Keri chats with ePregnancy about River, motherhood, and her work with PKIDs.
eP: Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy, River! Until your baby was born, you and your husband Shane decided to keep his sex a secret. Did you have any “gut” feelings or did you manage to stay entirely neutral and “surprised” when he was born?
Keri: We kept the sex a surprise. We were convinced [the baby] was a girl, but so, so happy to have a boy.
eP: You elected to have a hospital birth with a midwife. We love that you made a birth plan that worked for you! What were the best aspects of the hospital, and the best aspects of the midwife’s presence/intervention?
Keri: I absolutely loved having a midwife. I just felt the attention was more personal and more…. connected. There is a great new documentary called The Business of Being Born. It is amaaazing. And it really discusses how natural child birth is and should be. And what an amazing powerful gift it is to experience as women without all the intervention, when possible. Anyway, very inspiring film and it made sense to us. And yes, we were in an actual hospital, which was nice as well. Especially for our first, when you just have no idea of what is in store.
eP: You’ve been on quite a roll playing young pregnant women! Tell us a bit about your real-life pregnancy experience.
Keri: I had a dream pregnancy. Really. Felt good, exercised, ate everything. My husband and I even went on a great vacation 7 months pregnant and I bicycled with him around the whole island.
eP: It seems like the debate over vaccinations for babies (and adults!) is in the news daily. You’ve taken on a tremendous — and some would say, courageous — role with PKIDs [Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases] and the “Silence the Sounds of Pertussis” campaign. Could you tell us a bit about the effort, and how you became involved?
Keri: As a new mom you’re inundated with all this new medical information and tips on how to keep your baby safe. I — like everyone — was researching everything. PKIDs approached me because they knew I was a new mom and they were looking for someone to help spread their message. When I learned pertussis, or whooping cough is on the rise and thousands of infants are infected each year, I asked my pediatrician how I could protect my baby. She recommended I make sure that everyone who comes in close contact with the baby is vaccinated against whooping cough until he is old enough to receive the shot. This campaign, “Silence the Sounds of Pertussis,” is about encouraging parents to talk to their pediatricians to learn more about what they can do to keep their families safe. I think it’s important for each family to talk to their pediatrician and make the decision that is best for them. My doctor supported our decision to get vaccinated and it was one small thing I could do to make sure River is safe and healthy.
eP: You’ve said motherhood is a “most challenging role.” Any stories to share about some of the challenges — and triumphs — you’ve faced thus far in this new role?
Keri: It is truly overwhelming all of the new things you feel being a parent for the first time, not to mention trying to work at the same time. And I would say everyone kept telling me that those first 3 months were going to be hard but then you’d get over the hump and [now] I know what they meant. Because right after that, the baby starts smiling and laughing and having more exchanges with you and its easier to read what’s going on with them. But yeah, those first smiles and laughs…they’re everything.
eP: Any insights on what might be in your future, professionally and privately?
Keri: It looks like I’m going to take a job beginning of 2008. It will be my first real job, not just doing press for a movie release, but actually filming a movie since River was born. We’ll see how it all goes…..