Although Kristen Bell shares her two daughters — Delta and Lincoln — with her husband Dax Shepard, the The Good Place actress wasn't always sold on being a mum. She recently opened up in an episode of The Motherly Podcast about her journey to parenthood, and her then-fears about becoming a parent are beyond relatable.
Kristen explained that given her upbringing, she assumed she'd have a large family. "I grew up in a very traditional household in a traditional area of Michigan just outside Detroit, where in my head in high school having nothing to base it on, I was like, 'I'll probably have my first kid at 26 and I'll probably have six kids total . . ." she said. "[I] was playing Barbies with my life."
But as she got older and her career really began to take off, Kristen's outlook on starting a family changed; and eventually, she and Dax talked about what having children would mean for their lifestyle.
"Imagine if one day your dog stood on its hind legs and looked at you and just went, 'Oh my god, I love you.'"
"When I met my husband and [I was] turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids and I was the hesitant one. I was like whoa, whoa, whoa, let's just hold on, OK? Let's talk about this because we love our life, we like travelling. Is this what we want?" she said. "I get so much fulfilment out of my dogs . . . I have always loved to nurture, it's my love language. But whether that's buying the stranger's coffee behind me or making my friends dinner, I can scratch that itch."
Unsure of what their future held at that point, Dax suggested turning to some of their parent friends for guidance. "My husband said, 'Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it,' and every single one of them was like, 'Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth,'" she said.
While their friends' opinions made them realise that having kids could be a great experience for them, it wasn't until she spoke with Jason Bateman, her costar at the time, that she really began to understand what it could be like to have children.
"I didn't know what [parenthood] was going to be like . . ." she said. "The only person who ever tried to explain it to me was Jason Bateman when we were doing Couples Retreat. I had said to him, 'What is it like to have kids?' And he said, 'Well you love your dogs, right?' and I was like, 'Yeah.' And he said, 'OK, imagine if one day your dog stood on its hind legs and looked at you, and just went, 'Oh my god, I love you . . .' And I was like: 'Oh, I'd liquify. That would be the best moment of my life.' And he was like, 'Yup, that's what it's like.'"
Though she was armed with her friends' advice and Jason's thoughtful dog analogy, Kristen still felt a little weird at the beginning of her first pregnancy with Lincoln. "When I got pregnant . . . and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be, I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if [a] water bottle were in my belly. I was like, 'I don't know you. I don't know what you are. You give me some gas pains sometimes, but other than that we're gonna have to meet each other and suss this relationship out. But all the clichés are true, that you just know what to do when [the baby] comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut."