A helping hand. Karina Smirnoff was overwhelmed with anxiety about becoming a first-time mother to her newborn son, Theo, but she found solace in a strong support system — her parents.
“I love babies, but when I would come to my friends who had a newborn and they were like, ‘Here, hold,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, how do I?'” the former Dancing with the Stars pro, 42, exclusively told Us Weekly on Thursday, May 28, while promoting NAMI and One Mind’s Stronger Than You Think virtual mental health event.
She added, “I wouldn’t even know how to grab him or her. So, I was panicking thinking, ‘OK, the baby’s going to be born and I’m not even going to know how to change a diaper.” And everybody’s like, ‘It comes instinctively, don’t worry.'”
Despite her friends’ reassurances, Smirnoff found herself “going through a lot of anxiety” leading up to her son’s birth. The Ukraine native decided to move in with her parents to help her navigate the challenges of first-time motherhood.
However, Smirnoff noted that it’s been a struggle with everyone under one roof amid the coronavirus quarantine.
“I think when you are not used to living with your parents for a long time as an adult and then suddenly you are, wow, that’s a whole different set of skills that you have to attain,” she explained. “And I love them to death, they’ve been so incredibly helpful and I wouldn’t be able to do it without them, but that’s 24-7 in closed doors.”
The biggest lesson Smirnoff has learned while quarantined with her parents is to “take a minute and take a breath” noting that she likes to play music to help ease her stress.
“I mean, you can always lock yourself in one of the rooms and put on the song that you like and the music takes you to a different place and then you come back out and everything is good again,’ Smirnoff said.
Days later Smirnoff — who has not publicly commented on the paternity of her son — shared the first photo of Theo via Instagram.
“Welcome to the world Theo Gabriel!” she captioned a picture of her infant on April 8.
Smirnoff previously dated Mario Lopez and was engaged to fellow Dancing With the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy in 2009. Later that year, she began dating professional baseball player Brad Penny, who popped the question in October 2009. The pair called it quits in December 2011. Her third engagement was to entrepreneur Jason Edelman in January 2015, but the duo split two months later.
With reporting by Lexi CicconeListen on Spotify to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!