Kim and her family dynasty have ruled TV and pop culture from the 2010s and beyond. And naturally, they've racked up a lot of criticism (some warranted, and some not).
In a recent episode of Kristen Bell and Monica Padman's limited series podcast, We Are Supported By, Kim opened up about the intense media scrutiny — and shaming — she faced while pregnant with her daughter, North.
The reality star said she "was not a good pregnant person" and "hated" the way she looked. "I was so used to seeing my mom pregnant, my sister pregnant, and everyone looking so cute and having these easy deliveries, and it was great, and they snapped right back," she shared. "That wasn’t me.”
Kim also reflected on how the media "really did brutalize" her in characterizations that made fun of her weight gain and, in some instances, literally compared her to the killer whale Shamu.
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was also pregnant at the same time, so Kim said their pregnancies — and by extension, their pregnancy bodies — were often contrasted.
"It was really, really crazy,” she shared. “The Waif versus the Whale. It was so nasty...I can’t really believe it. 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 OK."
But amid the heightened and largely media-driven hate, Kim was dealing with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, which causes high blood pressure that can be fatal. "I would sit at home and cry all the time...I had to deliver six weeks early with an emergency delivery."
After giving birth, Kim said she still had to deal with her body insecurity and was "too embarrassed" to go to a gym. "I didn’t want people to look at me trying to lose weight,” she shared. “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."
But while she now feels more confident in her body image, she said the negative experiences changed how much she wanted to "give" to the world on social media.
"There is definitely a side of me that's like, 'Be who you want to be and post what you want to post,'" she explained. "Then there's the other side of me that's like, 'Oh, I'm a mom, I'm 40, I gotta chill.' I definitely wrestle with that idea in my mind."
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