Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
Naya Rivera isn't afraid to tell it like it is. (The woman wrote a book called Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up, for crying out loud.) Not only does her unapologetic candor — on everything from abortion to anorexia — make her extremely relatable by celebrity standards, it's also wildly refreshing to see. Now, the former Glee star is opening up about yet another taboo topic: postpartum beauty struggles, the pressures of being a new mom, and everything that comes along with it.
For starters, coming to terms with the changes that your hair, skin, and body go through during pregnancy is key. "It’s funny because I’ll show people pictures of me in the delivery room right after giving birth, and I’m like, who is this person?," Rivera tells us exclusively. "Everything about my face looked completely different. I gained a lot of water weight toward the end of my pregnancy — my face was so puffy."
Sounds pretty common, right? But not every adjustment is so black and white. She also admits that her skin changed after giving birth — a lot. "I would have days where my face would just be super red all of a sudden," she says. "None of my face washes or moisturizers would feel good on my skin. I don’t know if it was the hormones or whatever else, but it would just burn. I’d be in the kitchen [cooking] and the heat would make my face start burning."
The only thing that worked, as luck would have it, was taking the oatmeal bath she'd use for Josey (her son, who's now a year and a half), and whipping it into a face mask to soothe the inflammation. "I also rub Aquaphor all over my entire body down after the shower. I still use it constantly."
Postpartum changes also triggered a seemingly endless case of dry, itchy skin on her scalp. It's especially true for new moms, who — due in part to hormonal shifts — experience a range of hair changes, including that and/or excessive hair loss. "Obviously I've tried everything, including DIY treatments, to [fix the problem] and had success with Nioxin," Rivera says, adding that she swears by its Scalp Recovery System. (Starting today, she'll serve as the face for the brand.) "They offer a wide array of treatments for different things, so it feels very personal and customized."
But there is one thing she's not here for: mommy shaming — especially when it comes to finding the right time to have a baby. "You know when it feels right in your heart. It’s your body, it's your decision. And if you feel like you can be fully present and be a great mom in that moment in your life, then by all means, go ahead." Sounds about right to us.
Read these stories next: