About seven months after welcoming her first baby, Lea Michele is sharing all the details of her "very scary" pregnancy.
Lea has stayed mainly out of the public eye ever since her baby boy, Ever, was born in August, though she has posted some discreet pictures of her little one.
Now, Lea is revealing what her motherhood experience was really like, saying, "I had a very, very intense, very scary pregnancy."
She continued, "I've never shared my experience with anyone, which I think is something that—now that I am a mom—I see myself doing in a lot of ways, not sharing for fear of not sounding perfect or just being afraid… I withheld a lot of my experience."
Lea's journey to parenthood was complicated by her polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis, which nearly led her to give up on trying for a baby.
"I really felt like maybe this isn't meant to be for me right now," the 34 year old recalled, saying it was "always my biggest fear in my entire life that I wouldn't be able to become a mom. It's what I've wanted more than anything. And, emotionally, it just started to build and build."
All the while, she continued to work in front of a camera, and appeared most recently in the TV series The Mayor and the TV movie Same Time, Next Christmas.
Lea said nobody at work knew what she was going through, such as taking hormones and recovering from surgeries. She recalled appearing bloated while wearing a swimsuit on one set. "For multiple reasons, it really started to affect me mentally," she added.
After all the difficulties with conception, she and her husband, Zandy Reich, decided to take a pause from trying. Only then did Lea "unexpectedly" find out she was pregnant in December 2019 and had the "most blissful 72 hours of my life."
At the time, she was in New York City and had to go on stage to perform. However, right before going on stage, she started heavily bleeding, which lasted throughout her first term.
One night, the bleeding got so bad she was rushed to the hospital. She said she was put on an "extreme" amount of medication and bedrest for her first trimester.
As the "Love Is Alive" singer put it, "It was just horrible. It was absolutely, absolutely horrible."
"I finally announced I was pregnant, and I still was uncertain if the pregnancy was going to last," she said through tears. "Oh my god, I'm going to cry. I just woke up and I was like, 'I just want to be a mom right now. I want this time.' And it was horrible. It was the lowest I've been in my entire life."
She woke up Zandy in the middle of the night to ask him to hold her, recounting, "We were all really, really afraid."
They eventually were given the news that the baby was healthy, "but that happened very late in the process of my pregnancy," she said. That meant she finally got to enjoy her pregnancy about two months before she gave birth.
As for the birthing experience, Lea said she really wanted to have a vaginal birth. "I felt so weak and helpless during my pregnancy and scared and just a version of myself," she explained. "I felt that if I could have the experience of having a vaginal birth that I could show my strength… I felt that it had to end with that, for whatever reason."
However, it became clear her baby wasn't going to flip and she knew that a C-section was in her future. She felt was unfair because, in her mind, it wasn't going to be as special as a vaginal birth. She told medical staffers she wanted to hold the baby right away after her C-section.
In retrospect, Lea regrets not telling more people about her struggles and leaning on more people for support, and instead felt isolated.
"That's the thing with social media… I've always been someone who is afraid of showing any flaws and it's something that, I don't think that that's a positive attribute," Lea said. "The problem with social media is people go, 'Oh, you're announcing your pregnancy and it's beautiful and you're wearing a beautiful dress and everything looks great.'"
Yet, that wasn't the reality the actress was experiencing, as she explained, "But that was one of the hardest days of my life, because I was just like, 'Oh, I'm going to let everyone know I'm pregnant, but this probably isn't going to work out.'" She added, "There's that sense of vulnerability to me that's been really challenging."
One of the greatest parts, of course, is having Ever in her arms. "My little baby is such a fighter," she gushed. "I remember the minute I held him, the first thing I said to him I was like, 'You did so good.'"
Watch the full video above.