From Medicine Woman to Miracle Mom Part 1

Katy Bellow answers the phone slightly frazzled: “Just a second, please, my twins are painting each other again,” she sighs. “What is it they say about the terrible twos?”

On motherhood
But instead of losing her temper, the 47-year-old miniseries queen and former star of “Doctor, Medicine Woman” nurtures her toddlers’ creativity. “Boys will be boys, babies will be babies.” She pauses to mop up a glob of paint that has landed in her lap. “You just have to laugh and love them for the wonderful little individuals they are.”

Seymour is used to chaos: She and her husband of five years, director James Keach, have six children between them, ages 12 through 21. The twins, John and Kristopher (named after close friends Johnny Cash and Christopher Reeve), turn 3 at the end of November. “I’m no different than any mom trying to raise a family,” she says. “There are days when I struggle to make it all work, to make time for my kids, for my husband, for me. I think there’s a perception that Mom is a Superwoman–and that’s a lot of pressure. I made a vow to myself and to my family a long time ago that all I would do is the very best I can. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes, even Mommy.”

Her miracle babies
After miscarrying once (during a New Year’s Day parade), Seymour became pregnant with the twins in 1995. But six weeks before her delivery date, she was rushed to the hospital, her blood pressure soaring, for an emergency C-section. “They had told me all along it would be risky to have kids at age 44,” she says, “but it was something I wanted so much, for both James and myself. I refused to lose faith.” After their birth, doctors told her how dangerously close she had come to dying. “They are truly my little miracles — and I cherish them,” she says. “I can’t imagine what life would have been like without them.”

Double trouble
Keeping a toddler entertained is never easy — but try multiplying that times two! “The boys have two very distinctive personalities,” Seymour says. “Kristopher doesn’t sit still for a minute — he runs in all directions — while Johnny is more patient and observant. They’re both very bright and talking up a storm, and when they put their heads together, watch out!” When they were infants, Jane brought them on the set of her show. Everyone would play with them and pass them from arm to arm — they had a hundred adopted aunts and uncles. Now, she says, they delight in anything physical: “They love to run in the park or on the beach, to pet horses or get their hands and faces dirty. The messier the merrier!” They are glued to “Teletubbies” or “Barney” on TV and have a pile of favorite videos (“I think I’ve seen ‘Mulan,’ ‘The Little Rascals’ and ‘Willy Wonka’ about 1,000 times!”). The pair won’t go to bed unless someone reads or tells them a story. “They always want to know how it ends before I can turn page one,” Seymour says. “So sometimes I have to read books backward!”