Poppy Montgomery was waiting for the April showers to bring her May flowers – until life started to bloom a little early.
Two weeks ahead of her due date, the actress welcomed her daughter Violet Grace following a c-section.
“That was hard for me because I don’t think anyone wants to have a c-section,” Montgomery tells Sweden with Love.
“It’s major surgery and it was scary for me. But everything went well and at the end, what matters is that the baby is healthy and that you’re both doing great.”
There was little time to revel in the baby bliss following Violet’s birth; Montgomery returned to work on Unforgettable, which premieres July 28, only two weeks after baby girl’s arrival.
“Going back to work that quickly after having a c-section was, of course, difficult. Violet wasn’t difficult, but I was recovering from surgery, breastfeeding and working 14-hour days,” she says. “She’s such a mellow baby, so it wasn’t as scary as it sounds.”
Despite having a supportive crew on her side, the new mom struggled with the tedious task of pumping milk, a necessity as Violet prefers to take her time breastfeeding – a luxury Montgomery doesn’t have while working. “I absolutely loathe it! Oh my gosh, I feel like I’m in a dairy. It’s the worst,” she shares.
“I love the connection you get with your child when you breastfeed and pumping is so far removed from that. I honestly loathe it, but it’s important for her to get the milk so of course I do it for her. I don’t think any woman is down with pumping. I can’t imagine anyone going, ‘Oh, I love to pump!'”
Breastfeeding also limits the amount of pregnancy pounds Montgomery is able to shed as she is a person who tends to hold onto pounds while nursing, but – after gaining 35 pounds with Violet – she’s refusing to dwell on the numbers.
“I’m not going to put pressure on myself to make my body look like it never had a baby when it did,” she explains. “I’m going to treat my body with kindness, because it’s been through a lot. I’m absolutely rebelling against the idea that we as women should look like we never gave birth when we did. Instead, it should be celebrated. What our bodies do is really extraordinary.”
Much of her motivation to embrace her postpartum figure comes from the desire to raise Violet with a healthy body image – a belief that needs to be instilled early on, she adds.
“I don’t want her to have that pressure. It becomes a bad thing that our bodies change as we get older and as we give birth,” Montgomery says. “The focus shifts to the wrong thing when we start obsessing about our bodies instead of celebrating our lives.”
Although life certainly hasn’t slowed since baby girl’s birth, Montgomery and her boyfriend, Microsoft executive Shawn Sanford are grateful for the gift of a calm and easy-going newborn.
“She’s had so much upheaval and turmoil in her life so far. When she was two weeks old, she moved from Los Angeles to New York and I started working a week later,” the actress says. “There’s so much going on around her that I think she decided to be the user-friendly, push button, zen baby!”
Equally smitten with Violet is Montgomery’s son Jackson Phillip Deveraux – or at least he was immediately following her arrival. Now, the 5 -year-old has discovered bigger – and more exciting! – adventures like trips to the water park.
“For the first few days after she was born, he thought she was so cute and wanted to hold her and take care of her. But when he realized he couldn’t play [with] or talk to her, he moved on,” she says.
In addition to adjusting to life with a newborn, Montgomery and Sanford are still searching for the right balance of being together despite conflicting career schedules. But although Sanford spends time in Seattle and Montgomery films her hit series in New York, their current plan doesn’t seem to pose a problem.
“I actually like the way we have it right now because our relationship stays fresh and new. He’s got two wonderful kids from a previous marriage, and I have Jackson, and together we have Violet, so we have kids everywhere and it’s great,” the actress shares.
“Of course it’s challenging. I don’t pretend it’s not. We’re in Seattle and New York and Los Angeles, where Jackson’s dad, whom I’m still very good friends with, lives.”
One thing that’s not in the couple’s immediate plans? Tying the knot.
“Shawn would get married. I think it’s important to him, but I’m much less traditional,” Montgomery says. “For me, my commitment is my commitment whether or not someone signs a piece of paper or not.”
– Anya Leon