Heather El Moussa on How She’s Embracing Pregnancy and Co-Parenting
Heather Rae El Moussa is a busy woman. The Selling Sunset star has a slew of projects in the works, including an upcoming show, called The Flipping El Moussas, with husband Tarek El Moussa. Plus, she’s helping to raise her two stepkids and is currently pregnant with a baby boy, due in early 2023. Despite her busy schedule, El Moussa has never felt better than she has during her pregnancy. The Bump caught up with her to talk about her pregnancy journey thus far, how she prioritizes self care, co-parenting and how she’s embraced motherhood.
The Bump: You and Tarek are currently expecting your first child together and were in the middle of IVF treatments when you found out. What was that like?
Heather Rae El Moussa: Yes, we were—we actually had done our second round of IVF. This time we froze embryos, so we had embryos that we were planning on implanting in October—and then we found out we were pregnant. It was a really big surprise, very exciting and such a little miracle for us.
TB: How has your pregnancy journey been treating you so far?
HEM: It has been absolutely incredible. I feel so good and have just enjoyed every moment. In the beginning there were some challenges—body changes, clothes that don’t fit anymore and things growing in places that you can’t control—but I found what works for me, found what I feel beautiful in and dress accordingly. I’m working harder than ever and am busier than ever right now—I’m juggling two TV shows, real estate, starting a skincare line, raising two stepkids and I’m pregnant. As I’m ending my pregnancy and going into the last few months, though, I still have great energy. I do feel overwhelmed some days because of outside work, but as far as pregnancy I feel incredible.
TB: You just described such a robust schedule with work and your family—how are you taking care of yourself during pregnancy with all of these other things going on?
HEM: I still prioritize my workouts—I’ve always loved working out—but I definitely don’t push my body like I used to. I used to work out five days a week, and now I choose rest over a workout. I try to do cardio now one to two times a week; I’m doing yoga with an instructor who’s also pregnant; and I usually do Pilates once a week. I take my dog Bugz on a lot of walks. I love getting outside in the fresh air and walking around my neighborhood. I also take time to do some meditation daily, even for 10 minutes if it’s all I can fit in. I’m prioritizing my sleep, and I go to bed earlier than I used to. I’m still getting up early because I’m a morning person, but sleep is very important. And hydration is very important! I drink coconut water every day to get extra electrolytes and make sure I have a balanced meal of plant based foods and protein. I really think about how everything I put in my body is for my baby. Everything I eat is nutrients for him to grow and to keep him healthy. I’m very conscious about that.
TB: You mentioned previously that you’ve been finding clothes that make you feel beautiful. How have you been approaching maternity fashion? Is there a favorite brand that you’ve loved most?
HEM: I’ve been very fortunate and have not gotten swollen anywhere in my body, so I can still fit in my heels, which has been really nice. When I’m not working or filming, I like to lounge in my sweatpants, and I’ve found that Alo sweatpants with the zip-ups have been most comfortable—I bought them in every single color. When I do want to dress up, I wear a lot of Bumpsuit, and I bought a lot of clothing from Hatch. I really like to wear fitted outfits and enhance my bump—I actually call my son my new little accessory—so I wear tight dresses and low mules in heels for extra comfort. As I near the end, it’s harder for me to wear heels throughout the day, so I have to give myself breaks. Some outfits might be a little simpler than they used to be, but I still accessorize a lot. And I really like the Bumpsuit outfits. I pair the bodysuits with boots, and I’ll get them in long sleeves, high necks and cut off sleeves—I just love all their stuff. Another one of my favorite brands is Norma Kamali. I have this pair of pants—these pants I can wear not pregnant and pregnant, and I still wear the same size because they have such incredible stretch.
TB: With all the changes pregnancy can bring, it’s so important to find maternity clothes you feel good in.
HEM: I’ve heard from some of my friends that they sat around the house a lot when they were pregnant, so they didn’t get dressed up and often felt frumpy. They felt like they lost themselves. I’m very fortunate that I’m out there filming TV shows, so I get dressed up, still put makeup on, get my hair done, get my nails done. I still take care of myself in a way that makes me feel beautiful. And my husband is so supportive of every change that I’ve gone through. I’m curvier, and he’s just really embracing it as well. He tells me how beautiful I am pregnant, so I like to get dressed up for him too.
TB: We’ve talked a lot about aspects of pregnancy that you’ve loved—is there anything about pregnancy that surprised you?
HEM: Honestly I’m surprised I feel so good! I heard so many stories from my girlfriends, but you don’t know how you’re going to feel until you get pregnant. Every pregnancy is different, and everyone’s body is different. I’m shocked at how incredible I feel. I still feel beautiful and feel like myself, just with this big belly and this beautiful boy growing inside of me. I don’t think I embraced motherhood—I’m a stepmom, and I love being a stepmom—but embracing motherhood by growing a human inside of my body, it’s such a beautiful thing. I’m so connected to myself, more than I knew was possible.
TB: Have any of the other ladies in the office or in your life given you any pregnancy or parenting advice that you’ve found rings true for you?
HEM: One of the newest cast members of Selling Sunset, her name is Bre, and she has a 10-week-old baby. We really connected over that—as I go through my pregnancy, she’s been right ahead of me. She had a natural birth at her home, and we talked about that and about pumping. She’ll also share all the baby essentials she’s found—there’s so much stuff out there on what to buy, it’s hard to know what I need. It’s been nice that I have someone who’s just given birth to a baby boy because there are also differences between having a boy and having a girl. I’m learning about having a baby boy and learning tips for changing diapers so I don’t get peed on. It’s just been really incredible, not just with her, but with all my girlfriends that have babies. My sister just had a baby boy too. He’s 6 weeks old, and I just got back from visiting them. I got all my newborn snuggles and practice in. I’ve been with my sister throughout all her pregnancies. She and all of my girlfriends are helping me so much.
TB: You’re already a stepmom to Taylor and Brayden, and you’ve been so open about your relationship with them. Are they excited to meet their younger brother? How have they reacted to your pregnancy?
HEM: They’re so supportive and excited. They already both have a little brother from their mom, but I think now that Brayden is 7 years old he really understands what it is to be a big brother. And we told Taylor right away—she was the first person we told. She said to me one night when we were putting them to bed—she knew we’re going through IVF and were planning on having a baby—and she said, “You have to tell me as soon as you get pregnant. I need to know.” I was already pregnant, so Tarek and I looked at each other, and I texted him asking if we should tell her. He was like, “Let’s tell her,” so we told her in bed that night. She was so excited and so supportive and so happy. It was the same with Brayden—it’s harder for him to keep a secret, so we had to wait a little bit to tell him. Especially in the beginning, he would come up to my tummy, put his ear up to my belly, say, “I can hear him,” and ask, “How big is the baby? What does the baby want to eat today?” We follow along on my app. I like to track it every week and see how big the baby is and what fruit or vegetable he is. Brayden really enjoys seeing my app and seeing where the baby’s at.
TB: What advice would you give someone who is looking to expand and blend their families together?
HEM: I didn’t always want children of my own. When Tarek and I first met, we weren’t planning on having our own baby. As our love grew and as I got closer with the kids, I started realizing that, as a woman, I really wanted to have my own child. I fell in love with being a stepmom. I fell in love with Taylor and Brayden. Being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life. It can be nerve-wracking and scary, but once I knew that I could do this, and I had the support of my husband, we started talking about having our own baby together.
Co-parenting can come with challenges, but I’m fortunate that I get along with the kids’ mom and we communicate. The most important thing is that the kids are always number one above anything else. They’re always our priority. We try to make every sports event, every school event, we go above and beyond to make things happen. Honestly, you need to have a good support system in your life when you’re going through pregnancy, when you’re going through an IVF journey because it can be very challenging. The hormones are uncontrollable for women. I’m lucky I have a great support system with my family, my husband and my stepkids. But communication is huge. Tarek and I, we communicate, we’re best friends. As busy as we are, we always put time aside to talk. I’m very lucky that I have a strong support system because not everyone has that. Having girlfriends that you can turn to and vent to and talk to about everything—motherhood, marriage, IVF, pregnancy, children—it’s so important to have that strong female foundation in life.
TB: What’s next for you?
HEM: My baby shower is going to be coming up, and we’re going to be doing a winter wonderland theme. It’s going to be very holiday-esque and wintery with blues, silvers and whites. It’s going to be a big girls get-together—I think I have about 55 girls coming. I’m very excited to celebrate with all my best friends and family. Tarek and I are big supporters of Colette’s Children’s Home, so for my baby shower, I’m asking my guests to donate through their Amazon list. If my friends get me a gift, I’ve asked them to please also consider donating. We’ve also talked to the kids about getting rid of toys and donating. We’re really open with them about how important it is to give back to people and children in need.
TB: How are you approaching the holiday season as a blended family? Do you have any advice for maintaining positive energy with your stepkids’ Mom during such an important time?
HEM: The most important thing is the kids’ happiness and their wellbeing. As long as both sides of the families know that, and you’re on the same page and you communicate—what we’ve really learned throughout these years is we have to be united. Especially when something happens with the kids and they act up, we show that we’re united. We speak to each other, and the kids know that we’re talking. It’s not like there are rules at one house and not the other. We both have rules and we communicate with each other. Communication and putting the kids first is the most important thing. If families can learn to do that, their lives become so much easier.
TB: Is there a holiday family tradition you’re most excited about this year or excited to introduce to your son next year?
HEM: We always wear matching jammies. We don’t just do it for a photo—we always like to wear them leading up to Christmas. Tarek and I usually spend Christmas Eve together, then our whole family will spend Christmas morning with the kids, and then our whole family will get together on Christmas Day. We’re very close with our family, and our families are very close too. My parents are super close with Tarek’s parents. We always have big dinners and everyone brings food and we all cook. I’m excited to pass on that family vibe that we have. As busy as I am, I’d say I’m kind of the ringleader of the family. I make sure every birthday we get together, every holiday we get together, for every event we’re always together. It keeps our families very united, and we have so much fun. We call ourselves the Griswolds. A big loud family. It’s a lot of fun.
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