Ellen Pompeo: I Want Stella To Have More Self-Confidence Than I Did

New mom Ellen Pompeo is all smiles on the April cover of Self magazine. The 40-year-old Grey’s Anatomy star and her husband Chris Ivery are new parents to 6-month-old daughter Stella Luna. The busy mom dished on pregnancy, motherhood and Stella’s funky taste in music.

On getting pregnant: “I got pregnant, and I was like, ‘Oh, God, it worked! Oh, no!’ Chris and I were super happy, then I got terrified! Will I know how to do everything right? Of course, nobody does everything right, but as long as your baby is the priority, that’s the best you can do. My mother passed away when I was 4, and not having a mother makes me appreciate being one so much more.”

On going up one pant size during pregnancy: “I went up a pants size during my pregnancy. I was in size 25 jeans and went to 26. I gained 26 pounds. Now, after the baby, I weigh 10 pounds more than I ever have. I love it, because everyone always told me I was too skinny before, and I thought, Oh, God, what if there are 14-year-olds who think I’m not eating, and then they don’t eat? Do I have a responsibility? But really, I don’t care if people think I’m too skinny. This is my body. If they don’t like it, screw it. [My weight] doesn’t matter to me. I have a healthy baby.”

On not taking a maternity leave: “A lot of people couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t take my maternity leave. [She took four weeks off.] I make a good living, but I won’t always make this kind of money. I felt I needed to work while I had this opportunity. The writers and producers were really gracious and wrote my scenes so I could preshoot them. I didn’t have to miss any episodes.”

On Stella’s love of music: “I love to dance with Stella. She’s a big Jay-Z fan. She loves Beyonce, too. I sing ‘Single Ladies’ to her: ‘Put your hands up!’ Even though it’s probably an involuntary movement on her part, I think she’s really doing it.”

On her hopes for Stella: “I hope Stella has more self-confidence than I did as a child. Because when you believe in yourself and have a strong sense of self-worth, you don’t look for validation from others.”

On being honest: “I’m not afraid to admit when I’m wrong. I think my honesty isn’t that popular in Hollywood, but I don’t believe in putting on airs. I call it like I see it. I am who I am, a Southie. I guess you can call me real. I hope that’s what Stella is, too.”

On eating healthy: “Take a few hours and prepare lunch for the week. On Sundays, I premake everything for salads. I boil a dozen eggs and parboil beets. I chop lettuce, cilantro, scallions and parsley and put it all in Ziploc bags. During the week, I just grab handfuls, add dressing, dump in a can of beans, some goat cheese, and I’m ready to go.”

On making the time for relationships: “It’s easy to get lost in the baby. But you have to make the time for your relationships. You have to make sure you give your husband attention. And I still see my friends all the time, too. It’s important to have a well-rounded life. You learn things from your friends, and they bring you joy, and you bring back all that happiness to your baby.”

On not over-working: “People ask, ‘Why don’t you do movies?’ and I’m like, ‘Really? I just acted my ass off for 10 months. You want me to take my eight weeks off and act?’ Where is my life? How am I supposed to act if I have no life experience to draw from? One reason I wanted a child is to have my life be about something other than work!”

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