Celeb Chat with Nancy O'Dell: Hilary Duff

The popular child star of Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire has a kid of her own! I recently had the chance to talk to her about being a first-time mother (of a son, Luca, now almost 7 months), life in the spotlight as a kid, and her new role as spokeswoman for Johnson's Baby Cares, a program with Save the Children that provides baby-care essentials to families affected by natural disasters.
Hilary tweeted this pic of herself with Luca and husband, Mike Comrie.

Nancy O'Dell: How are you enjoying motherhood?

Hilary Duff: It's really wonderful. There are no words to describe it. I mean, to say "It's wonderful" sounds minuscule. When you get to see your baby for the first time, and they put him on your chest, and you're looking into each other's eyes, this feeling just washes over you and there are really no words.

Are you getting any rest? Do you feel exhausted?

You know the first two weeks I was just on a high. I was going, going, going. And then after that, exhaustion set in. So that was tough. The advice people gave me was to sleep when your baby's sleeping and I didn't do it in the beginning. Once I got exhausted I thought, "Okay, I understand what they mean."

Tell me why you wanted to be a part of the Johnson's Baby Cares program.

They approached me with what they were doing and it was the perfect time. I was just about to give birth, and it sounded like such a great partnership. It's hard enough to be a new mom, or any mother, and then on top of that, [face] some kind of natural disaster. I grew up in Texas, and we had tornadoes and hurricanes all the time. This program creates baby-care kits made up of Johnson's hygiene products. There are thousands and thousands of them... and in times of need these kits are just shipped out to families, and they get into the hands of mothers very quickly.

What has been your biggest mommy triumph? For me, it was swaddling.

You know what, I think that I work well under pressure. So I'll step up to the plate when there's a screaming baby and he needs something. It's an automatic reaction: "What?! Anything. I'll do it!' I think that there hasn't been too much that has been extremely challenging for me, but the swaddle was important. I said to myself, "I'm gonna figure out this damn swaddle if it's the last thing I do! And it's gonna be good, and he's not going to be able to break out of it!"

What is the one thing that you couldn't have gotten through your pregnancy without?

Definitely my family. I mean, Mike, my mom, my sister. It's such a huge thing right away: You're like, "I'm pregnant, wow, total life change." So to have my family and people I'm close to around was really important. I did a lot of Pilates when I was pregnant, and that was a great feeling. Then my DVR was very important to me... we got very close. I have never watched so much TV, and now I've become hooked on all these shows. One of my obsessions is Shark Tank -- so good. And I loved The Walking Dead and The Killing. I like the edgy ones.

What do you like about being a young mom?

The only thing that's hard is that I don't have a lot of people my age who have babies. So I'm at a totally different spot than a lot of my friends. But they're all very excited about hanging out with Luca. You've asked me a tough question, because I don't really know what the alternative is. I do have a lot of energy, I feel great, and I had a really easy pregnancy. I want to have more kids and I'm looking forward to doing that, but I'm not in any rush. I think sometimes maybe if you start a little later you're in a hurry to get all the kids you want, and I have a little time to spread that out.

If your son were to come to you and say, "Mama, I wanna be a child actor," what would you say?

I'd say, "Are you sure?" My sister and I said that same thing to my mom, and she encouraged us. I'm so happy she did, and I would not change my life for anything. But it's tough, and it's totally different than it used to be. I am even scared of [Luca] growing up getting his picture taken all the time and feeling different. I saw a rag magazine the other day -- I was having my hair done or something -- and the headline said, "Who Wore It Better?" and the photo showed Suri Cruise and so-and-so's kid. They had the same dress on, and [this magazine] put these kids up against each other. I'm just thinking that this is sickening. Now that I'm a mom and I have a child, I can't imagine. It's not right.

Everybody puts so much pressure on new mothers, especially Hollywood actresses, to lose the baby weight. Do you feel that pressure?

Yeah, of course. I mean there are photographers following me every day. So you feel the pressure because of what people write about you. Not that they're personal attacks, but obviously, when you see "Hilary Debuts Post-Baby Body!" you want to tell people, "No, actually, I was just going out to get a coffee." There are some women who look the same right after -- I think they are freaks of nature! I don't know how that happens. I'm not one of those people. It takes your body nine months to get there -- really ten months. So I'm trying to be patient but I'm working hard. And I think now more than ever, I appreciate my body and what it's done for me.

Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Parents magazine.

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