May 1, 2023 | In the News
Gina Rodriguez Talks Pain in Childbirth and Prioritizing Self-Care Postpartum
Gina Rodriguez has fallen into a newborn twilight zone. “I don’t know anything else exists besides this incredible beautiful being,” she tells POPSUGAR in an exclusive interview. While we chat, she hears her 2-month-old son, Charlie, wake up from a nap. “Oh my goodness! I can hear my son crying from here. That’s crazy. He is so far away and I already know he’s crying. That mom instinct is wild.” She pauses and mischievously adds, “Let’s see how my husband does.”
The award-winning actor is excited for her first Mother’s Day as a new mom. “I hope my husband makes his French toast and brings it to me in bed,” she tells POPSUGAR. (Flagging this for Rodriguez’s husband, Joe LoCicero!)
“All advice is great advice, and then you have to do what’s best for you.”
In honor of the holiday, Rodriguez has teamed up with woman-founded company Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) to encourage moms to take a minute for themselves. The campaign, called Mother’s Other Day, is a call to action for likeminded companies to give their employees the day after Mother’s Day off so they can actually rest and reset. A recent study conducted by Orangetheory Fitness among US consumers revealed that 54 percent of moms believe Mother’s Day is more stressful than an average Sunday. So on Monday, May 15, OTF is hosting free classes for moms in addition to giving employees a paid day off so their moms can fully indulge. As part of the movement, Lululemon is providing gift cards of up to $100 in value to anyone who joins OTF as a new member on May 15.
“I do think we’ve lost touch of how imperative it is to bring life into this world and uplift the person that does,” Rodriguez tells POPSUGAR. She encourages those who can “to go and center yourself, because you gotta put your mask on first.”
Rodriguez mostly can’t wait to spend the day with the other moms in her life. “I have so many women around me who are moms,” she explains, listing her best friend and two older sisters, who have seven children between them.
But something the “Not Dead Yet” star is finding out for herself as a new mom is that motherhood is a unique and very personal journey. “There’s no one thing that works for everyone. Whether it’s sleep training or cosleeping, breastfeeding or formula or a bit of both.” Her favorite tip to give other new moms? “All advice is great advice, and then you have to do what’s best for you.”
Rodriguez is exclusively breastfeeding, which she says has fostered a next level of connection with her son. “I am home to my newborn,” she says. “I am everything and all things, and sometimes [my son] will look at my husband and he’s like, ‘Who are you? Give me back to my mama!'” She laughs before adding, “It means everything to me that he’s so loving and kind to me because I birthed him. I’m now a life-giving source!”
When asked if there’s anything she wishes she’d known before becoming a parent, Rodriguez says she’s enjoying letting things surprise her. “I had to let go of the idea that he has to hit certain milestones,” she says. “And let go of being a ‘good mom’ and instead embracing every day anew and be present.” For example, Rodriguez and her husband spent the morning of the interview saying “I love you” to little Charlie. “He was sounding it back! I swear to God, he was saying ‘I love you’ back!”
These small and special moments have become invaluable to Rodriguez, but she also recognizes the importance of alone time as a new mom. “I know the necessity of just sitting with myself for a minute to revive, recuperate, decompress, and embrace my gratitude,” she tells POPSUGAR. “It’s really preparing yourself to be the best you, the best present human being for your baby. Time to reflect on my experience so far, to move my body, to sweat, to get into my new life, my new body.”
She admits her relationship with her body has changed postpartum. “There’s this concept that you have to get your body back, which I completely despise because it’s never going to be the same,” she says. “But I’m a better self, a better mom when I take an hour to sweat it out.” She injured her hip during childbirth and is regaining her strength back one hour at a time at the gym.
“During pushing, I said, ‘I feel like my leg is falling off,’ and they were like ‘Push into the pain,’ and then I heard a loud pop, and I was like, ‘That pain, you mean?'” she told People. “And I kept pushing and kept going until my little man came out.” Since then, she says her hip feels weakened and she’s turned to exercise — at OTF, where she’s a new member — to help her heal.
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