By the time Kim Kardashian gave birth to her first child, North West, in 2013, she'd put on 60 pounds.
And there was no way the press was going to let her forget it: She was even compared to Shamu, the killer whale, in print.
But Kardashian, 40, has had an awakening since seeing the New York Times' new "Framing Britney Spears" documentary, which focuses on how female celebrities were vilified in the press over the past few decades. She posted extensive comments on her Instagram story Friday, talking about what it was like to be in the midst of that media storm — all while preparing to be a mom for the first time and dealing with preeclampsia.
"No matter how public someone's life may seem, no one deserves to be treated with such cruelty or judgement for entertainment," she wrote in her stories, referring to Spears but also evidently to herself.
"When I was pregnant with North I was suffering from preeclampsia, which made me swell uncontrollably," she continued. "I cried every single day over what was happening to my body mainly from the pressures of being constantly compared to what society considered a healthy pregnant person should look like — as well as being compared to Shamu the Whale by the media."
She noted that she was "shamed on a weekly basis with cover stories that made my insecurities so painful I couldn't leave the house for months after. It really broke me."
Kardashian continued that she took her feelings of frustration and used them to motivate her to get where she is in 2021, "but to say this didn't take a toll on me mentally would be a lie."
The reality star also posted nearly two dozen tabloid covers with blazing headlines that targeted her weight gain, along with some memes (including the infamous Shamu one).
Kardashian and then-husband Kanye West's child, North West, was born five weeks early.
But Kardashian is far from alone; everyone from Jessica Simpson to Hayden Panettiere has spoken out about their weight gain while expecting, and have often found themselves the target of ridicule. Meanwhile, the Spears documentary is prompting multiple celebrities to reflect on how they've been treated in public, and has led to some reckoning and apologies, like the recent one between Paris Hilton and Sarah Silverman.
The reason Kardashian said she decided to speak up now is that she wants to break the cycle of shaming and bullying and "instead try to show some understanding and compassion. You just never fully know what someone is going through behind the scenes and I've learned through my own experiences that it's always better to lead with kindness."