Mandy Moore candidly talks about the feelings of isolation she’s experienced since the birth of son Gus in February, especially as a new mom during the pandemic.
In an IG Live interview with clinical psychologist and perinatal mental health specialist Ashurina Ream, the actress and singer spoke candidly about the challenges of becoming a new parent.
“I had these preconceptions about myself going into motherhood,” Moore told Ream. “Of course I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I thought, ‘Oh, I might have this kind of naturally maternal side,’ whatever that means. But I guess I just didn’t really recognize the worries, the fears, the sense of responsibility that is so ever-present to move forward once you become a mother.”
The 37-year-old noted that, as a nursing mother, “my life currently exists in two- to three-hour increments,” the 37-year-old confided that she found motherhood “so strangely isolating,” even with the help of her “very supportive husband”, musician Taylor Goldsmith. That loneliness has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
“I think when I imagined motherhood, I kind of imagined, oh, you find intercourse… and you go to mommy-and-me classes and baby classes,” she said. “And I’m sure that’s a reality for some people in different parts of the country, but I don’t know if it’s something I’d be most comfortable with right now, just considering what we like. ” of surviving. And so you have to reshape the expectations you had about what it’s like to be a mother and what it’s like to connect with people. The isolation is something that really hit me that I didn’t necessarily expect. “
The Emmy-nominated actress plays a mother of triplets in the NBC drama This is us, but shared that “playing a mom on a TV show might be a little bit of what it’s like to be a parent.” During the discussion, she admitted to asking co-star Milo Ventimiglia for advice on holding and swaddling a baby when working with babies on set.
“Having one kid is like a whole new ball game for me,” Moore continued. “I kind of joke like, ‘Can I go back now? Can we start the series from the beginning, because now I have a little idea of what it’s like to be a parent that I didn’t have before?’ … But I just think the reality of postpartum [life] versus what I kind of expected, because I’d already played a mom and knew that that oxytocin wash wouldn’t last forever, and the isolation – it’s something that was really surprising. You just, without thinking about it, prioritize everything in life again.”
Moore added that she also struggles to maintain her friendships because “I personally don’t have many friends who have babies.” She described herself as shy by nature and said it was “hard to find intercourse” since becoming a mother.
“Bringing yourself out and trying to find a new community of new moms to exchange ideas and talk to and confide in is intimidating,” she shared. “I’m actually a very shy person, so I found it hard to reach out and find people to connect with.”
The former teen star also opened up about other challenges she faced as a mother, including trying to “stay connected to myself and my identity beyond being a mother alone.” She first described leaving Gus at home last week to go hiking in the mountains with two fellow moms, noting that “I had to do something for myself physically; I had to tap into something I was passionate about before he got here.” During the trip, however, she struggled with guilt for being gone, while feeling physically overwhelmed by the walk. The experience, she told Ream, has helped her work through the “unrealistic expectations” she may set for herself and recognize the need to “show myself some mercy” rather than beat herself up for failing to achieve those goals. has passed.
Moore also spoke of feeling “inadequate” as a mother. She said the attention she received during pregnancy made her feel “on top of the world,” only to be plunged into the depths of postpartum life.
“Everything shifts to the baby,” she explained. “The baby should of course take precedence, but mothers should be next to it” [them]…Around three months [after giving birth]I was hit by this wave of just not feeling good enough. I think it coincided with the chaos and the energy of those early months and weeks that started to wane; our time with some kind of extra support was coming to an end… It was really scary and it makes me emotional to think about it now. I still feel like I’m in it, but I’m finding my footing.
She continued: “I think when his needs really started to change… I just felt a rush of, ‘I’m not good enough for him. I don’t know how to be his mother. I know how to feed him, but otherwise, am I fit for this?’ I just felt so ineffective, and I would look at my husband who just seemed to have a supernatural ability to take care of Gus. Like, he could make him laugh. He could make him laugh. He would lie on the floor and spin around with him. And I just felt like whatever I did, it just wasn’t right, and I couldn’t get him to sleep and I felt terrible.”
She added that she would have Goldsmith put the baby down at bedtime because she found the experience triggering.
“I would look at other mom friends of mine who see this online life as a seemingly perfect existence of what I imagined it to be,” she said. “And I’m like, ‘What am I missing here?'”
Moore has since become more forgiving of herself, accepting that motherhood comes with ebbs and flows that she will work through.
“I’m still learning. I don’t know anything, but I’m still here trying to find myself trying to just stop and breathe through it,” she said. “Recognizing that I’m best when I trust my own instincts, remembering that everything is a phase.”