When the world learned Kim Kardashian West and her husband, Kanye West, are expecting a third child via surrogacy (it's a girl!), Kardashian West got a lot of judgment from internet commenters who accused the reality TV superstar of using surrogacy as "an easier" way to expand her family.

Her previous pregnancies with 4-year-old North and Saint, age one, were physically taxing, but Kardashian West recently revealed that surrogacy has been even harder, emotionally.

It's a truth that many who've made their families through surrogacy can relate to.

“You know, it is really different,” Kardashian West told Entertainment Tonight. “Anyone that says or thinks it is just the easy way out is just completely wrong. I think it is so much harder to go through it this way, because you are not really in control.”


The 37-year-old mom of two is expecting again through gestational surrogacy (meaning she and Kanye are both biological parents to the child), rather than traditional surrogacy (in which the surrogate is the baby's biological mother).

“Obviously you pick someone that you completely trust and that you have a good bond and relationship with, but it is still … knowing that I was able to carry my first two babies and not my baby now, it’s hard for me,” she said in the interview.

Kardashian West connected with her surrogate through an agency after doctors told the star a third pregnancy could be life-threatening. She suffered placenta accreta (a condition where the placenta is too firmly attached to the uterine wall) during the last two deliveries, and as she described in a blog post, the experience was harrowing.

"My doctor had to stick his entire arm in me and detach the placenta with his hand, scraping it away from my uterus with his fingernails," the star wrote. "My delivery was fairly easy, but then going through that—it was the most painful experience of my life!"

Kardashian West also has a history of preeclampsia, a rare condition marked by high blood pressure and signs of damage to organs. It can be life-threatening for both mother and baby.

Knowing her history and the risks, Kardashian West and her husband opted for surrogacy, but the star says not being the one to carry her baby has been very hard, and that she would have preferred to do it herself if she could.

It's a feeling other mothers who've experienced surrogacy can certainly understand.

Katie Welsh went to every prenatal appointment with her gestational surrogate, a friend and coworker, but as she told Chatelaine, the emotions weren't easy, even though the two women were very tight.

“One hundred percent, I felt like I was missing out. Barb would say, ‘Oh, the baby is kicking’ or ‘The baby has hiccups,’ and I’d put my hand on her belly. ‘Do you feel it? Do you feel it?’ And I didn’t. So I missed that. And I was sad knowing I’d never feel the baby inside of me.”

Not to mention worrying about the choices another person makes with her body while carrying your baby. As author Elly Teman notes in her book, Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self even when intended parents and surrogate mothers have agreements (like the legal one Kardashian Wests have with their surrogate) barring the surrogate from using hot tubs or hair dye, eating raw fish or drinking a lot of coffee, intended mothers tend to worry about these things.

For a mom who was able to micro-manage every aspect of her first two pregnancies, not having that same level of control has been challenging. “That inner struggle is kind of hard, but I am just rolling with it and it is what it is,” says Kardashian West.

Her highly public surrogate pregnancy illustrates just how hard building a family can be, whether you’re struggling with infertility, adoption challenges or other concerns. There’s really no “easy” way to become a mom. But it is always worth it.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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