Emily Deschanel on Being a Mom

The Bones star dishes on attachment parenting, vegan diets and cloth diapers

Photograph by WireImage

As forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan on the hit show Bones (now entering its eighth season), life imitates art for Emily Deschanel. The 35-year-old actress is not only a new mom on the show (her character had a daughter with FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, played by David Boreanaz) , but she and real-life husband David Hornsby welcomed son Henry on September 21, 2011. We recently sat down with the actress and got the scoop on what she thinks about being a working mom, what she would tell Dr. Brennan if she could and her (and her son's) vegan diet.

You were pregnant while filming Season 7 of Bones, and now you're a new mom for Season 8. Do you bring your baby to set now that you're a working mom?

Yes, I do. I have a great nanny who is there with me all day, every day. [Henry] will come to set and hang out just off camera. I can't say he's been silent the whole time, but I have a wonderful situation where I get to see my baby throughout the day, and I can't imagine leaving him home at this point. But I know so many friends who have regular jobs and can't take their baby to work, so I feel incredibly, incredibly lucky.

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How has being a mom influenced you as an actor?

I think that I'm more sensitive to things. There was an episode last season where a boy was murdered and that just [destroyed] me. I’m in the scene meeting the parents and I'm supposed to be serious and professional, and here I am trying to hold back tears in order to give the performance that I want to give. I'm more sensitive to those things since I gave birth. When we were on a break for my maternity leave, I tried to watch the show [on television], but I couldn't look at the dead bodies!

Was your character's birth on the show anything like your own?

My character's labor was very different. I did hypno-birthing, which is a technique where you learn to basically relax. It's self-hypnosis, essentially. I didn't have any drugs, so my character and I were similar in that way, but Bones was much more desperate because it wasn’t her choice [to be unmedicated]. I was much more calm!

How does your parenting style differ from Brennan's?

I'm following attachment parenting principles as much as possible, while Brennan's a little more hands-off than you'd expect her to be. I could have envisioned before they wrote these episodes that Brennan would be more like me, having been a cultural anthropologist who knew all about the benefits of baby-carrying and baby-wearing and even sleeping in the same bed with her baby. But she's very [detached] in a lot of ways.

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What advice would you give Brennan if you could? And vice versa?

I would probably tell Brennan to trust her instincts, because that's something somebody told me, and [that advice] has been wonderful. I think Brennan has good instincts, but she'd probably override it with her intellect as many people with very high IQs do.

I think Brennan would probably say that I am overly-emotional. The minute my baby cries, I freak out. Why is he crying? What's going on? How can I fix it? She'd probably tell me to calm down not to be so sensitive, which is probably good advice. I feel like I've kind of been in the trenches a bit being a mother, and I have to come up for air here and there. I have moments where I have to pinch myself and remember, ‘I'm a mom.’ I'm so excited that Henry is in my life.

You are vegan and were throughout your pregnancy. Are you instilling those same eating habits with Henry?

I am very good with my nutrition and I made sure that I got everything I needed [when I was pregnant]. I read books that helped me and I worked with a nutritionist ... so I didn't have a problem. People are different, and my son will always have a choice, but I'll always feed him vegan food at home. I do believe in explaining to him why I'm vegan and why I'm mainly feeding him vegan food.

Were you ready for changing diapers? Do you use cloth or disposable?

I was a nanny years ago before I got my first acting job, so I had experience with kids and changing diapers, so I love that. I've used cloth diapers mostly, but I actually had an incident where I put on a disposable after Henry peed all over the place while I was shooting a scene, so that was awkward. I’m not against disposables ... I've just had to learn that it’s OK to use them here and there when I need them.

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to travel with your child, or stay closer to home?

I traveled with my son recently for a weekend to visit my grandma for her 95th birthday, and it was quite challenging. I started thinking, ‘Uh oh, do I have to travel with him?’ Then I think about my parents. ... I already had my passport when I was 5 months old, and we moved to Italy when I was his age, so I was quite used to traveling with my parents. I think I want something in between for Henry. I'm [in Los Angeles] for at least another year for the show, and most TV is here, so I do see us having a lot of our life here. I like having a stable home base and not picking up and leaving for too long.

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Do you see your husband (actor David Hornsby, who plays priest Matthew "Rickety Cricket" Mara on the FX comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) in a new light as a dad?

We haven't had as many conflicts, and we are pretty much in line about a lot of things, so I’m lucky I have a great husband who makes me aware of things that I could do better. When I'm stressed out—and having children can be very stressful at times—he has a wonderful way of calming me down. He just breaks everything up with humor. He's an incredible dad and I knew he would be from one of our first dates. He's so happy to wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning and take [Henry]. It's been wonderful to see that side of him and how happy Henry makes him.

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