Exclusive: Hilary Swank says ‘I found my fullest purpose’ as a new mom to twins

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Hilary Swank is surrounded by an intimidating number of TODAY show producers, bookers and her own team in a 30 Rock dressing room, so her warm smile and new-mom glow are comforting to me. The two-time Academy Award winner has recently settled into her biggest and most fulfilling role yet — being a mom to 10-month-old twins Aya and Ohm.

“It’s double the love, double the joy, double the exhaustion,” Swank, 49, tells TODAY.com in an exclusive interview.

For Swank, multitasking appears to come as naturally as breathing. In our nearly-hour long conversation, Swank chats about her 10-month-old twins' sleep regression patterns while sliding a mic pack up her leg, then seamlessly transitions to promoting her new movie, "Ordinary Angels," and a new business partnership with the company HealthyBaby.

HealthyBaby's Shazi Visram with Hilary Swank holding her twins, Ohm and Aya. (Courtesy Chris Sojka for HealthyBaby)
HealthyBaby's Shazi Visram with Hilary Swank holding her twins, Ohm and Aya. (Courtesy Chris Sojka for HealthyBaby)

She has a glamorous, powerful presence for someone who has not always walked through life in a pair of Manolo Blahnik heels. Swank grew up humbly in Washington State and says she was taught the importance of hard work from an early age.

“(My parents) instilled a work ethic in me to go after things and work really hard to achieve what I want in life,” she says. More importantly, she says, her parents modeled treating everyone as equals.

Swank said that her parents “represented kindness,” which is something that she values in a deeper way now. “Not just because I’m a mom and I want to instill that in my own children, but just in the state of affairs in the world and how easy it is for people to be flippant about another person’s well-being and mental health,” Swank says.

After taking a three-year career hiatus to care for her father, who died in October 2021, Swank revealed that she was expecting twins, who, in a serendipitous turn of events, were due on his birthday.

Swank’s journey to motherhood didn’t come easily. “I needed to find the right person. I didn’t know if I was going to find the right person. Was I going to do it on my own?” She says this all in one breath, as if these are still questions that toss around in her brain like tumbleweeds. But she found a partner in Philip Schneider, whom she married in August 2018. “I found my fullest purpose in a way that I didn’t even realize was possible,” she says.

After waiting to experience motherhood for so long, it would be understandable if Swank had lofty expectations about life as a new mom. The reality, she says, is even better.

“I thought that it would be like this dream, but it’s dreamier than I ever imagined. It blows open my whole world in the most beautiful way,” Swank tells TODAY.com.

But then, she admits that she didn't really have expectations. “That's something that age has given me. I think when you have expectations you’re always let down. But in this case, I don’t think I would have been let down. I don’t think I would have ever expected how great it would be,” she says. After staying up nearly all night with her babies and waking up earlier than usual for this interview, she should be tired, cranky and have messy, tangled hair — like any new mom. A good hair and makeup team can fix the hair and dark circles, but there’s no way to fake the gratitude that Swank has for this chapter in her life.

“I look in their eyes and it’s like angels,” she gushes.

She says she tries to be present at every moment, and has found that the best lesson is letting her babies teach her what they need: “Sometimes our intuition can be muddled, but I think if you can just get really quiet and be present with your baby, a lot of information is imparted between the both of you.”

However, Swank did a lot of research ahead of the birth of her twins. She says that as she was researching diapers, she stumbled upon HealthyBaby, a company founded by Shazi Visram that focuses on healthy and non-toxic baby products.

As Swank tells me this, her passion is undeniable. “They’re in those diapers 1.8 million minutes. It’s the first thing that touches their body when they’re born, aside from their mother.” She says this loudly as a TODAY show crew member gently pulls her out of the dressing room to head to Studio 1A for her broadcast segment. A few minutes later, that same crew member comes back into the room and says Hilary is looking for me. I find her sitting on a couch alone in the studio, minutes before her interview.

“Where were we?”

Swank wants to keep talking about diapers. She says that she carefully studied every brand of diapers on the marketplace and was impressed by HealthyBaby's commitment to disclosing every ingredient used to make their diapers. She cared so much that it led her to become the brand’s first Chief Innovation Officer.

HealthyBaby founder Shazi Visram and Hilary Swank. (Courtesy Chris Sojka for HealthyBaby)
HealthyBaby founder Shazi Visram and Hilary Swank. (Courtesy Chris Sojka for HealthyBaby)

“It hits so close to home. I’ve been looking for products that are healthier for me. When you’re having a child, you need to make sure that you’re using products that are non-toxic,” says Swank.

“You have to break the mold, set a standard, and make things differently — and that’s what HealthyBaby does,” Visram told me. “That’s why it’s so great to have Hilary. She’s so innovative and has really big ideas about what we as a society need to improve our maternal health. Now that she’s stepping into this role of motherhood, it’s so fun to have a powerful ally that has big ideas and the ability to execute them.”

The hardest thing about motherhood, Swank says, “is just making sure that you’re giving them the best start.”

CORRECTION (Feb. 27, 2024, 11:17 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated the name of the brand Healthy Baby. It is HealthyBaby.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com