Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt on having a 'normal childhood': 'That's important for me and my husband to give to my daughter'

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Katherine Schwarzenegger says she has the
Katherine Schwarzenegger says she has the "most well-behaved" and "happiest baby ever." (Photo: Getty Images; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child-rearing.

Author, eldest child of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, wife of actor Chris Pratt and now mom to 1-year-old daughter Lyla Maria, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt can also add Instagram Live star to her list of titles. Each week she goes live in a series called Before, During & After Baby, where she discusses the ins and outs of pregnancy, fertility, motherhood and similar topics with guests and experts. She's also recently teamed up with the baby probiotic brand Evivo to educate new and expecting moms about an infant health condition known as newborn gut deficiency (NGD).

Yahoo Life caught up with the California-based mom (and stepmom) at her home and chatted about giving birth during the pandemic and what her famous family has taught her about parenthood.

You became a new mom during the pandemic. What’s been your approach to parenting so far?

I try to have as much fun with it as possible, and if I had to describe it in a word or two, it would be “love” and “fun” — even when we’re going through a teething moment [laughs]. I have the most well-behaved baby, happiest baby ever and I know I’m lucky. I’ve enjoyed every part of being a mom so far.

How did becoming a new mom in a hectic year affect you personally?

The biggest difference was an added layer of anxiety — who you have your child around and wanting them to be around people, but also having the underlying concern about being safe. The negative, or harder, side was having to deal with the [pandemic] part of it and the silver lining side, I had a lot of quality time with family and very close friends and I got an intimate look at everybody stepping into new roles (as grandparents, and uncles and an aunt). But there’s an underlying nervousness of wondering how to be a parent, and to deal with the pandemic aspect is a challenge.

The new mom is raising awareness about newborn gut deficiency. (Photo: Courtesy of Evivo)
The new mom is raising awareness about newborn gut deficiency. (Photo: Courtesy of Evivo)

Is there anything that surprised you about parenting?

I’ve always heard about people's hearts expanding when you meet your child for the first time and I definitely had that. That level of love isn't surprising to me, but it’s exciting. What’s surprising is how much you can really multitask as a new parent. There’s always so much to do or get done. And the information! All the stuff I didn't know about before I had a newborn... like newborn gut deficiency. I wasn't aware of it or told about it from other moms; I learned about it through Evivo.

You go live every week on Instagram in a series, Before, During & After Baby. Why is it important to share tips with other moms, especially for a relatively private person?

I’m a very private person who grew up in a private family — while also balancing having parents who are well-known — [who had] a normal childhood and upbringing. That’s important for me and my husband to give to my daughter. As a new mom, it’s been eye-opening to step into this online community and learn from other moms online, ask questions, get feedback and get great advice. (Of course, I have my mom to ask questions, but there are topics that weren’t talked about — like newborn gut deficiency — when I was born.) As a new mom, I wasn't aware of it either and for me to share my experience is important to me. Whether it’s with my books or the IG live show, I’ve always been honest while maintaining privacy in hopes of helping someone else feel less alone in their journey.

Do you have any advice when it comes to dealing with parent shamers?

Initially, [the feedback and criticism] was overwhelming for me, but I chose to focus on what works for me — which may not work for others — and that’s OK. It’s important to have a community around you to support you and communicate with — other mom friends — and I feel lucky to have that.

You come from a pretty incredible lineage of strong women. Have you turned to your family for support and guidance?

My mom talks about it being a cool experience to watch her oldest daughter become a mother and step into that role. I do have a lot of incredible people in family to learn from, and strong women is definitely a big theme in my family; I learned from my mom [Maria Shriver] and my grandmother [Eunice Kennedy Shriver], and having those strong women role models in my life (and now my daughter’s life!) has been so important to me.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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