She’s a singer, songwriter, actress, poet, painter, philanthropist and now a mom. Jewel, 37, and rodeo cowboy hubby Ty Murray welcomed son Kase in July, and in one of her first interviews as a new mom, the Foolish Games singer opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her “sweet boy.”
The Grammy Award-nominated singer also talks about Here’s Hope, her new song to help fight child hunger in partnership with ConAgra Foods and the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign. She also opens up about the “mind-altering” transformation of motherhood, the benefits of breastfeeding, her birth story and plans for baby No. 2.
CBS: Tell us about partnering with ConAgra Foods for the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign to raise awareness about child hunger issues in America.
J: “I just want to do my part to raise awareness about an issue I really know a lot about first-hand. When I was a kid, I was raised poor when we lived in the city. When I lived on the ranch it was a lot easier because we had a garden and no matter how poor you were, you could still eat. But when we moved into the city, it got a lot more difficult. And there were a lot of times that my hot meal was coming from school. I can remember going over to a friend’s house and opening the fridge and there was nothing but a Kraft single in there. We would wait until the next day at school to eat.
One in five kids in America are hungry. That’s 16 million kids and then their parents exponentially doubles that number. So it’s important to let people know that it’s going on in our own backyard. It’s not just in other countries. Child hunger really is happening here.
It’s kids that you go to school with, it’s our neighbors. It really is that common. And I’ll bet if you ask your kids when they go over to a friend’s house, I’m going to guarantee that at least one of their friends won’t have much in their fridge.”
CBS: Coming from your background, has foster parenting ever entered your mind?
J: “I grew up with a lot of friends in the foster care system and, boy, it’s a tough road. I’ve never really thought about it, honestly…I guess because I’ve always had a dim view on it. I certainly never knew I’d be in such a great position.
My brother fosters, believe it or not. He’s had about 4 or 5 foster kids. It really amazes me because he has four of his own kids and he loves it. Just having had my first one, it might be something I’d consider in the future. But I don’t have the hang of it yet – I want to get my feet under me.”
CBS: How is baby Kase doing?
J: “He’s good! He’s so, so sweet. I really hit the baby lotto, I really did! He’s 7 1/2-months, so he’s learning about sitting and he’s talking a lot. He says mama a lot. He loves being outside. We’re outside, I think, almost all the time. He’s really great – we got really lucky. He’s such a sweet boy.”
CBS: He sounds really adaptable. Do you take him everywhere?
J: ” I don’t go anywhere, I’m odd [laughs]! I’ve only traveled about three times since he’s been born. And I’ll leave him at home with dad because I don’t want to upset his schedule if I leave for 1 or 2 nights, max. He has bottles with breastmilk that I’ve saved up. I really don’t want him to get off his schedule. I’m the typical over-protective first-time mom. I’m sure I’ll relax when he gets a little older.”
CBS: Are you still breastfeeding him? If so, how’s that going?
J: “I am. It’s going good. The first bit is hard learning how to do it. But once you and the baby get the hang of it, it’s great. For me it’s easier than keeping up with bottles and formula. For me it’s for the nutrition and the fact that breast cancer decreases almost 70% for one year of breastfeeding! And it can go up to almost 90% for two years of breastfeeding. That’s amazing! That’s one of the biggest things you can do to prevent breast cancer. There’s a stat I had not heard before!
And also with childhood obesity on the rise, the statistics for breastfed children, it’s dramatically and drastically lower. So those are two great reasons to do it, on top of the fact that, for me, it feels convenient.
I’d like to do it for at least a year. I know the World Health Organization recommends two, but I don’t know if I’ve got two in me [laughs].”
CBS: How has motherhood been so far?
J: “I love it! I really love it! We worked hard to get pregnant and we really feel blessed to do it. It really does feel like a privilege. We both marvel every day and it seems like we’ve been given a gift that will take the rest of our lives to unwrap because every day something new and exciting unfolds.”
CBS: Has motherhood been a huge adjustment for you?
J: “Yes, it’s mind-altering! You live your life – and especially as an older mom – you’ve established yourself, your ego, and everything according to who you’ve been before this. And then everything changes: your goals, your priorities, even what you have to juggle. It’s an amazing transformation. I just continue to have more and more respect for moms and for women in general.”
CBS: Has that been the biggest surprise for you, in terms of becoming a mother?
J: “No, I knew to expect it, but the process is a whole other thing. I guess the thing that surprised me the most is that I haven’t missed traveling. I’ve traveled every day of my life since I was, at least, 18-years-old for music. I was never in one spot for more than two weeks. Even as a successful musician I was never home for more than two weeks.
And I’ve only traveled three times in almost eight months. And I didn’t really travel from 6-months and onward during my pregnancy. So basically I’ve been home for a year and left four times. And I’m really happy! It’s so great to be at home and just watch him all day.”
CBS: How was your birth? Was it what you were hoping or expecting?
J: “I really tried my whole pregnancy to manage my expectations. You have a plan of what you hope, you educate yourself, and you try to do what you think is best. And then it’s not in your control. Your body has it’s own plan. And your baby has it’s own plan.
I had a lot of friends that said if they could go back, the one thing they would do differently is not try and be so rigid about their birth plan because they had such an emotional reaction and feel like they failed. And that was great advice for me.
It did not go according to plan! I was hoping to have a natural birth and I ended up having an emergency C-section just after a routine check-up at the doctor’s office. So I wasn’t in labor or anything, they just wanted him out. And it ended up being fine. We have a happy, healthy boy and that’s all that matters.”
CBS: Would you consider a VBAC if you have another child?
J: “I’m not sure if I would or not. I know it’s very safe, or they say it is. But I have a friend who almost died doing a VBAC. So again, it’s one of those things that when I get there, I’ll have to weigh everything out.”
CBS: So it’s a ‘maybe’ to baby No. 2?
J: “We don’t know. I’m 37 and I feel like I’d be 39 if I got pregnant easily, and I didn’t get pregnant easily. I feel like I’m a little ‘long in the tooth’ as they say in the country [laughs]. And I don’t know if I’m going to push it yet or not. We’re going to have to wait and see.”
CBS: We saw these photos of you at 3 months postpartum. How did you lose the baby weight so fast?
J: “That one might’ve been smoke and mirrors [laughs]! Spanx and smoke and mirrors! I gained about 40 pounds, and it’s been coming off slowly. I’ve been working out as I can. It’s hard when you’re busy and you try to sneak it in. I’m eating good to keep up with my breastmilk, so I don’t necessarily diet. But it’s been coming off slowing. It’s almost 8 months now and I’m starting to get back to normal. I still have a bit to go.”
CBS: How has your husband Ty adjusted to fatherhood?
J: “He’s a great, great dad! He loves the process. He loves every step of the way. I think he was jealous that I got to feed the baby all the time, so he was right in there with the diapers and he loves spending time with him on the changing table. It’s to the point where if our baby sees the changing table, he smiles and giggles because it’s play time. He got up with me every single night during our night feedings. He’s just been a really good, natural dad.”
CBS: What are some of your favorite summer memories as a child?
J: “They’re all outdoors. I grew up in Alaska and the outdoors are so beautiful. I don’t think I spent any time inside except to sleep. My memories were horse riding and getting outside.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
J: “I have a children’s record out right now called the Merry Goes Round. I wrote it for my son to teach him about music and different types of music. And there’s little stories and lessons in there. It’s really for parents to say all the things you want to say to your kid, but you might not quite find the words. So it was really fun for me to put that out.
And I’ll have a children’s book coming out this fall.”
CBS: Does Kase like music?
J: “Yes, I’m playing the guitar for him a lot and he’ll plunk at the strings with me.”