NEW YORK, April 7 (UPI) — “That ’70s Show,” “October Road” and “Orange is the New Black” actress Laura Prepon says she hopes readers of her new book, “You & I, As Mothers,” find strength and comfort in its words.
Subtitled “A Raw and Honest Guide to Motherhood,” the book went on sale Tuesday.
In it, Prepon and some of her “mom squad” friends — including writer Jeniji Kohan, actresses Mila Kunis and Amber Tamblyn, and chef Daphne Oz — offer their perspectives on parenting, stress, anxiety, self-care, nutrition and relationships.
This is the resource Prepon said she wishes she had when she was pregnant with daughter Ella and when she was struggling as an overwhelmed new mom in the months after giving birth.
“There were all these books about pregnancy, which is nine months of your life, and, then after that, there was nothing. I was like, ‘What about when you actually become a mother for the rest of your life?'” the 40-year-old mother of two told UPI in a recent phone interview.
Prepon researched as much as she could on her own, but was surprised to discover she still wasn’t adequately prepared when Ella arrived nearly three years ago.
“I could not take care of myself or my family, which was not like me because I am such a doer,” recalled the actress, who has been married to actor Ben Foster since 2018. “I even said to my husband, ‘The woman you married is gone. I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I am doing.'”
Prepon suspected many women experienced similar feelings, but weren’t talking about them.
When she brought up the topics to friends, she learned she was right.
Foster encouraged Prepon to write it all down in her own distinctive voice, knowing that even more people would relate.
“As soon as I opened the Pandora’s box, all of these women started talking about how they are dealing with the same things,” she said, adding she wrote the book because she wants mothers “to feel heard and less alone, and like there was a voice that they could turn to.”
Prepon gave the heartbreak of pregnancy loss as an example of a subject women are reluctant to talk about.
She terminated a pregnancy at 16 weeks in-between the births of her two children because the baby suffered from cystic hygroma and was not expected to make it to full term.
“I was right in the throes of being upset with my body and being confused about why that happened and feeling like a failure,” Prepon said.
She said she felt alone and ashamed because women she knew didn’t disclose their own losses until the actress brought up hers.
“There is a conversation that needs to happen, and I am writing this book to get this thing started,” Prepon said. “I’m so proud of this book and I love it and it’s healed me a lot, as well.”
Once she explained what she wanted to do with the book, her celebrity friends generously opened up about their own troubles and joys.
“You want to share because, innately, you want to help others,” she said.
Prepon, who gave birth to a son in February, said it is hard to describe what acting or directing job could entice her to leave her little ones for an extended period in the near future.
“My family is everything to me. A lot of our jobs take us out of the state for long periods of time, and you have to go and be away from them, or you have to relocate your whole family,” she said.
Prepon and Foster are now more selective about the roles they accept and they consider carefully how each job could impact the family as a whole.
“He just did two back-to-back movies in Eastern Europe and it was really hard. There are certain things we work into our contracts that we have to be home with our families at certain periods of time. We make that a priority,” Prepon said.
“It’s a tricky thing, the kind of hours that we work and how consumed we have to be on our sets, but the fact that he understands that is incredible, and vice versa.”
Prepon said she strives for balance on her social media feeds, using them as tools, keeping them uplifting and on-brand, and tuning out the negative “compare and despair” culture as much as she can.
She recommends everyone, particularly children and young adults, do the same.
“It’s a very tough thing to negotiate, especially, with kids. They don’t know what’s real and what’s not, Everyone puts up their best self on social media and it is a lot of self-promotion,” Prepon said.
“I put out the communication that I want to put out, which is about positivity and a lot about being a working mom and nurturing my family and food preparation and being able to share and interact with my community.”
It is a constant negotiation deciding what to let in, she said.
“I’m not going to lie. If you’re tired and you’ve had a long day and you go on social media to zone out for a second, that’s when things can kind of affect you, you know what I mean?” she laughed. “I really try not to hang out on it.”