Kristen Bell Opens Up About Not Connecting With Her Kids While Pregnant

Kristen Bell has a hot acting career, playing the role of Anna in the blockbuster Frozen movies, as well as the part of Eleanor Shellstrop in NBC’s hit show The Good Place. She also has an enviable marriage to fellow actor Dax Shepard and two adorable daughters, Lincoln, age 6, and Delta, age 5. 

These days it’s clear that Bell is thoroughly committed to her kids. She prioritizes her time with them so highly that she even leaves award shows early so she can get home to them. But although she obviously feels very close to her daughters, she recently shared that this wasn’t always the case. 

The couple is very protective of their daughters

Although Bell and Shepard live their lives in the public eye, they shield their children as much as possible. The girls have Hollywood royalty for parents, but they will not be pursuing work as child actors.

And Bell and Shepard very rarely share pictures of the kids on social media, preferring to safeguard their privacy as much as possible. They’ve even gone so far as asking their fans not to buy magazines that publish unauthorized pictures of their kids. 

Kristen Bell wasn’t always sure she even wanted kids

Although Bell had the standard childhood plans to be a mom someday, by the time she hit age 30 her career was taking off. She wasn’t sure she wanted to put her work on hold, and she didn’t even know if she felt the urge to be a mom.

It wasn’t that she didn’t feel the need to take care of someone; she just felt that she could meet that need in other ways. “I get so much fulfillment out of my dogs,” she explained during an interview on The Motherly Podcast, “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.”

But Bell and Shepard had reached the point in their relationship where they needed to decide if they were going to pursue parenthood or not. Shepard came up with the idea that they’d ask their most negative friends who had kids if they thought it was a good idea. Their friends were so enthusiastic about the experience of parenting that the couple decided to go ahead.

Pregnancy didn’t feel quite like she expected

Kristen Bell attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater.
Kristen Bell | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People’s Choice Awards

When Bell was pregnant with Lincoln, she discovered that she didn’t have that magical maternal connection with her unborn baby that some women talk about. 

“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,” she shared. “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 this somewhat distant feeling didn’t turn out to be an indicator of how the new mom would feel when her baby arrived. Once Lincoln was in her arms, Bell felt that connection with her daughter and her mothering instinct switched on.

She explained that at that point, “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.”

Bell has always been unafraid to talk openly about sensitive topics, and motherhood is no exception. In a world that sometimes judges mothers harshly, it’s refreshing to hear someone be brave enough to admit that motherhood doesn’t always feel like the movies.