Kloé Khardashian posed for a photo in a hospital bed looking like a happy mum who had just given birth to the baby boy in her arms. But it was a surrogate, not Kardashian, who actually labored to give birth to the newborn, and criticism piled on a photo that many saw as arrogant — and insensitive.
“It’s bad enough that men try to erase women, but when a woman tries to erase the mother giving birth from the image, it kinda sickens me,” complained a reviewer on the mothers discussion site Mumsnet.
“Renting a womb, ordering a baby, erasing the surrogate and the realities of her experience and laying in a hospital bed as if that cost and that reality were her own [is] deplorable,” wrote another.
Others complained of “Handmaids’ Tale atmospherereferring to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about a future in which the remaining fertile women are forced to give birth to wives of authoritarian rulers who claim to be the children’s real mothers.
But many have defended Kardashian for taking the time to bond in a hospital bed with her new baby, who was announced early last month.
The hospital photo was released on Thursday, the day of the final season premiere of reality show ‘The Kardashians’, now airing on Hulu.
The first episode featured the backstory of the baby and his birth. He also focused on Khloé Kardashian’s painful experience of learning that father Tristan Thompson had secretly cheated on her – again – and that his son with fitness model Maralee Nichols was born in December.
It’s unclear why Kardashian used a surrogate. She gave birth to her first child with Thompson, True Thompson, now 4 years old. The couple planned a second baby as their fractured relationship began to mend. They are no longer together.
In an interview with Heat magazine in July, a source close to Kardashian said undisclosed medical reasons “were factored into her decisions.” But “not putting a huge strain on her body” with a second pregnancy was a “huge motivation”, the source added.
Fertility issues were also reported, but Kardashian’s fertilized egg was used for surrogacy.
Older sister Kim Khardashian had two of her four children, Chicago and Psalm, through surrogacy. She is said to be suffering from placenta accreta, a dangerous condition in which the placenta attaches itself too deeply into the uterine wall.
The use of surrogates has become increasingly common and is generally considered safe, although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends making informed decisions. However, the practice has its detractors. Some criticize financial arrangements that force women with few options for escaping poverty to carry other people’s babies, often with inadequate legal protections. Yet many surrogates say they freely chose the arrangements, which they often find satisfying, and are grateful for the compensation that has helped change their family’s financial future.
“I don’t quite understand the argument against surrogates (although I do dislike the tendency of celebrities to use them for convenience if there is no medical need),” one poster noted. on mumsnet.
“They are also empowered individuals capable of making informed decisions, who will have been informed of the risks and who will have decided that it is worth it for them. I appreciate that there are issues of power imbalance and equity with surrogates coming mostly from poor backgrounds and in need of money, but I’m not sure that’s inherently wrong,” added l ‘attach.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.