The Felicity of Motherhood

Keri Russell plays a mom in "August Rush," and five months ago her life caught up to her work. We asked the former "Felicity" star what she's learned about becoming a parent.

1. Call the doctor, then call a car: "Arrange your transportation to the hospital before you go into labor. My water broke at the apartment and we had to wait for a cab for a half hour. Then we were stuck in traffic in New York on a Friday afternoon. I'm not kidding. My husband lost 10 years of his life."

2. Pain is not your friend: "Birth in real life hurts a lot more than birth in the movies. I had a 38-hour labor. It was intense. By the end, I took drugs. The midwife was, like, 'It's time'."

3. Picking a name is a lot harder than it looks: "I had a boy name picked out I thought was perfect. But when he came out, he was just different. He was so mellow. My husband grew up on Martha's Vineyard with some crazy hippie-named kids, and he said, 'I think we should call him River.' River wasn't our first choice, but you never know what the name is going to be until the baby comes out."

4. Nursing is the best diet: "Breast-feeding—I'm starving all the time. I eat every two hours. And I'm not talking a cracker. In the morning, I have eggs and toast and coffee and a muffin and granola and yogurt. And then I want steak."

5. It's not easy being green: "I would love to do the cloth diapers, but I can't cut it. I'm ruining the Earth with my diapers. I'm sorry."

6. Actually, being a mom isn't always felicity: "I thought when you have a baby, you get this wisdom. But I still feel like a kid. I'm really happy, and I feel really crazy, too. I cry. I break glasses on the floor. I have spaz attacks. I feel rage I've never felt. Your heart and your feelings expand. In a way, it's nice. You're living more."

7. Get some help: "I thought I could do it all myself, but my friend said, 'Don't be a martyr.' So for the first time last week, I got a babysitter, for just a couple of hours. It is a dream come true."