Hilaria Baldwin/Instagram (2)
Hilaria Baldwin is opening up about the public commentary surrounding her sixth child.
Speaking on her iHeartRadio podcast Witches Anonymous, co-hosted by Michelle Campbell Mason, the mom of seven discussed the fertility journey that brought her each of her kids.
After describing her experience going through in-vitro fertilization, Baldwin, also joined on the episode by Young and the Restless actress Michelle Stafford, called it an "awful feeling" knowing that people "shame" women who go through this process to have kids.
"But also, the surrogacy route, they say, 'Oh that's the easy way to have babies,'" the 38-year-old mom shared. "Anyone who has done IVF, egg retrieval, any of it, it is not easy. It is painful."
Baldwin also talked about the idea that there's a difference in her bond with daughter Marilú — whom she welcomed via surrogate in Feb. 2021 — compared to her bond with her other children.
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"Having been able to do both sides of it — in terms of these two sides of it because there's many different ways to become a parent — I don't have a difference between my daughter who was born via surrogacy and my six other children that I carried. There's no difference."
"People assume that I'm less of a mom and she's less my daughter," Baldwin continued. "Somebody questioning your authenticity as your child's mom... We were looking through some articles that were written about my daughter and me, when she was born in February 2021 and they were really mean. They were really, really mean."
Noting that other women were starting these critical discussions about how she came to welcome Marilú, just months after giving birth to son Edu, Baldwin asserted, "they don't know my story because I haven't shared it with people."
"One of the reasons I didn't share it with people is because they were not very nice about it," she continued. "It made me so sad the feeling of judgment, and on such innocence. The bond between parent and child is so beautiful. She is just as attached to me as all my other ones."
Baldwin imagined what would happen if an adult Marílú one day encountered someone who questioned her "validity" so publicly.
"Not just as part of the family, but also her validity in terms of existing because they're questioning whether I should have done this, which is questioning if she should exist — I think, 'what if she runs into you?'"
At the time of the controversy surrounding Baldwin's surrogacy journey, a source told PEOPLE, "It's no one's business about a woman's right to choose how and when she expands her family."
Discussing that tumultuous time in an Instagram post promoting the episode, Baldwin wrote, "Nearly 2 years later, I've done a lot of healing work and am committed to speaking up, sharing our beautiful story, and fighting ignorance."
"There are some that are committed to misunderstanding, there are those who choose to judge if they don't get it, there are those who are afraid to ask because they know our world is shut down by fear of saying the wrong thing and offending, and then there are those who welcome love in all its different shapes and sizes," she continued.
She concluded with a message for her baby girl, writing, "Marilú, you belong, just as you are. I'm so proud and grateful for our journey and being your mama. I'll save the rest for next time ❤️."
Along with Marilú, Baldwin and husband Alec Baldwin share daughters Ilaria Catalina Irena, 9 weeks, and Carmen, 9, and sons Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas, 2, Romeo Alejandro David, 4, Leonardo Ángel Charles, 6, Rafael Thomas, 7.