Halsey Reflects On Criticism For Working During Pregnancy

“I think everyone who heard me yearn for motherhood…for so long, expected me to write the album that was full of gratitude.”

Ellie Bate
BuzzFeed Staff

Posted on August 27, 2021, at 7:49 a.m. ET

ICYMI, it’s been a busy summer for Halsey, who today released their fourth studio album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.

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In an Instagram post announcing the project on July 7, Halsey described it as “a concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth.”

“Me as a sexual being and my body as a vessel and gift to my child are two concepts that can co-exist peacefully and powerfully,” Halsey said at the time.She continued: “My body has belonged to the world in many different ways the past few years, and [the album cover] is my means of reclaiming my autonomy and establishing my pride and strength as a life force for my human being.”

And just one week after the album announcement, the 26-year-old gave birth to their first child with partner Alev Ayedin.

Now Halsey is opening up about her experience being pregnant in the public eye, admitting in an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that some of the conversations surrounding their pregnancy triggered feelings of shame.

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“I’m 26, and I tried very hard for this pregnancy,” Halsey said. “And it was like, I’m financially independent, I’m pretty far along in my career. It feels like the right time for me to do it.”

But, they went on, the response they received from the public didn’t follow the same line of thinking.”I got treated like a teen mom a lot of the time, you know what I mean?” Halsey said. “Where people were like, ‘Oh my God, you’re so young, and you have so much to do in your career, and you’re not married…'””It triggered all of these feelings of shame from when I was younger,” she added.

They also reflected on the fact that if they hadn’t become pregnant, and had continued to work on music and promotion, they would have received judgment for that too.

“The flip side of it, right, is that I don’t and I wait until I’m in my 30s and I do SNL for the sixth time and have my seventh number one album and whatever,” Halsey explained. “I’d do the same stuff over and over and over again.””But then, there’s also, ‘She worked too hard, she never had a family. She’s going to die alone. She was too obsessed with work, she never found someone. It’s a shame she’s not going to have any kids. Her career’s not going to hold her at night,'” they went on.”Okay. So fuck ’em,” they said. “I just was like, I’m going to do what I want to do. You know what I mean? I was like, this is important to me.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Halsey said she received judgment for her album’s horror theme, and her own feelings about her pregnancy, because people expected her to be happier following her miscarriages.

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Halsey has been candid about their miscarriages in the past, describing the experiences in a 2020 interview with the Guardian as “the most inadequate [she has] ever felt.””Here I am achieving this out-of-control life, and I can’t do the one thing I’m biologically put on this earth to do,” she told the outlet. “Then I have to go onstage and be this sex symbol of femininity and empowerment? It is demoralizing.”Posting about speculation surrounding their pregnancy in an Instagram story in March, Halsey wrote: “Why is it ok to speculate and pass judgement about fertility and conception? My pregnancy was 100% planned, and I tried very hard for this bb. But I would be just as happy even if it were another way.”

Speaking to Zane Lowe for Apple Music, Halsey said they “knew the whole time” they were making the album and its accompanying film that people would criticize its themes.

“I knew…that people were going to be like, ‘For someone like Halsey, who’s had miscarriages and whatever, she shouldn’t have been working so hard. Would it have killed her to stay home and relax for the baby?'” the musician recalled.”I think everyone who has heard me yearn for motherhood and yearn for this for so long, would have expected me to write the album that was full of gratitude,” she went on. “And instead I was like, ‘No, this shit is so scary and so horrifying. And my body’s changing and I have no control over anything. And I do finally have this thing I want. So I wake up and fear every single day that I’m going to lose it.'””Everyone’s like, ‘Aren’t you just living a dream?'” Halsey added. “I’m like, ‘No. Actually, I have nightmares about waking up in a pool of my own blood.'”

She admitted that the whole thing led to her taking a step back from social media, for the sake of their child.

“I had to make a choice, especially in my pregnancy, where the girl who’s been the open book for six years… This had to be mine,” Halsey explained.”The consequences were too high,” she said. “The consequences of letting social media stress me out or cause me grief. It’s no longer just me being affected by it. There’s a whole other person whose nervous system is being affected by the status of mine. So I had to kind of make that choice.”

Despite the conflicting emotions surrounding her pregnancy, however, Halsey said she feels “so full of gratitude,” adding she “can’t think of anything that could possibly make this moment in [her] life better.”

“I feel super in the moment, super zen, super scared about all of it,” Halsey admitted. “About labor, about being a good mom, about protecting my child and doing the right things, and balancing everything. But I feel so full of gratitude at the same time.””It’s a subject that has long caused me a tremendous amount of pain,” she said. “And now I get to feel this way instead.”

Halsey’s full interview with Zane Lowe will air on Apple Music 1 on Monday, August 30.

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