Lauren Conrad Opens Up About 'Challenging' Emotional Journey After Having Kids: 'I Lost Myself'

PEOPLE has the exclusive first listen of the premiere episode of the Perelel Lives podcast, in which Lauren Conrad and host Alex Taylor bond over the realities of motherhood

Lauren Conrad is getting candid about the ups and downs of motherhood.

While appearing on the debut episode of the new podcast Perelel Lives that dropped Tuesday, the Laguna Beach alum and mother of two opened up about the struggles she experience post-pregnancy, telling host and Perelel co-founder Alex Taylor that she "lost herself" after the birth of 4-year-old son, Liam.

"I was like, 'I don't know when I'm gonna get back,'" recalled Conrad, who shares Liam and son Charlie, 2, with husband William Tell. "Like, 'Am I just a new human now?' "

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 08: Lauren Conrad attends The Little Market's International Women's Day Celebration 2022 on March 08, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Little Market)
Stefanie Keenan/Getty for The Little Market

The 35-year-old entrepreneur said that while friends had given her some advice prior to giving birth, nothing they said could have prepared her for what was to come.

"I think I was just really focused on the exciting parts and knew I could get through the rest," she said. "It's like a funny game that women play with each other because you know it's worth it and you can't just tell that to someone. I had friends who told me just enough; they told me the things I needed to know. ... They helped me prepare with checklists and then were there for me afterwards, in a supportive way."

"The emotional journey afterwards...was just really challenging," Conrad added.

Lauren Conrad
Lauren Conrad/Instagram

She went on to say that it took "about a year" for her to feel herself again, pointing out that a close female friend assured her that she'd become someone "even better."

"'You made a human, you're taking care of them, and it's a new-[and]-improved,'" Conrad remembered hearing. "And she was right. It took about a year for me to feel like myself again."

When it came time for Conrad to go through the pregnancy process again with her second child, she told Taylor she got through it by reminding herself she wouldn't have to do it again.

"We knew we were gonna be two and done, so that made it a little easier," Conrad said on Perelel Lives. "I wasn't someone who loved being pregnant. I wasn't one of those people who like, loved the glow. ... [So] even in the hard moments, [I took comfort in] knowing this is the last time I'm gonna do this. I'm not gonna do this again."

"I think this is why we keep having kids," she joked. "I feel like I've blacked a lot of it out."

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Perelel Lives is a new podcast that invites women to come on and discuss their experience navigating a career, motherhood, and more. Taylor introduced the show as a space to honor "the tireless yet vibrantly challenging role the women we admire most live in, parallel to their careers, personal pursuits, and becoming and being a mom."

For Conrad, striking a work-life balance as a mother is can be challenging, given that she runs a lifestyle brand that includes her non-profit shop The Little Market, her fashion line with Kohls, and more. But she said she gets through that by refusing to give into the pressure to be a "perfect mom."

"I think a lot of times we get caught up as moms. You know, we've built our Pinterest pages. We've created this idea that things need to be perfect," Conrad said. "But sometimes when you're doing stuff for kids, you have to do it for your kids and not for yourself. They just want to have fun."

RELATED VIDEO: Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla Open Up About Raising Sons: 'It's About Setting a Good Example'

Some of the mom activities Conrad said are central to her relationship with her kids are lunches together every day and bringing them to school, two things Conrad can do while working from her home office.

Another important lesson Conrad has learned from motherhood? The importance of "me time." Whether a hike with her girlfriends or a dinner out together in New York City, Conrad shared she's learned that taking a break from her little ones can sometimes be needed.

"It's important to just be you for a minute," Conrad told Taylor.

And although her early moments of pregnancy and motherhood may have been difficult, Conrad was quick on Perelel Lives to gush over the "magic" kids have brought to her life, and all that she's learned being their mom.

"I think it's important to do things your own way because every kid is different. Every parent is different, every situation's different," Conrad said. "I think that parents need to support each other a little more."

Luckily, Conrad has a close support system of friends that are constantly lifting each other up. "I have a community of friends that are...just constantly reminding each other, 'You're doing great. I'm proud of you. You're such a good mom,'" Conrad said. "That makes a difference."

The Perelel Lives podcast will air each Tuesday on streaming platforms. Guests like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and DryBar founder Alli Webb are set to appear in future episodes.

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