Actress and momtrepreneur Tia Mowry-Hardict may always seem upbeat and í¼ber-positive, but she went through a very dark period when she was struggling with infertility. The cause? Endometriosis, which is an abnormal growth of cells from the lining of your uterus that appear outside of the uterine cavity. It can be painful and cause fertility issues. Now, 35, Tia was diagnosed with Endometriosis at 27, and underwent two surgeries and a major lifestyle change before getting pregnant with son, Cree, now 2.
Tia shares her experiences with Endometriosis, as well as some smart pregnancy tips all moms-to-be can learn from.
Due to your Endometriosis diagnosis, you had two surgeries and were told you needed a third. Was there ever a point where you thought you wouldn't be able to have kids?
Yes, despite my diagnosis I still wanted to try and have a baby, but not being able to have kids was an immediate fear. It made me feel out of control. I knew that I desperately wanted to have children and after speaking with a nutritionist that came recommended by my doctor, I was reassured that with the right eating habits and lifestyle changes (no sugar, no carbs!), I would have a better possibility of getting pregnant. I started to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I became extremely health conscious, changed my diet, and I think those changes helped with ultimately getting pregnant.
Now that you are a mom, what do you wish you could tell your pregnant self about all of the fears you had about being a mom?
The baby is going to come when he/she is ready and it's really important to let nature take its course. There's only so much we can control, like vitamins, exercise etc...but when all is said and done, the baby will come out however he/she is meant to come out. You have to be ok with that.
What were you most excited about when you were pregnant?
I was most excited about seeing my baby (and my belly) grow.
What were you most scared of?
Natural childbirth! And like any mom I was anxious about making sure my baby was healthy.
What was the best piece of advice you received while pregnant?
Sleep while you can!
How did you get through the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy? Any tips for moms-to-be?
For the nausea that comes with morning sickness, what really, really helped me were seasickness bands. You wear them and they work on a pressure point that deals with seasickness. For exhaustion, listen to your body. When you're tired, rest. Don't try to be superwoman. But also don't be afraid to exercise when your're feeling up to it. My advice for women struggling with stretch marks would be to use Stretchy by needbrands.com, a line of products I launched with my sister Tamera.
Why did you two decide to launch your own line for pregnant women, moms and babies?
We felt that there were certain products that didn't exist out there that we absolutely could have used during our own pregnancies. So, if there was a need on our end, there must be other moms out there looking for the same types of things. Milky—an herbal tea supplement to help boost the quality and quantity of your breast milk—is important because it is a need (no pun intended). It's quick, convenient, affordable, natural and tasty. Next up, we're looking to have six more products in stores at Destination Maternity nationwide by January 2014, that focus on the needs of moms (during and post pregnancy) babies, infants and toddlers.
Was it hard to be a working mom-to-be?
It was really challenging. The hardest thing was hiding my pregnancy for the first two months. When you're working on a set, it can be extremely hard. I found myself running to the bathroom several times with morning sickness, but had to tell those around me that I had gastro-intestinal issues. I'd also fall asleep in between takes. I didn't really deal with mommy brain until after I had Cree. I went to the grocery store once and left my car running the whole time! I found the best way of working through all of the absent mindedness was to write everything down.
You have your series of yoga DVDs. How do you think yoga can help pregnant women?
Yoga opens up parts of the body that otherwise stay shut down, and it helps with breathing techniques, which are vital to the childbirth process. Yoga also helped me lose weight post-baby but it's important to remember that it deals with more emotional and spiritual weight than physical. Yoga combined with cardio and weight training is ideal. I gained 60 pounds when I was pregnant and it took two years to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy.
On Instant Mom you fall in love and you're suddenly a step-mom of three. What tips have you learned from your character that you can share with other moms with newly blended families?
Even though you are a step-mom, it doesn't mean that you can't be a mom to the children. A mom is someone who nurtures and loves, and shares responsibilities with the rest of the caretakers in the family. Having kids is a blessing.
Tia Mowry-Hardrict's new show, Instant Mom, debuts Sunday, Sept 29, at 8:30 p.m. on Nick at Nite, then airs again at 10:30 p.m. on Nick Jr. The third season of her reality show Tia & Tamera premieres on E! Tuesday, Oct 15, at 9 p.m. And her Need products are available at Destination Maternity.
TELL US: What are your best pregnancy tips for other moms-to-be?
Image of Tia Mowry-Hardict courtesy of Shutterstock.