Eva Mendes speaks for first time about baby Esmeralda and explains name choice

Eva Mendes has spoken for the very first time about her secretive pregnancy, and about what life has been like since she and partner Ryan Gosling welcomed their baby girl Esmeralda. "I'm completely exhausted," the star told Violet Grey's digital publication, The Violet Files, of first-time motherhood. "I thought my wild nights were over but there are some of the wildest nights I've ever had."

Baby Esmeralda was born back in September, and her proud mummy revealed the inspiration behind her name.

Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling welcomed baby Esmeralda in September

"We both love the Esmeralda character from the Victor Hugo novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and just think it is a beautiful name," she explained. "Her middle is Amada, which was my grandmother's name. It means 'beloved' in Spanish. We were really excited about naming her."

Eva, 40, said that she and Ryan, 34, have so far cared for their baby girl without the help of a nanny, relying instead of their mothers or siblings to "come over and really help".

She added, "But as far as a nanny or night nurse, for me that part of being a mother at this early stage is the struggle of not being able to sleep and not knowing what I'm doing and really going through it with her and battling out those nights."

Eva Mendes has spoken about her experience of motherhood for the first time

Like most first-time mothers, Eva admitted she has some moments of self-doubt. "I try not to google too many things because it's frightening," she said. "But I do go to Babycenter.com and read the comments sections from other mothers because I find so much solace in that.

"Just knowing that I'm not alone out there and that other mums have gone through the same thing can at least get me through the night."

Motherhood has also made the actress more appreciative of her own mum. "I cannot believe that by the time my mother was 24 she had three kids under the age of four," Eva reflected. "She was in Cuba and totally alone. So when it's the wee hours of the night and I'm feeling a bit insane I think about her and realise that I have no right to complain about anything."

Eva Mendes pictured with her mother Eva Perez Suarez

The star has started thinking like a mother too. "I want to stay present with her," she said of her daughter. "But I do consider how my actions will seem to her later on. For instance, with the Violet Grey photo shoot, I thought, 'Is this something that she's going to be proud of?' The idea that I would ever embarrass her is really heartbreaking for me."

Eva also discussed her secret pregnancy – she was already seven months pregnant when the news broke – revealing that she passed the time with her family.

"I have eight nieces and nephews, so my brother and sisters know a thing or two about what to expect when you're expecting," she said. "I have a very tight-knit family and the pregnancy brought us even closer together."