What The Kardashians Have Taught Me About Pregnancy And Parenting
Between the Kardash klan's original four siblings, the Jenner girls, Kourtney’s fashionable little buttons and Kim’s early arrival, there’s an impressive amount of Kardashian DNA floating around the celebrity stratosphere. Thanks to stirrup-mounted reality cams and naptime selfies, the average gossip magazine/bad TV viewer (AKA me) knows a little too much about the various Kardashian birth plans. But it hasn't been all $800 Gucci maternity tanks and diamond-encrusted pacis. Some worthwhile lessons I’ve learned along the way:
The seemingly calmest of the Kardashian sisters has basically delivered herself twice now. That is to say, once Kourtney is crowning, she pulls her babies out of her own vagina. Perhaps you didn’t hear me: She pulls her babies out of her own vagina! Thanks to an epidural, there is no animalistic screaming, no thrashing or grabbing her partner by the collar and grunting, “Look what you did to me!” either. She just reaches down when the doctor gives her the signal and helps welcome her new baby into the world. (The last time I bent over to retrieve something important from the lower half of my bed, it was a half-eaten banana our daughter had hidden there hours earlier!)
I remember watching Kourtney execute this maneuver when Mason was born and being both intrigued and enthralled by it. How maternal. How primal. How utterly hospitable. I wanted to pull my baby out of my vagina. As it turns out, I wound up having the most medicalized birth possible – a C-section due to baby turning breech – so this sort of Earth Mother delivery wasn't possible for me. But should we attempt a VBAC with the future #2, I will be requesting Kourtney as my celebrity doula. And yes, that is a new hit reality show you smell.
I’m not going to tease Kim for her questionable baby-naming motives because this new mom was forced to endure enough taunting throughout her pregnancy. She came under unfair criticism for her weight and clothing choices, with the public seemingly unable to differentiate between a woman who is with child and being "fat." Just as Kim was being mercilessly ridiculed for gaining too much weight, Kate Middleton has come under fire for not gaining enough. You can never win.
What Kim’s situation has taught me is that no matter how you choose to live your pregnancy, someone will find fault with it. The pregnant belly is just so visible and out there that people treat it as public domain: Strangers pat your stomach without asking; they ask invasive medical questions regarding conception or fertility treatments. Like Kate, I, too, was met with skeptical looks when people asked how far along I was. “Are you sure you’re [insert current stage of pregnancy] weeks along?” I heard on a near-daily basis. No, actually my ob/gyn just shakes her Magic 8 Ball and charts my progression that way.
No mom-to-be should face the demeaning headlines and judgmental attitudes Kim faced. Hopefully we can all learn a little more about compassion, tolerance, and keeping out noses out of other people's business from her experience.
The media has chronicled Khloe and Lamar’s infertility process, following her into doctor’s appointments and running desperate “I’ll do anything for a baby!” headlines. Sadly, there is truth behind the frenzy: Month after month, the duo has been trying to conceive. Having been in her position, I can empathize. I know what it’s like to watch throngs of friends conceive seemingly easily, when not even the most advanced technological procedures can get you pregnant. For Khloe, the pain must be compounded, watching two sisters give birth as she and her partner struggle. Anyone who has experienced infertility knows how difficult it can be to celebrate birth announcements when, despite all the needles and drugs and ultrasounds and surgeries, you can’t get one of your own.
And yet Khloe handles it with such grace. She appears to be an incredibly loving and involved aunt, speaks in glowing terms about her nieces and nephew and has managed to stay upbeat in interviews when answering questions about her fertility. She did not ditch her sisters' baby showers (I wish I could say I would have been that strong) or "forget" to send a present after the births (guilty). Khloe is far more graceful than I ever was and I think she serves as an excellent role model for elegantly weathering the infertility storm.
Have the Kardashian sisters taught you anything about pregnancy and parenting?