"I can't believe that this was acceptable and that this was okay," she said on Kristen Bell's podcast.
On one hand, 2013 feels like it was just yesterday. On the other hand, it feels like a lifetime ago. And, at least in terms of body positivity and how we talk (or don't, more importantly) about pregnant women's bodies, 2013 may as well be a whole century ago. Remember when Kim Kardashian was pregnant with North, and because she wasn't living up to her usual beauty standards (in the patriarchal eyes of society, anyway), she was constant fodder for jokes about her looks? Looking back, it's horrific. But the problem is that it should have been horrific back then.
In an appearance on Kristen Bell and Monica Padman's new podcast, We Are Supported By, Kardashian opened up in a rare, candid way about the body-shaming she experienced during her first pregnancy and how she feels about it to this day.
"I was not a good pregnant person. I was not a cute pregnant person. I did not like it," Kardashian explained. "I hated it. I hated how I felt. I hate how I looked."
During her pregnancy with North, Kim had preeclampsia—but she spent most of her pregnancy unaware of that fact. Preeclampsia causes swelling, excessive weight gain, high blood pressure, and many other symptoms that range from mild to severe. She delivered North six weeks early. During her pregnancy with North and her second pregnancy with son, Saint, she had a condition caled "placenta accreta," a serious pregnancy condition that occurs when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. This means the placenta remains attached after childbirth, and it can cause severe blood loss post-delivery.
Basically, she had a pretty rough go of it while she was pregnant—which is one of the reasons why she used a surrogate to carry her youngest two children with ex Kanye West—and she deserved so much more empathy than she actually received. But everyone was overly focused on her looks and her weight.
"I was so used to seeing my mom pregnant, my sister pregnant and everyone looking so cute and having these easy deliveries and life was great and they snapped right back. That wasn't me," she said. She then noted how the media "brutalized" her while she was pregnant.
"It was really, really crazy," Kardashian said. "I don't think it would really fly today, but it killed my self-esteem. I can't believe that this was acceptable and that this was okay."
It wasn't okay. Not by a long shot. It doesn't matter if you're known for being a "sex symbol," that does not automatically mean your body should be freely up for public criticism when it changes. Or ever. The body-shaming affected her mentality when she was postpartum, too.
"We didn't have a gym or anything and I was too embarrassed to go to a gym because I didn't want people to look at me trying to lose weight," she said. "I gained 70 pounds. I would sit in my mom's garage and it was literally probably 115 degrees in Calabasas in the summertime. I'd have my daughter in a stroller and I'd sit her in there and I would just work out in the garage and try to do anything I could until I did it."
Sigh. However you feel about the Kardashians and their role in perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards, hearing how Kim was body-shamed and subsequently traumatized while pregnant is heartbreaking.