It's been an emotional year for Eva Mendes to say the least.
The 42-year-old actress welcomed her second daughter with Ryan Gosling in May, Amada Lee Gosling, and also mourned the death of her older brother, Carlos Mendez, just a month earlier. Mendez died in April after battling throat cancer, and was just 53 years old. The notoriously private mother of two opens up for the first time about the two significant life events in an interview with Latina.
"Losing my brother brought our family closer, and we were already close to begin with," Mendes tells the magazine. "So, to just see everybody be there for one another and show up, I feel so lucky to have them. And then they were there for me when Amada was born. We had a funeral service for him and that same week I had the baby. So it was really, really intense and obviously beyond heartbreaking, but also kind of beautiful."
WATCH: Eva Mendes and Family Remember 'Amazing' Brother Juan Carlos After He Dies of Throat Cancer at 53
"And being totally honest, I don't feel like I've really processed that yet," she adds.
The Place Beyond the Pines actress talks about baby Amada for the first time, explaining why she and longtime love Ryan Gosling decided to re-use the unique name. The couple named their first child Esmeralda Amada, and Mendes' grandmother is also named Amada.
"We had a few names picked out for our new baby, and when she was born, we didn’t feel like those names were her," she explains. "We came up with a few more, even that morning, and tried them out. We were like, 'What about Viviana?' But we just kept going back to Amada. In true Latin fashion, we reuse names all the time."
"I actually told Ryan, 'This is common in Latin culture, so it wouldn't be crazy,'" she continues. "So we went with Amada because it was something we kept going back to. And it was an emotional time with the passing of my brother. We thought how beautiful to go with what made us emotional and with what felt like her. When we looked at her, we thought, 'Aww, Amadita.'"
Although Mendes calls having two girls "a lot," she is clearly loving her role as mom.
The Miami-born actress says she's definitely wants 1-year-old Esmeralda and 3-month-old Amada to grow up with a sense of Cuban culture.
"We're constantly playing Cuban music. I speak to them in Spanish, and my mom speaks to Esmeralda in Spanish," she says about passing down her heritage to her two kids. "Well, now she speaks to both of them in Spanish. Any time I have an opportunity to introduce her or them -- I have to say 'them' now, though my newborn just sleeps all the time -- to my culture, whether it’s through music, or through food, I do. That is a main priority, for sure."
WATCH: EXCLUSIVE PICS -- Ryan Gosling Celebrates Eva Mendes' 42nd Bday With Luxury Getaway, Saves a Dog in the Process
In May, 35-year-old Gosling calling living with Mendes and his two daughters "heaven."
"It's like walking through a field of flowers every day. I live with angels," he said during his appearance on Good Morning America.