LOS ANGELES – Motherhood didn’t start so great for actress/ singer Jennifer Lopez.
She was in such pain after having a Caesarean section to deliver her twins in 2008, Lopez couldn’t hold the newborns. Despite all the pain, she turned down all offers of painkillers.
When the pain got so bad, a crying Lopez told her then-husband, Marc Anthony: “The babies don’t love me. They don’t love me. And they’re not going to know me and they’re going to love the nurse.”
Anthony’s efforts to calm Lopez failed. The only thing that made her feel better was reading Heidi Murkoff’s book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Lopez learned she was going through a hormone drop on the 10th day after the births – called “The Baby Blues” – that many women experience.
Now, Lopez is starring in a film version of the book that opens Friday.
Unlike her own experience, Lopez plays a woman who decides to adopt a baby. Her story is mixed with other pending-motherhood tales, played out by Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Banks and Anna Kendrick. Of the four main female stars, Lopez was the only one who truly knew what to expect when expecting.
Banks is a new mom, but via a surrogate. Neither Kendrick nor Diaz has gone through the labors of love.
“I found the book to be so incredibly accurate while I was pregnant, and honestly I just see why everybody has this book and why it’s the first thing that you get when you find out that you’re pregnant because it just takes you through everything,” Lopez says.
“When you get pregnant, it’s the type of thing, like everybody’s talked about your whole life, but you know nothing about when it’s happening to you. This book helps you to not freak out.”
There were plenty of times Lopez was ready to lose it during her pregnancy.
She was afraid she would never get to wear all of the wonderful shoes she owns because her feet grew one size. There was also the panic attack that came with the realization she was about to become responsible for two new lives.
She stayed on tour until she was 6 1/2 months pregnant. The decision to end the tour was made because of what she calls “baby brain.”
“I was on tour, the song starts and I was like …,” Lopez says followed by a blank stare. “I totally forgot the lyrics to my own song. I was like, this is bad. But then I was like, I’m pregnant, who cares?
“And I look back at my band and I’m like, anybody? They didn’t know if I was just having a moment, and I was like, ‘I really just don’t know the words.’ ”
She obviously no longer has “baby brain,” as Lopez has been busy over the past few months as one of the judges on “American Idol,” rehearsing for her next tour and promoting her new movie. It’s been tiring but she feels blessed.
As for her concerns about being a parent, Lopez says it’s just a matter of putting the twins first and everything in line behind them. It’s also a good thing that she’s not facing the responsibilities alone.
“I have a lot of help, and I have a lot of great people in my life who help in all those areas in work and at home. I have a great family. So all together we do it. It takes a village,” Lopez says.
No matter how much help she has, Lopez faces the same guilt as any single working mom. It’s hard for her to leave the twins when she has to go to one of her many jobs. But she’s not slowing down.
Doing the movie did make Lopez think about the possibilities of another child in her life. She would love to have another baby, but between work and raising the twins her hands are pretty full.
She does have a new appreciation for adoption.
“It’s funny because before the movie, I never really thought about adoption at all. I just always wanted to have my own baby, and I was so focused on that because it took me awhile to have my own. During the making of the film, when I held those two little Ethiopian twins, I fell in love instantly and it really occurred to me, I can see how somebody can do this.
“How it’s so easy to embrace a child who has nothing,” she says. “It’s a really beautiful selfless act of love.”