She herself had this realization when she couldn’t breastfeed her son Rafael Thomas, now 13 months, for as long as she’d initially wanted to — and she’s using the experience to talk about the unrealistic expectations moms can put on themselves and how to treat themselves better.
“I prided myself on being a Super Breastfeeding Mommy, but I was only able to breastfeed Rafa until he was 10 months old,” admits says the 32-year-old yoga instructor — who is currently expecting her second son with husband Alec Baldwin — in the August issue of Fit Pregnancy and Baby.
“I got pregnant again, and my milk supply went way down,” continues Hilaria, who adds she was able to breastfeed now-2½-year-old daughter Carmen Gabriela for 15 months. “But the fact that I didn’t breastfeed him for as long as I’d intended is okay.
“We beat ourselves up for not being perfect, but there’s something to be said for letting go.”
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Hilaria also knows her body so well she could sense when her first son was going to be born — four weeks before his due date.
“Alec was doing a play that night, and I said, ‘Don’t go. The baby is going to be born, ‘ ” she says. “He talked to the doctors, and they said, ‘No, definitely not.’ Sure enough, I went into labor that night.”
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Their newest little boy will be the third child for Hilaria and Alec, 58, in just over three years. But even though they don’t plan on having any more kids, Hilaria knows she has the final say with her youngest.
“In the delivery room, I pointed to Alec and my doctor and I said, ‘From now on, you and you will always listen to me. Do you understand?’ ” she recounts. “They both said yes.”
Hilaria’s approach to motherhood — and her idea of supporting fellow moms — applies to childbirth too: She is all for moms doing what is best for their families.
“I’d originally wanted to have my kids without drugs, but I ended up having epidurals for both,” she says. “It gives you just enough relief, so you feel happy and present but not numb. With Rafa, I labored without one for 15 hours, and I was in extreme pain. Then I got the shot, and suddenly I was smiling.
“I love giving birth, probably because of the drugs,” she adds jokingly.
The soon-to-be mom of three also doesn’t pretend it’s easy to stay in shape during her pregnancy. She shares that she practices yoga every day, jogs four miles four days a week and takes barre classes three times a week — all while taking care of two children under the age of 3 and handling the physical hurdles that come with pregnancy.
And she’s confident that other women have the power and ability to tap into their inner health-conscious selves, too.
“So many women give up. They think, ‘I’m a mom now, so I’m always going to be out of shape.’ No!” she says. “I’m of the opinion that just because we’re pregnant doesn’t mean we’re sick. Let’s be strong and in the best shape possible.”
— Jen Juneau