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Pregnant India Oxenberg Is Extra ‘Protective’ of Baby Girl After NXIVM Cult (Exclusive)

India Oxenberg is expecting a baby girl with husband Patrick D’Ignazio, and she’s keenly aware of the responsibilities of raising a daughter.

“I thought it was gonna be a boy for some reason. When I found out it was a girl I felt this, like, additional pressure on me,” Oxenberg, 32, exclusively reveals in the latest issue of Us Weekly. “Obviously children are equally as vulnerable in the world, [both] boys and girls. But there was something about having a little girl that made me feel even more protective, especially because of the things that I’ve gone through.”

Oxenberg has been open about her experience in NXIVM, a multi-level marketing company that was later exposed as a cult. During her time in the group, Oxenberg was recruited into the secret society “DOS” and groomed to be a sexual partner of NXIVM’s founder, Keith Raniere.

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Along with other DOS members, Oxenberg was branded with a symbol that, unbeknownst to members, incorporated Raniere’s initials. In 2020, Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison after being convicted of charges including sex trafficking, racketeering conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy.

India Oxenberg
India Oxenberg Courtesy of India Oxenberg

As India prepares to become a mother for the first time, she’s reflecting on the way her own mom, Catherine Oxenberg, fought tirelessly to convince her to leave NXIVM.

“I just feel so grateful for the thing that my mom did, especially when I was under the influence and I couldn’t, you know, advocate for myself appropriately because of where I was mentally,” India told Us, adding that she hopes to “just be there” for her daughter “in a way that she [feels] like she could come to me for anything.”

Although India has shared her story with the world both in her 2020 book, Still Learning: A Memoir, and the 2020 docuseries Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult, she plans to tread lightly when it comes to sharing the details with her daughter.

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Pregnant India Oxenberg Is Extra Protective of Baby Girl After NXIVM Cult
India Oxenberg. Courtesy of India Oxenberg/Instagram

“I honestly think there’s no need for her to know any of that until she’s older. And instead of imposing it on her, I want to have her feel comfortable enough to come and ask questions, because I’m an open book,” India said. “And I also want her to know how strong she is.”

India left NXIVM in 2018 and started dating D’Ignazio that same year. She told Us that “part of getting to know” herself again outside the cult was “learning to trust that I could have a healthy relationship with somebody.”

The couple got engaged in October 2019, one year before tying the knot. India, who announced her pregnancy last month, said that she thinks D’Ignazio will make a great girl dad.

“Even though he’s got all his, like, macho stuff like hunting and fishing and spears [and] fire and all that he does on a regular basis, he also has a really sensitive side where I think he’s going to learn a lot from being a dad,” she said.

For more on India Oxenberg’s pregnancy and life after NXIVM, watch the video above and pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.

With reporting by Sarah Jones

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