Uzo Aduba on Pregnancy, Putting Herself First and Pursuing Her Passions

Uzo Aduba on Pregnancy, Putting Herself First and Pursuing Her Passions featured image
Photos: Tina Turnbow / Makeup: Tina Turnbow using ogee

This isn’t Uzo Aduba’s first time up to bat. The Emmy-winning actress—you probably know her from Orange Is the New Black, Painkiller and being a Broadway staple—Boston native has been doing her thing for a few decades now, and she’s not about to stop.

That being said, the multi-hyphenate (she is one of only two actors to win the award in both the comedy and drama categories for the same role) is on to a new endeavor this fall—that of a first-time mom. And, at the age of 42, and she’ll be the first to tell you that required some updating of the resume.

What was your biggest surprise with this first-time pregnancy?

My biggest surprise, after the kicks—whoa!—was discovering just how much more powerful I feel being pregnant than before pregnancy.

The idea of growing a life inside of me, while still pursuing my passions, getting up and going to work, and handling my day-to-day made me realize how strong I truly am and how much I can do mentally and physically. I just felt really powerful.

What do you wish someone told you prior?

That morning sickness is not just in the morning! It’s all day. They need to rename that term—top to bottom.

How did your self-care and wellness routine change?

I really put myself first; I put this baby first. It changed the way I was eating. It changed what I wanted to put in my body, knowing that another life depended on me and what I consumed.

I wanted to ensure that my baby and I were nourished and healthy in this process.

It changed my reason for exercising. It directly impacted how I use my time because I know that time involves energy, and deciding where I want to put my energy.

In these last few years, I will have experienced the complete circle of life. From these experiences, I have learned, if it’s going to take away from me or what I love, I’m very aware of shielding that, and I’m protective of it. I work to surround myself with the people, places, and things that pour into me as much as I try to pour into them.

It also motivated me to release stress and things that don’t serve or deserve my attention or time.

It made me more protective of my time and space in a way that I think is good.

Did you find any pregnancy-safe beauty products you really love or did you make any significant switches to your skin care?

I like using cleaner products, things that feel great on my skin. I’ve continued using Nivea moisturizer, which I love. I use it on my baby bump and my whole body; I love that product.

I recently added Mindy Kaling’s Lion Pose to my daily routine. I use Dove Soap every day to clean my skin, along with Lancôme Milk Cleanser ($57). It’s great for taking off my makeup. That’s a beauty secret handed down to me from my mother. Those are the main ones.

You were very into sports growing up. Is that still part of your daily life?

Oh yeah! I love to watch sports. My favorite has always been tennis. In terms of activity, it’s been very important to me during this pregnancy to stay moving. I get up and work out for forty-five minutes five days a week. I want to keep my body, joints, and muscles strong. Once I deliver the baby, I can’t wait to incorporate some toning and jogging into the mix as well.

Where do you keep all of your awards?

On the top shelf in my home office.

What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about your everyday life?

Much of my everyday life involves The Real Housewives franchise. I watch all of them. That’s my ‘brain break time.’ I watch literally all of them. I love it.

I also spend a lot of my free time talking to my friends and family. When I go on my walks in the morning, a big piece of that is checking in with my elders—my aunties and uncles over the phone. I want to see how they’re doing, those Stateside, abroad, and in Nigeria. Just to check-in.

Do you plan to stay at home and slow down for a bit after the baby arrives?

The initial couple of months, sure, as my body heals, I plan to stay home. But I am also excited to bring my motherhood with me back into the workforce. My new self, my experience.

I grew up in a home where I got to see my mother, be a mother and work. That is something that partly inspired my motherhood as well.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to show my child how to live their life with passion at an early age.

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