Jennifer Love Hewitt: How Having a Daughter Influences My Views on Weight Loss

04/02/2014 at 03:00 PM ET

Jennifer Love Hewitt A Pea in the Pod collection launch Charley Gallay/Getty

With a new baby and a new husband, it was a busy winter for Jennifer Love Hewitt. But the mom of now 4-month-old Autumn James couldn’t be happier about her new roles.

“Those first couple of nights, it was wild,” the actress, 35, told PEOPLE at the launch of her maternity line for A Pea in the Pod on Tuesday in Beverly Hills.

“When they let us bring her home I said to [husband, actor Brian Hallisay], ‘To get your license you have to take a test. They check to make sure you’re a good human being to get behind the wheel of a car. They’ve given us no test! We just had a baby and now we’re going home.’ He was like, ‘I know, it’s terrifying!'”

Thankfully, Dad is up for the challenge. “He’s fantastic. He’s great at diaper changing and at the football hold, which she loves,” says Hewitt.

“It’s really 50-50. I feel very lucky that way! I do the stuff that I need to do as a mom and he does the dad part.”

Aside from his amazing fatherhood skills, Hallisay, 35, was a powerhouse in the delivery room.

“The labor was crazy. It was fantastic, but I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that that was happening,” Hewitt says. “[Brian] was the best during labor. He was a rock, never flinched. He got in there and was like, ‘I see the baby!’ I was looking at him like, ‘You should be a doula.’ I was really proud of him.”

The pair wed just a few days before Autumn was born with a simple, no-frills celebration. “It was just the two of us,” Hewitt reveals. “We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant afterwards, that was our reception. We loved it. It’s been fun to celebrate both.”

The couple rounded out the low-key affair with a visit to Bed Bath & Beyond, where they purchased a few items for their kitchen. “We’ve been through a lot already in our marriage. I’m really glad that it happened that way,” says Hewitt, who adds they are not planning a honeymoon.

And Hewitt is a working mom already. The star has designed a collection called L by Jennifer Love Hewitt, inspired by her own desire to find “cute” pregnancy clothes.

“This was something I could do [during my pregnancy] that was super creative and sending good yummy vibes to my belly. It was so beautiful to be able to put my energy [in] to making [moms-to-be] feel comfortable and special. It was really fun.”

When it comes to her post-pregnancy figure, Hewitt is taking it slow. For now, her “number one priority” is nursing — and not counting calories. “The most important thing is [Autumn] getting food,” the actress explains.

But it has taken Hewitt some time to approach shedding the pregnancy pounds at her own pace.

“Having been somebody who has had to think about what my body looked like for 25 years, it was hard when it didn’t come off. I didn’t look like some of the girls in the magazines that I’ve worked with … who [the weight] does fall off for,” she says. “I was like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ I had to have a conversation with myself.”

Ultimately, it was the realization that she had just given birth to a daughter that shifted the new mom’s views. “I had to look at her and think, ‘Would I want her to feel this way when she’s my age?’ I was like, ‘Get it together — your head’s in the wrong place.'”

She continues, “It took nine months to get it this way, it might take nine months to get it back. If I have an hour to go to the gym or an hour to lie down and take a nap with her in my arms, I’m going to lie down and take a nap.”

Now, regaining her svelte shape has become a team effort. Hewitt is easing back into workouts with swimming and Zumba classes with baby girl by her side.

“I hold her, we do squats, we dance, she listens to the music and she loves it. Or I put her in her little chair and she watches and thinks it’s really funny,” she shares. “[Working out is] really jarring to your body. I don’t know how people go back and do CrossFit a week later. It’s just not me. I’m slowly getting back into it. I’m not that worried.”

That leaves plenty of time for bonding with her daughter. Hewitt confirms the couple didn’t find out the sex ahead of time, but she had an inkling the baby would be a girl.

“I just had a feeling,” Hewitt explains. “My mom passed away not too long before we found out that I was pregnant. So the whole time I felt like it was a gift from her, that she’d send me our relationship in a way.”

And Autumn James — whose moniker comes from Hewitt’s wish to have a “feminine first name and a masculine middle name” — is taking after her own mom already.

“She’s a hybrid [of us],” says Hewitt. “She looks like Brian from the nose up, and when she smiles, she looks like me! It’s so cute.”

— Aili Nahas and Anya Leon

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Showing 23 comments

Erin Courtney on

I love her!

Ali on

I love her but what did she do to her hair? She looks wonderful after having a baby, her body looks amazing…..but that hair color with her skin tone is just not working!

Mommytoane on

I love her, but I don’t love the hair. It really makes her look very washed out.

Sara on

Love this interview. She reads as such a down-to-earth new mama. And I must say, her baby’s name is one of my favorites in quite some time. It’s distinguished-sounding while still beautiful.

And why can’t some people comment without having to take the cheap, obvious shot and knock someone’s hair color, for goodness’ sake? You all are not the fashion counsel to new celebrity mothers. And like none of you have ever had bad hair coloring? I know I have!


Anonymous on

I wonder what made her change her mind about getting married before the birth (in one of the articles linked here, she said that she wanted to lose the weight and “be cute again” before getting married)?

Anonymous on

Her hair is terrible in this photo!

Pam on

Her hair looks horrible like that. It doesn’t even look like her. Bring back the brunette.

susan on

Good for her. I’ve not always been a fan of her weepy style of acting, but she sounds so grounded in this interview.

Bella on

Refreshing! I hope she doesnt push herself. No woman should! I was fortunate the weight fell off after the first baby and it took longer on the second but it happened. It’s all good!

Dawn S on

She’s seems like such a lovely person! Love her baby girls name!

Good for enjoying this time with her sweet love and not stressing herself out to lose what nature needs–healthy baby is the most important thing and she looks beautiful!

PG on

She is wonderful, in every aspect of her Hollywood life we get exposed to 🙂

Kate on

Always thought she was beautiful at every size.

cp on

She’s much better looking as a brunette! The blonde makes her look average

angela on

she looks great except for the hair.

tj on

she probably shouldn’t ACTUALLY nap with the baby in her arms..

Elly on

I find it amusing that here she is discussing her new positive views on her appearance now that she’s a mother to a little girl, and how she would rather spend time with her daughter than obsess about her weight, and people on here are only fixated on her hair color.

Cali on

Love her! She will always be one of my favorite actresses. I sincerely wish they’d bring back Ghost Whisperer! I can’t let that go! haha.

I don’t care if Jennifer is a size 2 or a size 20 – she’s still beautiful inside and out. But, I’m going to admit that I think her stylist picked a terrible dress for the event. It’s just not “her”.

Sara on

Wow girlfriend, what did you do to your hair? Blonde is absolutely NOT your color.

Melissa on

Nice story of how Jennifer loves motherhood!

Summer on

Yet ANOTHER article about women and their bodies mere months after having a baby. Growing a baby, giving birth, and caring for and nursing the baby is a huge undertaking for the human body. It’s so sad that the media focuses on something so asinine – losing a few pounds – over something so amazing as a new life. Disgusting. That said, she looks beautiful as always (despite the hair color) and is the same sweet, down-to-earth woman.

Congrats to her and her family!

lola on

What did she do to her hair?!! Does she not own a mirror? Such a bad color : (

Debbie on

The blond hair has to go! Ugly!

Cari on

She looks great but her hair ugh
Go back to brown
Blonde does not work for her