Wise words: "If you don't accept yourself and your body, no one else will," says Jaime King. The formidable actress and style icon, who is now also a baby-clothing designer, shares her motherhood mantras with American Baby.
Through social media, you've encouraged women, especially pregnant ones, to love their body. Why is that message important?
"I know what it feels like to be body-shamed. People have made comments about how I'm too thin and need to eat a sandwich. I've seen it happen with other pregnant women in this business too -- we're either too thin or put on too much weight. But every woman's body is different, and you don't know what's going to happen to yours. One friend of mine gained 55 pounds when she was pregnant, while my sister gained 30. All that matters is that you're taking care of the nutrition for yourself and your child. So don't let other people get you down, and don't put other women down either."
You have such amazing style! What are your best fashion tips for pregnant women?
"Most either go boho and wear long, flowy dresses like they're going to the beach, or they throw on sweatpants because they feel like crap. To me, pregnancy is the ultimate symbol of womanhood, beauty, and sensuality, so make it a celebration of creating life. You don't have to hide anything or try to suck in your belly. Why not put on things that are tighter, flashier, or more fun? Wearing formfitting clothes totally counteracts that voice inside of us that says, 'Ugh, I just want to lie down all day and sleep.' I feel it's really important to feel good about yourself, and fashion is part of that."
What should an expecting mom have in her wardrobe?
"A cute wrap dress is good because you can wear it after pregnancy as well. I love the maternity clothes from Hatch and A Pea in the Pod because they can also be used after you have the baby, and I'm all about not wasting things." (King also loves a good pair of maternity jeans and will be modeling a new line called Luxe Essentials Denim by A Pea in the Pod, beginning this month.)
How did you pick the babies' godmothers? We know Jessica Alba won the honor for your first, and Taylor Swift will be godmother to this new baby.
"I asked myself, 'God forbid anything happened to me, would she take care of my child as if he were her own? What kind of morals would she instill? Will she be backup support if for any reason my child doesn't want to come to me for something?' I looked for giving people whom I admire, and those two give more than anyone I've ever met."
What was the most surprising thing you learned during your first pregnancy, with James Knight [now 22 months old]?
"Finding out that my job [starring on Hart of Dixie] considered my pregnancy a disability. I was like, 'I can't take three months off without getting paid. I have a child to support.' I went back to work after six weeks. It was really difficult trying to navigate that. I realized I was living in a world that so many other working moms are living in."
If friends offer to help with a new baby, what's the thing you would appreciate most?
"Bring over food so I don't have to cook. Or watch the baby sleep while I take a shower. Those little things make a huge difference!"
What's the best advice you received as a new mom?
"Sleep when your baby sleeps. Even now that James Knight is older, I know that if I'm tired between 10:30 A.M. and noon, I can lie down and take a nap when he's napping."
What's one thing you thought you'd be strict about but you're not?
"I thought I'd be one of those parents who'd say, 'No screen time!' But James Knight plays all day and then at night we might let him watch a little bit of Frozen or Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Like me and my husband [director Kyle Newman], he's obsessed. He can't speak in full sentences yet, but he can do Darth Vader, Yoda, and R2-D2 voices." (King also voiced several characters in The Clone Wars series, and her baby shower for James Knight had a Star Wars theme.)
What do you love most about the baby stage?
"I love every part of it! Probably because of how long it took me to get pregnant -- seven years -- and all that I went through with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome."
What's your biggest lesson from little James Knight?
"He does not hold on to hurt feelings, so he's given me a get-over-yourself attitude. Now when something bothers me, I think, 'I should be like James Knight and get over it in two seconds.' Parents can really learn from kids about letting go. Every time I look at my son, he makes me want to be a better person."?
Originally published in the August 2015 issue of American Baby magazine.