The new mom, who was criticized for gaining only 13 lbs. during her pregnancy, tells PEOPLE: "It wasn't like I was going to the gym doing crunches"

By Emily Strohm
Updated December 01, 2020 11:00 PM
Credit: Coco Austin/Instagram

Nicole “Coco” Austin has been over the moon since welcoming her daughter Chanel Nicole on Nov. 3, but the former fitness model and reality star says her pregnancy was under non-stop scrutiny from the public.

“I didn’t really have a bump until the ninth month,” Austin tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I wanted the bump, and I wanted to feel like I was pregnant. It was really pissing me off because everyone was like, ‘Oh [you] have a surrogate’ or something. I was just frustrated with everyone’s comments. It wasn’t like I was going to the gym doing crunches.”

For more on Coco’s life as a new mom, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

As people continued to criticize her barely there bump (she only gained 13 lbs.), Austin started to second-guess herself.

“I thought, ‘Maybe there is something wrong with me,’ ” she says. “So I went to the doctor every single week, asking her, ‘Are you sure I’m okay? Is my bump okay?’ ”

Austin’s doctor explained to the longtime fitness enthusiast: “Athletes always have a harder time getting a larger bump because their abs are tighter than normal.”

Now with the body drama behind her, Austin is loving life as a new mom.

“Just watching her grow every single day – you wake up in the morning and you see a little change in their face and little bit of alertness – and just to know that his little thing came out of me. I’m purely amazed what a blessing this is,” she says. “It’s a miracle.”