Freida Pinto Opens Up About Her Postpartum Experience, Emphasizes Importance of Being Prepared

The actress, who welcomed son Rumi-Ray back in November, tells PEOPLE about her challenges postpartum and why she's partnered with Anya to help give other mothers support

Freida Pinto posted this photo to Instagram on February 22, 2022 in Big Sur, CA with the caption: "A child gives birth to a mother. Thank you for teaching me to trust my instincts everyday Rumi-Ray. You have been my life's greatest teacher and we've only just got started. I am so grateful to you for all the growth. ❤"
Photo: Freida Pinto/Instagram

Freida Pinto is opening up about her postpartum struggles in hopes of helping other new moms along their journey.

The Mr. Malcolm's List actress, 37, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue, out now, that while she's loving being a mom to son Rumi-Ray, 8 months, her postpartum experience was not an easy feat.

"The hormones plummeting, the mood swings, the sleep deprivation — it was all very real," she says. "And the hardest part was breastfeeding. My nipples were cracked and bleeding, and my toes would curl when I knew my son was hungry because of the pain I would experience with his bad latch. I'm very proud I stuck with it."

Pinto, who shares her son with husband Cory Tran, expresses the importance of being prepared for the postpartum experience and planning for a "postpartum sanctuary."

"In my culture, it is customary for a mother to be taken care of for the first 30 or 40 days, and the mother and baby never left alone to just figure it out," she explains. "But all my American friends told me that they felt isolated. It is so important that every woman be able to prepare and plan for a postpartum sanctuary."

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"I leaned heavily on my culture and I decided that I was going to create a postpartum sanctuary for myself where I would actually be excited to walk into postpartum with my mother making all of these amazing nourishing, nurturing food and dishes from my culture to help my body heal, to help with my milk supply, to help with my healing process in general," she shares.

The actress says she felt "inspired" to become the chief impact officer of Anya, a postpartum support platform founded in 2021, as her postpartum experience was "vastly different" from what she was told by other mothers.

"What I experienced should not be something that only money can buy or privilege in general can buy," she says. "I think it's information and knowledge that every woman can have while she's pregnant to start preparing and planning as opposed to giving birth and then going home cold with this baby and then having to figure everything out."

Freida Pinto photographed at The Plaza Hotel on June 29, 2022 in New York, NY. Photographer: Jake Chessum NO glam credits
Jake Chessum

"Postpartum is really a preparation. Just like how I look at my film projects and you prepare for months ahead of time before you walk into it and then once you get into it, you can fully surrender, postpartum is very much like that as well," adds Pinto.

The Slumdog Millionaire star also hopes to normalize the conversation about maternal health and use her platform to help "empower women to truly learn to love themself."

"It's important for those who are using their platform to normalize conversations around miscarriages, depression, postpartum, not feeling bonded with your baby and having thoughts of going, 'I just want to be alone. I just don't want to be around the baby today.' "

"My creativity has come alive in a different way," she adds. "I'm so inspired to do new things. It's really a beautiful time."

For more from Freida Pinto, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

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