you felt her move?
AM: Yes, starting at about 16 weeks.
LK: I've barely felt anything yet. Turns out I have an anterior placenta—it's in front of the baby and cushions the kicks. I miss them!
AM: And how weird is it after you give birth, not feeling the kicks anymore?
LK: I remember feeling phantom kicks—like a phantom cellphone ring. Have you started nesting?
AM: No, here's the deal: We've been in total construction mode at our house for the last year. We're doing everything—we left one bathroom as is. So there's no nesting happening. We have rental furniture. My son is in a weird lavender room. It's all crazy.
LK: Ha! Maybe you can go on a babymoon in the meantime?
AM: I haven't even thought about that. We did with Milo, when I was eight months along and enormous. The day I gave birth I was 172 pounds.
LK: So how much did you gain?
AM: Fifty-fve pounds. And I carry really far out—skinny little legs and belly and boobs.
LK: I love how frank you are about the weight.
AM: I was very kind to myself. A female body is not made to look good in a bikini. It's made to give birth and have a baby and be a cozy companion for it afterwards. And for my body, that meant putting on a lot of weight. I didn't indulge in fast food or junk food, so I knew it was healthy weight. I just realized: This is what my body needs to do to have a healthy baby.
LK: Yes, you realize a woman's body is built to transform.
AM: And by the way, we don't get hungry when we're pregnant for no reason. You're making a skeletal system. You're making organs. I refuse to look at the scale. I didn't look at the scale when I was pregnant with Milo until the day I gave birth. It's funny, my fle was open at my appointment yesterday and there was a big Post-it note that said, "She does not want to know her weight."
LK: Well, whatever it is, you look great! How have you been staying active this pregnancy? You've always been into ftness. I used to work out with your Teen Steam video when I was a kid.
AM: I do prenatal yoga, prenatal Pilates and walk. On the weeks I'm working, my philosophy is to forgive myself for not being in those classes. I just take the stairs and keep moving as much as humanly possible, which, with a toddler, is pretty easy to do.
LK: It sure is. When you're not working, how often do you do yoga?
AM: Three times a week. With Milo I did it five times a week until I gave birth. I left my yoga class at 1 p.m. and my water broke at 4 p.m.
LK: How was labor? They say prenatal yoga is one thing that helps.
AM: I was certainly strong, but it didn't make it any easier. I was in labor for 18 hours. Three and a half hours of pushing.
LK: Did you get an epidural?
AM: I did, but not until I was 6 centimeters dilated. Right at the end when they say, "OK, it's now or never." And that's when I thought, I've gone through this enough. I know what this feels like.
LK: Ah, yes, I remember thinking the same thing. OK, got it! The human earthquake! It's a good thing babies sleep a lot at frst, so you can recover.
AM: I held Milo for every nap until he was 1 year old. That was my attachment parenting.
LK: Cozy. Sounds like you weren't rushing to get to the gym or trying to bounce back to your old self.
AM: I didn't really care about losing the weight. I was occupied with getting to know my son and learning how to be a mom. It took 18 months for me to lose it. I tried to go easy on myself. I was breastfeeding, so dieting wasn't really an option until Milo weaned. If I had time, I would take Pilates, yoga or a spinning class. And I walked him in his stroller every day.
LK: Milo is almost 3 now, which seems like a great spacing between sibs. Did you think much about timing?
AM: Nope! I had Milo when I was 38. As soon as I started to feel ready to have another one, I was 40 and I knew we needed to get serious.
LK: People angst over spacing, but you and your brother, Cory, are 10 years apart, and you've said you're close.
AM: We're crazy close. It took my parents fve years to conceive me and 10 to conceive my brother. I knew when I got pregnant with Milo that I was going to be a good mom because I basically helped raise my brother. The age gap started to close when he was a teenager and we liked the same music and had common interests.
LK: You've said you grew up in a genuinely loving family. Are you trying to replicate that?
AM: Ninety-eight percent I am replicating. If I can grow up in this industry and be a productive, sane adult, my parents did something right. They instilled in me that being a daughter and a sister were more important than being a child actor. We still do Italian Sunday dinner with my parents, who live very close to us. If I have to work late, David comes home early so he can be with Milo. It takes a partnership within the marriage to make it work.
LK: Absolutely. Family nearby helps too. Becoming a mom defnitely gives you a new appreciation for your own!
AM: And for women in general. It's an unspoken bond, because we all know what we go through every single day. We think delivery is the end, when it's the beginning. The hard work happens after you give birth.
LK: So true. What's been the greatest thing about motherhood for you?
AM: The way my heart has grown. My ability to love has exceeded anything I ever thought possible.
LK: It's an unimaginable love.
AM: You're so vulnerable and all your emotions are heightened. The other day, Easter Sunday, we went down to the community center where they were doing Easter egg dyeing. They announced that there were no more Easter eggs and my son's face shattered my heart into a million pieces. And it was like, "Why am I so emotional about this? They ran out of hard-boiled eggs." I ran back to the house, boiled some for him and brought them back. Little things can make you feel so much.
LK: Is there anything you plan to do diferently this time around?
AM: The frst time, I was obsessed with gathering knowledge instead of letting my instincts kick in. So this time I'm trying to not be so neurotic and just do what I know how to do.
LK: It's intuitive.
AM: Information is so available to us now—we open our phones and we get advice from pros. But really, we're the best experts for our children. My dad was 25 years old when he left the hospital with me. He said, "We didn't have a book, we didn't have a car seat. We had nothing—and you know what? Your mom did a great job. She just gave you what you needed."
LK: You needed her. Babies need so much of their moms. Have you struggled with this?
AM: There's nothing I would rather be doing. Maybe it'll be diferent when I have two kids, but I've never had a moment where I felt like I wasn't doing what I absolutely loved. I waited a long time to be a mom. I'd had my ladies' lunches and my shopping days. When Milo fnally came, I thought— This is what I've waited for my entire life. I wish I could sleep more, but it's not like I wish there were other things I could be doing socially or for my own beneft. Because I really feel like he's completed me.
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