In an interview for Vogue's March 2021 cover story, the 25-year-old supermodel looked back at the moment her now 4-month-old baby girl entered the world.
Gigi and Zayn Malik welcomed the child, who was a week late, in September. According to the magazine, she was in labor for 14 hours and had the 28-year-old singer, her mother Yolanda Hadid, her sister Bella Hadid and her local midwife and her assistant by her side. In fact, she said the former One Direction member was the one who caught the baby.
"It didn't even click that she was out," Gigi told the publication in December. "I was so exhausted, and I looked up and he's holding her. It was so cute."
The runway star gave birth at her home on the family's farm in Bucks County, Pa. According to Vogue, she had planned to welcome the little one at a hospital in New York but changed her mind after social distancing outside of the city amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and learning that her mother and sister wouldn't be able to join her in the delivery room. And after watching the documentary The Business of Being Born, Gigi and Zayn "looked at each other and were like, 'I think that's the call.'"
Per the publication, a blow-up bath was placed in the couple's bedroom. And when Zayn asked Gigi if she wanted to listen to music, the first-time mom told him she'd prefer to listen to her favorite children's novel, The Indian in the Cupboard. So, he reportedly downloaded the film—noting it was one of his favorites, too—and they watched it together during the early hours of labor.
When it came to handling the pain without an epidural, Gigi knew she'd have to "dig deep."
"I knew it was going to be the craziest pain in my life, but you have to surrender to it and be like, ‘This is what it is.' I loved that," Gigi, who was coached by Yolanda and the midwife, told Vogue, later adding, "There definitely was a point where I was like, I wonder what it would be like with an epidural, how it would be different. My midwife looked at me and was like, ‘You're doing it. No one can help you. You're past the point of the epidural anyway, so you'd be pushing exactly the same way in a hospital bed.'"
And while she said she knew her boyfriend and family members were proud of her, Gigi acknowledged there were certain points when she "saw each of them in terror." As she put it, "Afterward, Z and I looked at each other and were like, 'We can have some time before we do that again.'"
Khai, whose name means "the chosen one" in Arabic, is being raised by Gigi and Zayn without the assistance of a nanny or a baby nurse. "She decided to completely take care of the baby alone," Yolanda, or "Oma" to her granddaughter, noted, "and I think that bond is so important."
Although, their families help out, too. According to the magazine, Gigi and Zayn's parents babysit the newborn and Bella FaceTimes and reads The Rainbow Fish and The Very Hungry Caterpillar to her niece.
The couple also intend to primarily raise their firstborn in Pennsylvania and teach her about different religions. "My dad's Muslim, and my mom grew up celebrating Christmas," Gigi shared. "I felt like I was allowed to learn about every religion when I was a kid. I think it's good to take different pieces of different religions that you connect with, and I think that's how we'll do that."
While Gigi has posted some photos of her daughter to Instagram, she hasn't shared any of the little one's face. "I think she wants to be real online," Bella told the magazine, "but until her child wants to be in the spotlight and can make the decision herself, she doesn't want to put her in that position."
Her desire to protect Khai's privacy should come as no surprise to her fans. After all, she kept her pregnancy under wraps for months. According to Vogue, the celebrity found out she was pregnant the day before a Tom Ford show in February—hiding a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting behind a textbook sleeve—but didn't confirm her pregnancy until April.
For now, Gigi is just enjoying life as a new mom, heading back to work, writing thank you notes for numerous baby gifts—including a misshapen teddy bear Taylor Swift sewed out of one of her dresses and nicknamed "Ugly Bear"—and being Vogue's latest cover star.
"I know that I'm not as small as I was before, but I also am a very realistic thinker," Gigi told the publication. "I straight up was like, ‘Yeah, I'll shoot a Vogue cover, but I'm obviously not going to be a size 0,' nor do I, at this point, feel like I need to be back to that. I also think it's a blessing of this time in fashion that anyone who says that I have to be that can suck it."