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Meghan Trainor gives TMI advice on motherhood in her new book


Yeah, you know her for her music, like this one, which, if you're anything like me, you had stuck in your head for several months straight.


MEGHAN TRAINOR: (Singing) I made you look. Yeah, I look good in my Versace dress. Take it off. But I'm hotter when my morning hair's a mess.

KELLY: That is Meghan Trainor, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter. She's also a new mom. And now she can add one more title to that list - author. Her first book is out, and it is titled "Dear Future Mama." Meghan Trainor, welcome.

TRAINOR: Hi. This is crazy.


TRAINOR: It's so nice hearing you saying it.

KELLY: It's so nice hearing your voice and talking back to me instead of just with me bopping along singing to it.

TRAINOR: (Laughter).

KELLY: I do - I mean, I kind of want to start there because everybody knows your voice. We all know your music. We've all danced to your songs. You sell out arenas. But your bio in the back of this book doesn't get to any of that until the second sentence. The first sentence reads, Meghan Trainor is Riley's mom. And I want to ask you about that. It seems to speak to a pretty radical reordering of your life priorities that's been underway.

TRAINOR: Oh, yeah. Since I was young, like, I was the girl that played with baby dolls instead of Barbie dolls, you know? So in my early 20s, I would walk by diapers at Target or something and would start crying because I'm like, well, I should be getting those. And my therapist - I was like, what's wrong with me? And she's like, you're already mothering your future babies. It's beautiful. And then I was like, oh, I'm not crazy. I just love them and miss them already.

KELLY: But really, the diapers? - because I can relate to, like, walking past cute baby shoes or something. But diapers...


KELLY: ...I did not cry for.

TRAINOR: That makes more sense.

KELLY: Yeah.

TRAINOR: But I was like, I need these soon, you know? So that's my main priority in life. And my managers - when I was deciding to have the second baby, they're like, what will make you happier - like, going on tour or having kids? And I was like, having kids, like, right away. So...

KELLY: Wow. All right. So you're really frank in here about everything from nipple shields to, you know, trying to get pregnant to the actual delivery. In those chapters, you have some spoiler alerts. There's one that reads, I don't want to scare you. So if you're not into details, skip the next sentence. And then the next sentence - as someone who's been through this, I was like, oh, my God. Did it give you any pause to share stuff that is so personal?

TRAINOR: No. I've noticed that, like, when I hear other people talk about their experiences, it helps me out, whether it's, like, mental health or, like, their stretch marks or their weird things that happened to their body when they were pregnant.

KELLY: Really weird things.

TRAINOR: Yeah. It just makes me feel like there's not something wrong with me, you know? So I try to tell every detail of, like, oh, this also happened. I don't know if it's the pregnancy, but it was weird, you know?

KELLY: Tell the story of when you had just given birth. You've just had a C-section. You're getting wheeled back to your hospital room. You're totally out of it on painkillers, and suddenly you hear somebody blasting a song down the hospital corridor.

TRAINOR: Oh, yeah. I had to get sewn up for 45 minutes without my baby. So I wasn't distracted. You know, I didn't have my beautiful moment with my baby. I was, like, hearing myself being sewn up. And so that was depressing and hard to go through. But then they wheeled me to the next, like, adventure to the next room, and I, like, drugged up, heard my song blasting.


TRAINOR: (Singing) Because you know I'm all about that bass, 'bout that bass - no treble.

And I didn't know if it was the nurses, like, celebrating, like, we just did her C-section. And I - so I go, yo, that's my song. And they go, yeah. I guess another mom heard you were here, and she wanted to celebrate having the same birth day as you and chose your music.


TRAINOR: (Singing) 'Cause I got that boom-boom that all the boys chase and all the right junk in all the right places. I see the magazines...

KELLY: I love that. It's a literal call of solidarity from one new mom to another down that hospital hall.

TRAINOR: I know. I was like, I wish I could hug you, girl.


KELLY: You do talk about writing songs once you became a mother that you couldn't have written before. How did becoming a mom change your work?

TRAINOR: Oh, everything in life means more. I think when you have kids, you see, like, oh, is this the meaning of life? I was told, like, once you have kids, your talents will become better. Your creativity becomes better. But I wrote all these songs that were, like, you know, the hardships of being a new mom and a working mom. And I make it look easy.


TRAINOR: (Singing) Don't I make it look easy, baby, when I do what I do, when I do what I do? Don't I make it look easy, baby? Well, I'm fooling you.

And I feel like a superwoman who's failing, you know?


TRAINOR: (Singing) And if I'm superwoman, I'm flying in the rain, flying in the rain. And I wonder, will it ever get old being a superwoman?

My lyrics are always my weakest point, I thought. Like, my melodies are super-catchy and haunting, but the lyrics on this new album were next-level for me for sure. And it's definitely thanks to making a baby.

KELLY: Yeah. I need you to know that there's one page - it's page 189 in my copy - where I drew a big star and I wrote this, this, this, yes, which is a chapter about trying to be superwoman and about - well, your words are trying to be me and a mom and make all the pieces fit together like they used to. That caught...


KELLY: ...On my heart, and I thought, oh, yeah, I've been there. I think I'm still there. And my babies are teenagers now.

TRAINOR: Oh, yeah.

KELLY: Has it gotten easier...


KELLY: ...As Riley's grown up - I mean, he hasn't grown up, but as he's a toddler?

TRAINOR: There's definitely a period in the first few months when you start working - well, for me personally, because my husband is, like, the stay-at-home dad while I go out and work every day. So the mom guilt came in fast, came in hard, aggressively. If I missed bathtime or bedtime, I was like, I'm the worst. He'll never remember me. Obviously babies say Dada first because it's easier. And I was like, he says Dada because he doesn't know Mama, you know? But I noticed that went away, you know? And, like, the more he started talking and saying Mama and - I'm like, oh, this kid loves me. Like, he truly loves me. Now when I walk away, he goes, Mama. And I'm like, oh, yeah, he knows who I am.

KELLY: You close the book with an open letter addressed to dear new mama, and I wonder if you would read part of it to us and read us out.

TRAINOR: I would love to. This is so crazy. I've been working on this for so long because I was like, if I can get through a C-section, I can do anything. OK, here's the closer.

(Reading) We're only at the beginning of this road, and there's so much more to come. I'm learning to live with the uncertainty and to find beauty in the in-between of it all. Whatever motherhood brings you, I hope that you know you're worthy and capable, beautiful and strong. Your husband isn't lying to you. I promise. I wish you a strong support network and a partner willing to change your diaper. I wish you a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. I wish you a magical skin-to-skin hour with your baby - your beautiful baby. I wish you strong nipples and long naps and boobies overflowing with breast milk. You got this, Mama. I'm right here with you. It's not always easy, and it's not always going to be cute, but it is always, always worth it. With love, your bestie, Meghan Trainor.

KELLY: Oh, amen to that. I love it. Yeah. Well, congratulations on your baby No. 1, baby No. 2 on the way and on your new book.

TRAINOR: Yay. Thank you so much.

KELLY: We've been speaking with Meghan Trainor, singer, songwriter, mother, author. Her new book is "Dear Future Mama."


TRAINOR: (Singing) I am your mother. I am your mother. You listen to me. You listen to me. Stop all the mansplaining (ph). No one's listening. Tell me; who gave you permission to speak? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Linah Mohammad
Prior to joining NPR in 2022, Mohammad was a producer on The Washington Post's daily flagship podcast Post Reports, where her work was recognized by multiple awards. She was honored with a Peabody award for her work on an episode on the life of George Floyd.
Mallory Yu
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Mary Louise Kelly
Mary Louise Kelly is a co-host of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine.