Emily Ratajkowski made a big announcement as the Vogue digital cover star–she’s pregnant! The model is married to actor and producer Sebastian Bear-McClard and they have been married since February 2018.
Ratajkowski shared the digital cover on her Instagram and captioned the post, “Grateful & growing 👼 Thank you @voguemagazine for this very special cover.” Ratajkowski’s famous friends like Kourtney Kardashian , Kendall Jenner , Hailey Bieber , Sofia Richie , and Priyanka Chopra reacted to the big news in the comments.
The digital cover is a close up of the models face that later zooms out to reveal her beautiful baby bump. It also featured the title of an essay Ratajkowski wrote for Vogue: “Why I don’t Want to Reveal The Gender of My Child.” In the article that was published Monday, the model opened up about what led her to make that decision.
“So what do you want?”
Ratjkowski begins by explaining the usual line of questioning when she reveals she’s pregnant. “When my husband an I tell friends that I’m pregnant, their first question after ‘Congratulations’ is almost always ‘Do you know what you want?’ We like to respond that we won’t know the gender until our child is 18 and that they’ll let us know then.”
What people could shrug as a joke, Ratajkowski explains, “There is a truth to our line, though, one that hints at possibilities that are much more complex than whatever genitalia our child might be born with: the truth that we ultimately have no idea who—rather than what—is growing inside my belly. Who will this person be? What kind of person will we become parents to? How will they change our lives and who we are? This is a wondrous and terrifying concept, one that renders us both helpless and humbled.”
The model explained later in the essay, “I like the idea of forcing as few gender stereotypes on my child as possible. But no matter how progressive I may hope to be, I understand the desire to know the gender of our fetus; it feels like the first real opportunity to glimpse who they might be.” Ratajowski said she realizes “a lot of our life experiences are gendered, and it would be dishonest to try to deny the reality of many of them.”
“But” she continued, “I don’t like that we force gender-based preconceptions onto people, let alone babies. I want to be a parent who allows my child to show themself to me. And yet I realize that while I may hope my child can determine their own place in the world, they will, no matter what, be faced with the undeniable constraints and constructions of gender before they can speak or, hell, even be born.”
Ratjakowski looked back at her childhood and it occurred to her that as a young girl she “almost automatically imagined” having a daughter. “I remember playing as a child, holding baby dolls and picturing myself with a future best friend… a smaller version of myself.” However, she doesn’t know if that’s necessarily true. She shared a conversation she had with her husband about it. Ratajkowski recounted, “‘To be perfectly honest’ I tell my husband over dinner, ‘I’m not sure that I even know that I want a girl. I guess I’d just never really thought about having a boy before.’”
Her husband admitted he was worried about the pressure their daughter would have. “I do worry a girl will have a lot to live up to as your daughter,” he replied. “That’s a lot of pressure.” This pressure is something that Ratajkowski is familiar with. She explained, “I wince and think of my own mother and her tales of being homecoming queen, the way I knew the word jealous at the age of three and the early understanding I had of how beauty could equate to power. I prayed for beauty, pinching my nose tightly on either side before falling asleep, willing it to stay small. I think of the other physically beautiful mothers I’ve known—the stage moms with their own mini-mes. The way their daughters, even as young girls, seem to know their own beauty, as if they have already lived entire lives in a grown woman’s body.”
“Are girls universally terrifying to fathers?”
One night Ratajkowski decided to “embrace the algorithm” and watch the suggested videos Instagram was flooding her timeline with. “Instagram knows I’m pregnant before most of our close friends or even my parents do” she joked. “My timeline is filled with targeted ads for maternity clothes, and my explore page is all pictures of babies, bellies, stretch marks, signs that say 12 weeks, and tips for expecting mothers.” She scrolled through a series of gender-reveal parties where “anxious couples stand a few feet apart, looking awkwardly at a large cake or a suspended balloon.” Ratajkowski said she is “taken aback by the pressure these videos capture.” She explained, “Even though I can’t see them, I can feel the presence of their audience—the family members and friends behind their iPhones—as the couple smiles nervously, bracing themselves before they strike. Watching them feels impolite, like I’m peering in on something intensely private.”
Ratajkowski said she started to notice a pattern after the reveals. “Often these couples do not embrace immediately. If blue confetti rains down, the father almost always seems instantly relieved; he walks a few steps away, his eyes wide and his hands behind his head. Maybe he jumps in the air. The pregnant woman, dressed up for the occasion in uncomfortable-seeming heels, looks to her gleeful partner and watches the excitement wash over him. She smiles politely before turning away from him and glancing at the crowd. Are girls universally terrifying to fathers? And mini-mes so universally appealing?”
The videos made her think about her husband and what a son would bring up for him. “Is he secretly yearning for a boy?” she asked herself. Ratajkowski said whenever she asks him he refuses to answer and swears that he doesn’t have a preference. She then revealed some of the fears she has at the idea of having a son and the privilege he would be inherently born with. “I’m scared of having a son too… I’ve known far too many white men who move through the world unaware of their privilege, and I’ve been traumatized by many of my experiences with them. And boys too; it’s shocking to realize how early young boys gain a sense of entitlement—to girls’ bodies and to the world in general. I’m not scared of raising a “bad guy,” as many of the men I’ve known who abuse their power do so unintentionally. But I’m terrified of inadvertently cultivating the carelessness and the lack of awareness that are so convenient for men. How do I raise a child who learns to like themself while also teaching them about their position of power in the world?”
Ratajkowski revealed that despite her apprehensions about having a boy, when she called her best friend to tell her she was pregnant they both immediately agreed- she’s carrying a boy. Her friend told her, “I’m picturing a dark-haired son… I don’t know why; I can just see it.” The model said she nodded and studied the red fabric of her couch, “trying to imagine a baby boy’s tiny body lying next to my thigh.”