New mom-of-three Melissa Joan Hart introduces her “hairy” newborn son Tucker, 5 weeks, and says he’s “been an absolute joy and an amazing addition” to her growing family with husband Mark Wilkerson and their older boys: Mason, 6, and Brady, 4.
The Sabrina, the Teenage Witch alum opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about partnering with Merck for Mothers and the “Once Upon a Birth” campaign to shed light on the 800 women that die worldwide during pregnancy and childbirth every day. MJH also talks about her pregnancy and birth, being “relieved” it was another boy, and not ruling out trying for a girl.
MJH: “Merck for Mothers’ “Once Upon a Birth” campaign celebrates the inspiring and touching moments of a mother giving birth to a child. Unfortunately, women around the world and even in the U.S. still die during childbirth. I was shocked to learn that with all the medical advancements and technology available today, many women still die during childbirth and never get to see their children grow up. In fact, every day 800 women die worldwide during pregnancy and childbirth and 90 percent of these deaths are preventable.
After having three healthy pregnancies and deliveries, I wanted to help make sure that every woman around the world can experience the same. I partnered with Merck on the “Once Upon a Birth” campaign to help encourage people to share their stories of the day a loved one was born in honor of the many women who never get to share their stories. For every story shared, a donation is triggered from Merck to Join My Village, a program from CARE that empowers women and girls and supports safe pregnancies and deliveries.”
CBS: Congratulations on the birth of your third son, Tucker! How are you doing? How is baby Tucker? What kind of baby is he? Are you getting any sleep?
MJH: “Tucker has been an absolute joy and an amazing addition to our family. I’m starting to feel the sleep deprivation kick in. In the beginning I thought I had it figured out and it seemed easy. But now the chaos is starting to kick in. Tucker is a ‘hairy’ baby, like a gorilla, but he is a good sleeper so we’re lucky.”
CBS: How are you managing with three young boys? Have Mason and Brady adjusted well to the baby? Are they excited to have another brother?
MJH: “I’ve never seen kids more excited to have a baby around. Mason wants to do everything for Tucker – feed him, hold him, push the stroller. Brady loves to kiss him, but he is a little too aggressive.
As far as how I’m managing it, I’m just trying to figure out how to get everybody where they are supposed to be and work out the new schedule which is tricky. But we’re making it work!”
CBS: How are you able to keep the romance alive amidst the busyness of your household?
MJH: “We are so in love with our children and family. It helps our bond grow even stronger!”
CBS: How was your third birth?
MJH: “Mark and I have learned a lot since our first, so in some ways we were more informed and prepared this time around. Mark even felt confident enough to help deliver Tucker from head to toe!
But, we were also reminded that you can never truly be prepared. I spent weeks making sure I had my makeup on and my toes painted, but I still wound up at the hospital with wind-blown hair and muddy feet from walking the beach in hurricane-like weather.
At the end of it, I was just grateful to have Tucker safely in my arms and to be able to share this story today because not all women get that chance.”
CBS: We hear Merck is encouraging women to share their birth stories. How can this help with maternal health? Why do you think so many women keep their birth stories to themselves?
MJH: “Women actually love to share their stories. In fact, Merck recently conducted a survey that found that nearly three-quarters (72%) of women say they enjoy hearing other people’s birth stories or experiences. The survey also found that three in five mothers want to share their child’s birth story to inform others of delivery successes and complications.
Reading through the personal stories being shared on the Merck for Mothers Facebook page, it is amazing how many women here in the United States have experienced complications with their own deliveries, including some of my close friends. I really encourage people to read them all to learn about how this issue is affecting women just like you and I.
Plus, for every story shared, a donation is triggered by Merck to Join My Village, a program from CARE that empowers women and girls and supports safe pregnancies and deliveries.”
CBS: Were you a bit disappointed it wasn’t a girl this time around? Are you feeling your family is complete now with 3 children? Maybe you’ll still try for a girl?
MJH: “I was actually relieved it was a boy. It makes life a little easier. I wasn’t prepared for the “girly” toys and accessories. I couldn’t be more happy with the family I have surrounding me but I’m not ready to say I’m done having kids just yet.”
CBS: When are you planning to return to Melissa and Joey? Will you have much of a maternity leave? What will your work schedule be like once you return to the set?
MJH: “We are picking up the family and temporarily moving back to California. We are starting to shoot season 3 in the spring. Luckily, my work schedule is pretty light most of the week so I’ll get a lot of good “mommy time” in.
As far as maternity leave, actresses don’t get a traditional leave. Instead you are asked how soon you can be back in a bikini.”