There’s no doubt about it — Melissa Joan Hart is absolutely bewitched by her two sons! The former Sabrina, the Teenage Witch star and her Course of Nature husband Mark Wilkerson welcomed their second child, Braydon "Brady" Hart, on March 12, and life can’t get any better. "I’m so in love," she tells OK!. "I have these three amazing boys in my life — so handsome and fun!" Even more amazing — dropping nearly half of her pregnancy weight in just three weeks. While it took Melissa, who turns 32 on April 18, 10 months to lose the 55 lbs. she put on while pregnant with first son Mason, now 2, she’s already lost 15 of the 35 lbs. she put on with Brady. The actress opens up to OK! about shedding those pounds, her hypno-birth and why sitcoms are the ideal shows for working moms.
You just gave birth a month ago. How are you feeling?
My recovery was so much better this time around. I did the birth drug-free and I’m not sure if it is because I did it drug-free or because he was my second baby, but I am up and about much easier this time. Last time I was unable to get out of bed for about eight weeks! Both pregnancies were traumatizing. I’ve just realized there is no way to bring a baby into the world and have it not be a traumatic experience. After both all I could say was “intense.” That is really the only word that sums it up! It’s just a difficult thing to do.
What were the differences in your pregnancies?
There were big differences. I think the only thing the two pregnancies had in common is they took us completely by surprise. First time around, I was so scared by everything and was so inconvenienced. I didn’t really know how to picture a baby inside me. I only saw the outward things. I was fat, I couldn’t move the way I wanted to, I had heartburn, my feet hurt, it was very awkward. I was so scared and so I just laid in bed and ate a lot. The second time, I was chasing a 2-year-old all over the place, lifting 30 lb. Mason and carrying him around and I was working and trying to hide it from the industry for the first trimester. Sucking it in and trying to eat really healthy so I didn’t gain too much in the first 20 weeks really made a difference this whole pregnancy.
What was the difference in the weight gain?
I gained 20 less pounds — the first pregnancy I gained 55 pounds and the second pregnancy only 35 — and I knew what to expect a little bit more. We had all the gear already. We didn’t have to do any of that legwork the second time around. I also worked out all the way through this pregnancy. The first one, the only exercise I got was walking down to get myself a bagel around the corner! This time I did Pilates until the last two weeks of my pregnancy.
Were you nervous to gain weight?
I was extremely nervous about the weight because I was due in the middle of pilot season and here I am trying to get a new show on the air. I was also doing this movie (Holiday in Handcuffs, ABC Family’s highest-rated original telecast ever) and truthfully, I have heard of people being fired from projects before for getting pregnant and I was really worried. Now, I’m back in action — I’m ready to work. I can put on the Spanx. I’ve got 20 more pounds to lose but I’m working hard towards that and I’m not worried.
How long did it take you to lose the weight last time?
About 10 months. It took me awhile since I got off to such a rough start. I kicked it off with a two-week fast. And then having a young kid, you only get to sit down and eat for so long so my portions just got smaller by default. You really have to eat quick!
What is your workout plan this time?
I’m creating a workout plan with my trainer, Mark Harari, at Pulse Fitness Studio. We’re trying to balance how much I hate cardio with the things I enjoy a bit more! I really want to focus on muscle tone. Last time I lost so much weight chasing after Mason but I didn’t have any sort of definition. It is all really a matter of being careful with breastfeeding as well — I need to make sure I’m eating enough and not working out too much so I can still be healthy enough to breastfeed.
Why did you decide to do the Fresh Mommy diet?
I was really interested in the program because all of the meals are balanced to give mommies what they need while they are breastfeeding. I think a lot of post-pregnancy diet plans are really focused on losing the weight but this keeps my first priority straight — being able to stay healthy enough to breastfeed my baby. I have been eating a lot of cupcakes and things though so I am a little nervous to make this switch to salads and healthy things! (laughs). The delivery comes once a day — three meals, three snacks and a small dessert — so everything is set for the day. So far it has been really tasty and I’ve had several friends just rave about it.
How did you decide on doing a drug-free birth?
My friend Kellie Martin is the one who introduced me to the whole hypno-birthing idea. It is a special way of getting through a pregnancy without an epidural or inducing. She hiked every day of her pregnancy so we hiked Fryman Canyon together during my pregnancy. My friends were big inspirations to me. I just kept thinking, "If she could do it, I can do it!" I’m very proud that I was able to get through it but it was extremely difficult. I’m not sure I’d want to do it again!
Let’s talk about your family.
I’m so in love — I had no idea I could love more and with Brady, I am able to love even more. I have these three amazing boys in my life — so handsome and fun!
What is Mark like?
I have this wonderful, handsome husband who is a really amazing father. My husband is a man’s man. I’ve never seen straight men have a man crush the way they do on my husband. They will constantly say, “Will you have your husband call me?” He is up every morning at six with Mason, makes breakfast, makes me breakfast for whenever I get up — the dogs are fed, the pots are clean. He really takes care of things. I never expected to have this much help.
So he’s a really hands-on father?
He wouldn’t read any of the daddy books or anything. I’m the oldest of seven, he’s the youngest of three. And somehow, he picked it all up just like that. He’s just so innate. Go figure!
How are Mason and Brady getting along?
I just cried when Mason walked into the delivery room. The moment Brady was born I was just dying for them to meet each other. It was so great to say, “This is your brother!” It was so wonderful for Brady to finally be here and for Mason to finally understand all the things we had been talking to him about. Now he’s a big brother and he gets it.
How did you decide on the names?
With Mason, we were really decided. We were down to Mason and Desi and then my good friend Jaime Pressly named her child Dezi and we decided not to use it even though she said it was okay. So Mason it was. With Brady, we had about six different names and then we’d throw another one into the rotation every couple of weeks. It was finally a combination of Braedin, a name I loved and Braylin, a football player Mark loved. So Braydon it is but we call him Brady.
Do you want more kids?
I want to give these two some attention and some time. I would love more kids though — I’d love two little sisters for these guys. I want to wait until my late thirties though. Mark would probably like to stop at these two or maybe three but I came from a big family so I would love four. I’m not sure I want two more births though so we may have to adopt at one point! I need some more time to forget this experience though. I think you just go, "Okay, this is going to be rough for about 24 more hours and then I’ll be okay!"
Mason is almost as old as you were when you started your career in entertainment. What if he wants to follow in your footsteps?
I’d say that’s fine, but I always want to stress education with them. He would need to finish high school and at least attempt college. I wouldn’t want to be a hypocrite (Melissa dropped out of NYU before finishing her degree) but I would want them to at least give their education a shot.
What’s the next step for you career-wise?
My goal is to have another show. I’d love to have a sitcom. That is the best schedule in the business for a mom. I think I’m a little spoiled after producing my own show. After having a say in who gets cast, what the music is, what I wear, it would be hard not to have any input. But if the right project came along, I would go with it. I just want to do something really funny because there is nothing really funny on TV right now. Mark and I are still watching reruns of Seinfeld and Friends because we can’t find anything funny anymore. I love The New Adventures of Old Christine but it looks like that might be gone soon. You’re not looking forward to anything right now. There needs to be a renaissance on television and I’d love to be a part of it. What I’ve really discovered about my career is that I have the greatest fans — people are constantly writing to ask when I’m going to do something again.
For more on Melissa, check out her gallery and pick up the latest issue of OK!, on newsstands now!