Lea Michele’s first Mother’s Day is around the corner and the proud mom of 8-month-old Ever Leo says she’s learning the ropes one day at a time. “I’ve always been a very confident person and I’ve always known more than anything in the world that I wanted to be a mom,” she says. The Glee star has been open with her past struggles with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and she says her road to motherhood was one with many challenges, but it was worth every second.
The 34-year-old also says she has yet to succumb to pressure to immediately bounce back and wants all new moms to know that there’s no rush in having to find yourself again after baby. Here, she shares what her experience has been like and the products and practices that have helped her get through the new mom stage.
What is the most surprising thing about being a new mom?
“It’s funny I get asked this question a lot, and the truth is that there isn’t one thing. EVERYTHING is surprising about motherhood! From your body, to life, to how much you love your baby. For me though, if I had to try and think about the one thing that stands out the most, I would say how it’s hard you can be on yourself. I’ve always been a very confident person and I’ve always known more than anything in the world that I wanted to be a mom. Yet, despite all the hopes and excitement, what surprised me the most is the amount of insecurity that creeps up daily. It can be very challenging for us moms. Questions like ‘Am I doing things, right? Am I doing a good enough job? What more should I be doing?’ So, it’s important every day to remind yourself that you’re doing amazing and to be kind to yourself.”
Were there any pregnancy beauty treatments or skin-care products you swore by while you were expecting?
“I relied a lot on self care to help me through my pregnancy. Whether it was taking a bath—under 97 degrees—or doing a simple skin-care treatment. Those practices really helped me to feel good and grounded. Prior to becoming pregnant, I did a full clean out of all of my products and eliminated anything with chemicals. It was also very important to me during my pregnancy that I only put all-natural products on my body. I’m a very big fan of Tata Harper and her face masks and body treatments. I loved using those during my pregnancy because they’re incredibly luxurious but also, I knew that I was putting something natural and clean on my body.”
You’ve been really open about your experience with PCOS and your subsequent struggles during pregnancy. Do you have any advice for women who are going through similar struggles?
“Every woman’s journey is different. I feel very grateful that even with PCOS and all of the steps it took in order for me to finally get pregnant, the road wasn’t easy, we feel so blessed to have been given the most incredible gift of our son. I relied a lot on my faith during the process of trying to become pregnant as well as during my pregnancy. I leaned on my family a lot and my husband. So, I would just say to lean on those around you and don’t feel like you have to hold everything inside—and have faith even though it can be so hard sometimes.”
Do you feel that new mom pressure to get back in shape immediately?
“There is definitely the external pressure to ‘snap back’ as they would say, but I have found more than physically feeling the pressure to get back to myself, I feel more pressure to emotionally and personally feel like myself again and that’s been the biggest challenge for me so far. I’ve come to realize that nothing will ever be the same and my emotions and feelings are all completely shifted now that I am a mother and I’m embracing everything from my new body to my new sense of self and wouldn’t change a thing. It’s the strength of my body and my core that helped me get through creating this life as well as caring for my very active son now.”
Do you have any tips for other new moms facing the same pressures?
“Like I said, for me, one of the most challenging things is trying to feel like yourself again. I think that that is something that only will come with time, but also it helps to accept the fact that it’s O.K. if things feel different, life is different now. But doing things that you enjoyed doing before and making sure that you make space for them in your life is very helpful. For example, I’ve always been a huge fan of yoga prior to getting pregnant so every morning, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes, I do yoga before my baby wakes up and it helps me so much to connect with myself outside of being a mom.”
What about skin-care or hair-care favorites? What are you obsessed with right now?
“I truly believe in clean products. Even though I’m no longer pregnant I still love using products that I know are safe and toxic-free. I absolutely love Necessaire body wash and body lotion. All of their products are clean, nontoxic and they are incredibly luxurious. I love Briogeo hair care products as well as Rahua. Their products smell incredible and make my hair look and feel so strong and healthy and are also completely clean.”
Which wellness practices helped you stay balanced through the last year?
“I’m a very big fan of yoga as I mentioned earlier but I relied a lot on meditation throughout my pregnancy. Through some of the most challenging times meditation helped me get through. I love the Calm app as well as the Expectful app. They were both very easy to use and truly helped center and calm me and give me the strength that I needed through whatever ups and downs I was experiencing.”