Mena Suvari on Why Her Pregnancy at 41 Feels So 'Surreal' (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Mena Suvari always wanted to be a mother. And now she's just months away from meeting her baby boy.
In an interview with ET's Deidre Behar while promoting her new movie, Don't Tell a Soul, the 41-year-old actress opened up about the challenges she's been through on her journey to motherhood -- and the surprising way she discovered she was pregnant.
"I went away in August to work on a film and I thought I'd be jet lagged for a while. But I wasn't jet lagged," Suvari said with a laugh. "I was driving to work every day, but I'd be like, crying on the way to work. I'd be like, bawling on the freeway."
The actress thought she was "just an emotional person," but it turns out she was expecting her first child with husband Michael Hope. The pair announced in October that they're expecting a baby boy.
That road to parenthood hasn't always been easy. Suvari recalled the pressure and self-doubt she experienced when trying to get pregnant, and the doctors who told her she wouldn't be able to conceive because of her age -- even though she didn't "feel 40."
"One of the biggest gifts that [my doctor] gave me when I came back from filming in August was he said, 'I am so happy that you trusted in your body that you listened to your body,'" she shared. "And that just meant the world to me, because I spent so much time doubting it and having emotional breakdowns over it, thinking, 'It's all over.' And it wasn't."
Suvari is due at the end of March, and while she's swollen, tired and looking forward to her next nap, it all still feels so "surreal," she said. "I feel really lucky, and it's just wild," the American Pie alum shared.
"It truly feels like the most important thing that I will ever do in my life. Like, nothing else matters. Everything just changes in your life," she continued. "He'll come first."
The actress occasionally still deals with anxiety attacks, which she explained are due to "that first time mom craziness." She's set up the nursery and read books, but sometimes still feels like she doesn't know what she's doing, or gets nervous about making sure she'll be a good mom.
"But I feel really lucky that I have a great group of women," she noted. "I have an amazing midwife, a doula and I already have postpartum doulas that I'm talking to."
Suvari, who is hoping to deliver her son at home, already has a little practice at being a parent on screen. She plays a mother of two boys in the thriller Don't Tell a Soul.
"It’s definitely one of those stories that you think it’s one thing and then it turns into another," she teased of the movie, which also stars Jack Dylan Grazer, Fionn Whitehead and Rainn Wilson. "It’s constantly surprising you and challenging you in some new way."
Suvari undergoes quite the transformation for the movie, and she credits it to the production team around her, who "served it up completely" and allowed her to get into character.
"It’s a combination of all of it -- when you’re able to be placed in that world when you have the hair and make up and all of it comes together," she said.
The actress also gushed over her fellow actors in the film -- particularly Grazer, who "would give me huge in the morning and call me Mom," she remembered.
"I've always wanted a son, so... I was thinking, 'This is like, the kind of son I've always wanted,'" Suvari said.
"I just want to help raise a loving, aware, sensitive, conscious human being," she expressed. "I mean, really that's the basis of all of it. I just want to give him the opportunity to experience all the magic in the world and practice his empathy and consideration of others."
Don’t Tell a Soul is in select theaters, On Demand and Digital now.