Hilary Duff had a change of heart (and body) the second time around in pregnancy.
The Younger actress appeared on Dr. Elliot Berlin’s Informed Pregnancy podcast shortly before giving birth to her second child — daughter Banks Violet, now 1 week old — to chat about all things pregnancy, including how her birth plan shifted since welcoming son Luca Cruz six and a half years ago.
“It happened after I got pregnant but [while I was] still in my first trimester,” Duff, 31, said about the timing of her decision to have a different type of delivery than she did with her son, who was born in a hospital after the star had an epidural.
“I just started thinking that I wanted a different experience,” she explained. “I’m older now — I love motherhood more than anything. I never thought it could be this way. I never thought I could be so happy and so fulfilled.”
“And I thought to myself that I want to get the full experience of what it is to bring a baby into the world and how incredible our bodies are,” Duff added. “My body gave me this incredible little boy and now I get to have this little girl and I want to experience it to the fullest.”
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That desire translated into a “natural, drug-free home birth” plan for her daughter — a subject she broached with boyfriend Matthew Koma after watching the documentary The Business of Being Born. And the 31-year-old musician was nothing but supportive.
“He was amazing. He had some questions — he was like, ‘Let me go do some research but I support you,’ ” Duff recalled, calling Koma “relaxed” but very invested and “informed.”
That calm disposition was something she wanted during her daughter’s delivery. When Berlin asked the star to “direct” her perfect birth, Duff said she wanted to be “milling around” her house, “popping in and out with Luca, maybe going for a walk in the neighborhood, throwing the ball for the dog” and other day-to-day activities.
While Duff hasn’t been to a home birth herself (though she has been present for sister Haylie Duff‘s hospital deliveries), she has watched “many” videos and said she was “really moved” by some while others “scare(d)” her.
The Lizzie McGuire alum made a vision board (“It’s a work in progress”) and admitted it has “been a lot of work” to get her house prepared for the birth, which she leaned a bit on her “organized midwife” for direction on.
“We sterilized everything in the oven and bought new sheets,” Duff revealed. “Who knows? What if I don’t want to be in the bathtub? We’re prepared for that too.”
But despite all the preparations, the actress still was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to give birth in the way she was envisioning. But, Duff explained, “I don’t even like to put that out there because I know that I’m powerful.”
“I’ve done things [in my life] that I didn’t think I was capable of and I know that this will be a similar experience, but when there’s pain involved, it scares me. It really scares me.”
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Specifically, Duff — who has three midwives and an “amazing doula” — was apprehensive about “enduring contractions” without the help of an epidural and “not being able to put a time frame” on the process.
“I’m not as scared of the pushing part,” she said. “I think once that is in front of you … [in] every video I’ve watched, women are so ready to push. It’s just that instinctual part that takes over.”
Duff shared that Koma, Luca, Haylie and her mom (plus the couple’s four dogs!) had plans to be present for the birth, but that her son “doesn’t want to be in the room when it happens, which I totally understand.”
“He wants to help do the well-baby check, which is awesome,” continued the proud mom.
In the event of an unexpected trip to the hospital during her labor, Duff said that even though her initial thought was “I think I will feel like I failed,” she has come to terms with it being a possibility and completely accepts whatever needs to be done to ensure her daughter is delivered safely.
And her boyfriend is her rock. As she recalled of Koma’s reaction to the idea, ” ‘If we go to the hospital and you get an epidural, so what? You labored at home and then you’re going to the hospital to have your baby. There’s no failure here. We’re gonna end up with a baby at the end of this.’ “
“I have this very calm feeling that nothing’s gonna go wrong,” Duff said. “With me, with the baby. I don’t have that kind of fear. … I have the fear of how I’m going to endure the pain.”