If you were a child in the ’80s like me, you probably looked up to Alyssa Milano (or should I say Samantha Micelli?), and have kept up with her career over the years.
Alyssa’s one of those celebrities who seems to be always doing something interesting. She was cute in Who’s the Boss?, funny in Charmed and My Name Is Earl (an underrated show, in my opinion), drama-starting in Melrose Place and Mistresses, oh and she’s hosting Project Runway All Stars now too.
But the reasons to admire Alyssa — especially now that we’re both moms — have just a little bit to do with her acting and hosting career, and more to do with what she’s doing offscreen.
Here’s why we’re counting her as one of The Stir’s Moms Who Inspire — women who happen to be mothers that we’re honoring this month for their achievements.
She’s an unofficial breastfeeding advocate.
It all started with Alyssa sharing photos on social media of breastfeeding her son Milo (who’s now 4) and then her daughter Elizabella (who’s now 18 months).
The actress received a lot of praise — and also some backlash — for posting these pics, but instead of apologizing or toning down her breastfeeding posts, she used it as a platform to stand up for breastfeeding moms everywhere.
She even shut down Wendy Williams on her own show about the host’s aversion to public breastfeeding.
“I don’t need to see that,” said Wendy. “Because I just don’t want to.”
“Why is it okay to show that picture of Miley Cyrus with two suspenders over her breasts?” Alyssa asked Wendy. “So for you, maybe you’ve sexualized breasts? … Biologically, they’re not made for sexual things. That’s what we’ve done to them … But you have to realize that, all over the world, you’re the not norm. You’re lucky the baby’s not here; I’d whip them out right here and feed him on your show!”
I breastfed. I remember that feeling of nervousness about going anywhere — would the baby get hungry? Would I have to feed him around other people? Would people give me weird looks or, worse, nasty comments? Should I just stay home all the time?
Mothers have the right to feed their babies wherever they want, however they want, but that doesn’t keep some breastfeeding mothers from feeling nervous about it. Alyssa’s openness about the reality of breastfeeding shows others how natural (and not-at-all gross) it really is. She’s a great role model for other moms to not be afraid and to speak up for themselves and their babies.
She works with UNICEF to help children around the world.
Alyssa’s been working with the organization since 2003 to improve the lives of kids worldwide. And she isn’t just a commercial spokesperson. She’s traveled to places like Angola and India to do HIV/AIDS activism, and to war-torn Kosovo to meet the children affected by poverty, illness, and war in person and to work for them.
She’s actively helped fund-raise for UNICEF — at one point raising over $300,000 for the Haiti Relief Fun through a Twitter challenge. Because of all this and more, she received the UNICEF Spirit of Compassion Award for 2016.
In her acceptance speech, she said, “I wanted to help children long before before I had my own, and UNICEF gave me truly one of the greatest gifts in my life — the opportunity to make a difference.
No parent should ever go through the pain and suffering of losing their child to preventable causes, and I hope that my dedication to UNICEF one day inspires my own children to take action and live a life that focuses on giving. Helping others and doing good for the world should be as much part of our lives as breathing.”
She’s got a healthy attitude toward her post-baby body.
Did Alyssa drop the baby weight 12 weeks after having each baby? No! She took it slowly (unlike a lot of other celebrities) and she’s open and honest about it.
“I always take my time to lose the baby weight because there are so many more important things to be going through,” she told Wendy Williams. Yep, so true.
More from The Stir: Alyssa Milano Says She’ll Keep Breastfeeding ‘Until My Daughter’s 6!’ (PHOTO)
And of course, she’s a celeb mom, so she’s obviously going to get back in shape eventually. But she’s not doing some radical cleanse or juice diet.
“It’s really endurance training rather than dieting,” she told People. “I’m just trying to get to a point where my body feels good again. If weight comes off, that’s great — I still have less than 15 lbs. left to lose, and I’m not rushing myself to lose it, although I do miss my clothes! I just try to be kind to myself.”
It’s really refreshing to know of a celebrity who takes good care of herself and who’s respectful and giving to others.
Part of her reason for keeping the weight on has to do with breastfeeding, she says, which, again, she reminds us is beautiful. “It is just an amazing process that my body is giving [my baby] nourishment,” she told ET. “Women — we are the most perfect machine ever made.”
You said it, sister.