Khloé Kardashian Sparks Conversations About 'Guilt' That Comes With Surrogacy

She said the process was “very different” than she imagined it would be.
Khloe Kardashian
Sean Zanni via Getty Images
Khloe Kardashian

Khloé Kardashian has opened up about how she struggled to connect with her son following his birth via a surrogate.

In the new season of The Kardashians, the TV star and founder of jeans company Good American, said: ”I buried my head in the sand during that pregnancy.

“When I went to the hospital, that was the first time it really registered, and it has nothing to do with the baby.”

Kardashian’s son Tatum, who she shares with basketball player Tristan Thompson, was born in July 2022.

An episode in the previous season of The Kardashians, which airs on Hulu, showed Khloé going to the hospital and being shown into a private room to hold Tatum, who had been born moments ago.

“I felt really guilty that this woman just had my baby, and then I take the baby and I go to another room and you’re separated,” she explained in the episode.

She added that it felt like “such a transactional experience”.

The TV star said the uncomfortable nature of the process didn’t help with her initial lack of connection with her son.

And she said she wished that people had been more honest about the realities of surrogacy: “I wish someone was honest about surrogacy and the difference of it. That doesn’t mean it’s bad – it’s great, but it’s very different.”

Khloé isn’t the first Kardashian to experience surrogacy. Kim used a gestational surrogate mother to birth her youngest two children, Chicago and Psalm, after suffering from placenta accreta and preeclampsia with her previous pregnancies.

She described surrogacy as “the best experience” in a March 2021 Keeping Up With The Kardashians clip, telling Khloé when she was considering doing the same: “You’ll see that the love you’ll have for your kids is exactly the same. There’s no difference except there was someone else that was the carrier.”

But it seems Khloé didn’t feel the same sense of connection, initially.

She commented on the difference from birthing a baby yourself, saying: “I do think there is a difference when your baby is in your belly, the baby actually feels your real heart. Think about it. There’s no one else on this planet that will feel you from the inside like that, your heart.”

Her candour has prompted others to open up with support online. One fan took to Twitter saying, “I respect @khloekardashian so much for speaking out about her surrogacy experience. I am sure you just said what many mothers felt and didn’t.”

Another said: “Thank you @khloekardashian for sharing your surrogacy experience and being so candid. It seems that a lot of people don’t talk about the transitional period and the very real, very big feelings that come with this process.”

How to bond with a baby after surrogacy

If you’re worried about bonding with your baby after surrogacy, the science is actually on your side.

Writer Sophie Beresiner shared her experience with surrogacy in Vogue recently and referenced a study which looked at what happens in parents’ brains when they fall in love with their children.

The study found the amygdala (the part of the brain that rules protection, love and nurturing) is opened, not just during pregnancy, but childbirth and nursing.

The study suggests that “for adoptive parents who became primary caregivers to a child they didn’t create, the exact same bonding hormones are present in the amygdala as with natural parents”.

So you don’t need to worry so much about a lack of biological bonding — it’ll happen.

If you are struggling initially, though, here are some tips to get the good feels flowing:

Get involved with the pregnancy

As much as you’re both comfortable, attending check-ups and spending time together so you’re there for little moments like kicks and the baby turning around can be a great way to feel bonded before the baby’s arrived. It’ll also help the surrogate mother feel involved and welcome, too.

Talk to your baby

According to the NHS, babies hear their mother’s voices most clearly, but anyone can talk and sing to them. It helps them to to get to know voices, which will help them feel safe and secure and tune up their hearing and get ready for when they will eventually talk. Hearing your voice more will help boost a sense of familiarity when they’re born.

Hold your baby

Once your baby’s here, it’s a good idea to try skin-to-skin contact within the first hour of their birth, if possible. According to a study, this time together after birth “provides vital advantages to short‐ and long‐term health, regulation and bonding”.