In her interview for the March Vogue cover story, Gigi Hadid didn’t hold anything back about the reality of giving birth to daughter Khai in September. Describing her 14-hour home birth with partner Zayn Malik, mom Yolanda, sister Bella, a midwife, and an assistant by her side, Hadid dug deep to the “animal” woman inside her to bring her baby into the world.
“I know my mom and Zayn and Bella were proud of me, but at certain points I saw each of them in terror,” Gigi told Vogue (as she rode on a horse at her farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, because, model life). “Afterward, Z and I looked at each other and were like, ‘We can have some time before we do that again.’” Sounds like how most new parents feel after labor!
Hadid previously has been pretty private about her life with the new baby, only showing little snippets of their baby girl’s hands or the back of her head. Hadid only posted pregnancy photos on social media months after she had actual given birth.
But in the Vogue interview, Hadid revealed that she opted for a home birth when COVID-19 restrictions would have prevented her from being surrounded by her mom and sis during labor and delivery. She and Malik were also influenced by the documentary The Business of Being Born, which is critical of hospital interventions and showcases a successful home birth.
“We both looked at each other and were like, I think that’s the call,” Hadid said. “What I really wanted from my experience was to feel like, ‘Okay, this is a natural thing that women are meant to do.’”
So, when Hadid went into labor, the couple placed a blow-up bath in their bedroom and began the natural birth process by watching a downloaded copy of The Indian in the Cupboard, a story they had discovered they both loved. But Hadid is honest that the experience wasn’t just a film festival.
“I knew it was going to be the craziest pain in my life, but you have to surrender to it and be like, ‘This is what it is,'” she said, admitting, “There definitely was a point where I was like, I wonder what it would be like with an epidural, how it would be different.”
But as she was 90 minutes from the nearest hospital and past the point of an epidural anyway, her midwife just encouraged her to keep pushing. So, she did, until baby Khai came into the world. Hadid knows it was not a look she’ll ever reveal on the runway: “I probably looked crazy, actually,” she said. “I was an animal woman.”
Hadid said Malik, who caught the baby when she was born, described his experience as similar to a lion documentary he’d seen, where the male lion paced outside the cave while the lioness delivered her cubs: “Z was like, ‘That’s how I felt! You feel so helpless to see the person you love in pain.'”
Hadid has embraced motherhood and the time the pandemic has provided for her to be focused on her little one. The Vogue cover interview and shoot was, in fact, the first time Hadid had left her daughter since the birth. Unlike many of her celebrity mom counterparts, she has no nanny and no baby nurse.
Hadid said she and Malik plan to raise their daughter on the farm, and while they are still a supermodel and a pop star, they are also parents now with new priorities. She said, “It feels like now I’m in a different place in my life.”
Childbirth is nothing like in the movies, as these beautiful photos show.