Megan Fox is detailing the realities of motherhood in the entertainment industry – and she’s calling Hollywood’s attitude toward motherhood “unforgiving.”
The “Transformers” actress shared her experiences raising children while working in the entertainment industry on Thursday’s episode of “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” saying there is “weird pressure” and stress associated with acting and being a mom.
“Hollywood is not adapted to women and us actually having lives and being moms,” she told Clarkson.
The “New Girl” actress shares three sons with her ex-husband actor Brian Austin Green: Noah, 8, Bodhi, 7, and Journey, 4. She said the entertainment industry can be tough before and after having a child.
“As an actor it’s just very unforgiving because you can’t be on camera once you’re past a certain stage of pregnancy,” she said. “Once you have the baby its like ‘OK, well you’re going to have to leave to nurse every two hours and that costs us money and insurance.’ “
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The acting business is stressful and can create pressure to get back to work too soon after having a baby, Fox said.
“There is that thing in this industry of like ‘Are you giving up? Are you just a mom now?’ ” Fox said. “There’s this weird pressure which also then creates guilt. You go to work too soon to satisfy those people.”
The United States has the most family-hostile public policy of any developed country, according to research in 2019 by sociologist Caitlyn Collins. U.S. mothers have it the worst out of Western industrialized nations when it comes to work-life balance because they lack cultural support.
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The pressure to return to work created tension for Fox in a time she should have spent healing and nurturing her newborn.
“The problem is in your brain (while) you’re like delivering (your baby) and it’s like ‘OK, well I have to lose 30 pounds in eight weeks,’ ” she said. “Those things are really stressful and you’re supposed to be bonding and nurturing yourself and nourishing your baby.”
Experts say returning to work so soon after having a baby is dangerous, jeopardizing a woman’s recovery and putting her at increased risk for depression. Studies show depressed mothers have a harder time caring for their babies.
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Fox said she doesn’t have an answer on how to fix Hollywood’s inability to adapt but thinks it could change as more women in the industry rise to positions of power.
“It’s been a patriarchy for so long that the power has been in the hands of people who don’t understand and haven’t been made to understand. It makes sense that it’s played out this way,” she added.
Other celebrities have also been vocal about the backlash of coming back to work too soon, including comedian Amy Schumer, who joked after being mom-shamed for returning to the stage two weeks after giving birth: “I’ve always wanted to be mom-shamed!”
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While Fox said the stress from outside comments can make her feel like a “bad mom,” in a 2019 interview with “The Talk” she said she wants to raise her sons to be confident “no matter what anyone says” after revealing that her son Noah likes to wear dresses.
“He designs, he draws outfits. He’s very talented,” Fox said. “When I do fittings, like I did one recently, and I had this really beautiful yellow dress on, and he kept draping it in a way where he’s like, ‘If we do it like this, it looks like a diaper.’ “
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Contributing: Rasha Ali, Alia E. Dastagir and Amy Haneline