Jaime King: Motherhood Taught Me What Love Is

03/02/2014 at 09:00 PM ET

Jaime King Women in Film Party Frederick M. Brown/Getty

It’s only been five months since Jaime King and her husband Kyle Newman welcomed their son, James Knight, into the world, but in that short window of time the actress has come to the realization that she wasn’t prepared for being a mother.

“You think you know and you have no idea,” the actress told PEOPLE while attending the 7th Annual Women in Film Pre-Oscar Party at Fig & Olive in Los Angeles.

Turns out that while all the books and advice from friends and family are helpful, nothing is as jolting as that moment you hold your child in your hands.

“You realize how powerful we are as creators and you realize that there’s no room for you own [stuff] anymore,” the Hart of Dixie star, 34, says.

“You look at this little child and any part of you that wants to go off into a lala land or any sort of selfish behavior or ideas, you look and you know what love is. I don’t know how to describe it other than it’s the most profound thing that could ever really happen.”

Although James is currently capable of not much more than capturing hearts and rolling over in the middle of the night so that he can deprive his parents of sleep — “At 4 a.m. he’ll roll over on his stomach and then start screaming and then you have to flip him over,” King says — he has singlehandedly taught his mother that not only will she never need an alarm clock again, but that parenthood brings with it a sense of serenity and humility as well.

“It’s really challenging, I think your whole life changes,” the Sin City actress admits at the event, which was sponsored by Perrier-Jouet, MAC and Max Mara.

“The only thing that really matters to me is the survival of my son. Obviously, to be in this industry, you have to be ambitious and driven, but it’s finding a way to balance how do I do the best work possible while at the same time create a life for my son where he can be very happy and free.”

— Reagan Alexander

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , Jaime King , News , Parenting

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Marie on

I always feel a little sorry for the people who claim they didn’t know what love was until they had a child. Maybe I was just lucky to be raised around enough love that I understood it earlier? Also, it’s a bit insulting to say it takes having a child to understand love. Does that mean infertile people don’t understand love?

Chad on

and if her son taught her about love, what does that say about her relationship with her husband?

Kelley on

I couldn’t agree with you, more, Marie. I spent 10 years of my childless marriage being told that I don’t know true love, that my husband and I only have a great relationship because we have no kids, etc. Let me tell you this…it is NOT true. We surprisingly were able to have a child and I learned that…wait for it…I DID know love already! I have loved others fully and completely just like I do my daughter. My marriage is great because it IS great. Having a child did not ruin it as predicted by the naysayers. Many of the kindest, most generous and most selfless women I know do not have children. True love comes in many forms, not just from having a baby.

Melissa Kelly on

Jesus, people, she’s talking about the love between a mother and her child. Way to go for taking everything way out of context.

nancy on

Well lets see how she feels when her child hits the teenage years.

Sharon on

After reading some of the comments on here, I guess I have a different view of the article. The love we have for our kids is a different kind of love than we have for our spouses or extended family etc, I get what she is saying.

Paige on

Love can be defined in several types, for kids, spouse, friends, it depends on how you express it.