Laura Benanti opened up about the joys and struggles of being a mom of two daughters — and the ups and downs she faced to expand her family.
“I think people feel like [when it comes to surrogacy], ‘Oh you’re outsourcing your baby. You don’t wanna wreck your figure because you’re an actress or you wanna be able to work.’ And I’m like, no, I had four miscarriages, and I couldn’t keep doing that anymore,” Benanti, 43, exclusively told Us Weekly while promoting her new movie No Hard Feelings. “People making themself feel better by making someone else feel bad is something I have a very hard time with.”
The five-time Tony nominee welcomed her second child, daughter Luisa, 11 months, with husband Patrick Brown via surrogate in July 2022. Benanti gave birth to the couple’s first daughter Ella, 6, in February 2017. Throughout her motherhood journey, the actress suffered a series of miscarriages and has been candid about her struggles.
“Miscarrying was extremely lonely. You are carrying this being, and not only are you physically carrying this being, but you have already in your mind pictured this human and now they are gone,” the former Gossip Girl actress explained to Us. “You are in the midst of losing them, and there’s nothing you can do. And there is a loneliness to that that is indescribable and maybe because it feels indescribable, we don’t talk about it. And everything, we don’t talk about everything that we keep in the dark, [it] fests and grows and it becomes a poison.”
As Benanti overcame the challenges of expanding her family, she faced another obstacle when it came to breastfeeding her girls. While trying to breastfeed Ella, she learned after visiting “seven lactation consultants” that her daughter was “allergic” to the protein in the milk.
“We’re made to feel like breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world and ‘breast is best’ and all the things. And then all of a sudden, you’re like, I can’t feed my baby,” she recalled. “Am I giving them poison? You’re telling me I’m giving them poison if I feed them like that is best.”
“I’m not in the habit of giving people advice, but we definitely swapped stories. Good and bad of, like, you know, today I had a hard time, or I miss my kid,” she told Us. “It’s solidarity in motherhood [that] I think is really important.”
In the R-rated comedy, Benanti plays the helicopter mom of Andrew Barth Feldman’s character who’s looking to help her son prepare for college by hiring a young woman (Lawrence) to fake date her son. While Benanti hasn’t gone to the extremes like her No Hard Feelings character, she can relate to being a helicopter parent in some moments.
“I’m really working on not being a helicopter mom. That is my tendency,” the Younger alum confessed. “ I’m not a ‘you got this figured out yourself’ [type of] mom. Yeah. I’m like a ‘you’re six years old and you need me to carry you up the stairs’. Part of me is, like, in two years she’s gonna be rolling her eyes at me — she already sort of is — but I do find the place where I’m mostly a helicopter mom is if I hear her and a friend get into a disagreement. I feel like I wanna get in there right away and help them figure it out. And I’m realizing like I have to give it more time right before I get in there.”
No Hard Feelings is now in theaters.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi