Between Kim Catrall redefining what being a parent means, and Tyra Banks' emotional conversation with Chrissy Teigen about their pregnancy struggles, it's been a powerful few days for fertility and the many issues that surround it. Though 11% of American women deal with some degree of infertility, it's not a topic eagerly embraced by Hollywood. But given the platforms and large audiences afforded to celebrities, it seems as though more women (and men) in show business should be sharing their stories.
There's something powerful about celebrities sharing their honest, emotional paths to parenthood. It's not always as easy as peeing on a stick and the — POOF! — you're a mom, and we're grateful that some brave folks are discussing the other side of the story, sharing the tremendous hurdles they've faced trying to conceive (or not).
Catrall, Banks and Teigen aren't the only celebrities who've spoken publicly about their ordeals. Here are 18 who have shared their struggles — with natural pregnancy, IVF, surrogacy, adoption, stillbirth and the definition of parenthood — with the world. After all, we're all human (regardless of zip code and tax bracket) and fertility isn't a problem that discriminates.
"I don't like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women — that you've failed yourself as a female because you haven't procreated. I don't think it's fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean you aren't mothering—dogs, friends, friends' children ... This continually is said about me: that I was so career-driven and focused on myself; that I don't want to be a mother, and how selfish that is ... No. Even saying it gets me a little tight in my throat." — Allure, January 2015
"I will say, honestly, John and I are having trouble. We would have kids five, six years ago if it'd happened, but my gosh, it's been a process! And we've seen fertility doctors ... So, anytime somebody asks me if I'm going to have kids, I'm like, 'One day, you're going to ask that to the wrong girl who is really struggling, and it's going to be really hurtful to them. And I hate that. So, I hate it. Stop asking me!'" — FABLife, 2015
"After a while, when you’re not successful, you start to associate the word ‘failure’ every time you pee on a stick and it doesn’t come out the right color. What starts out as a dream becomes a project that’s all consuming — everywhere you look, women are pregnant, and every song on the radio seems like it’s all about being pregnant! It becomes a very frustrating, frightening place." — Down Came the Rain, 2006
“After trying and trying, I unfortunately couldn’t have my babies. It was my reality. I heard about the surrogate option and it worked out beautifully.” — JET Magazine, November 2013
“We've tried a bunch of things … anyone who's tried will know, it's just awful … we had a surrogate. We tried before, we told people and then it didn’t happen, and it’s just really depressing, it’s really hard … We tried for a long time, for five years, but if there’s anyone out there who's trying and losing hope, just hang in there. Try every avenue, try anything you can do because you’ll get there. You’ll end up with a family and it’s so worth it. It is the most worth it thing.” — Today, August 2013
"I get pregnant pretty easily, but I have a hard time keeping them ... I don't say it's a walk in the park. But what are you going to do? We just try again." — People, October 2003
"For all the struggling women & moms out there that think they are alone – This is the truth about conceiving my son and struggles after. 8 yrs of pain and undiagnosed PCOS & Endometriosis. 9 doctors until Dr. Randy Harris diagnosed me & saved my life from a severe ectopic, 5 miscarriages, 5 rounds of IVF, 26 IUI's, most with no outcome, 4½ years of trying to conceive, 26 hours of brutal labor, early delivery b/c of sudden preeclampsia, tearing and tearing after the stitches were in once I was home, milk supply issues, painful mastitis, uncontrollable crying while breast feeding, worked until the day before I [gave] birth and went back after 6 weeks after because I was afraid of letting others down." — Instagram (since deleted), 2014
"We've been trying to have a child for a couple of years and have had three miscarriages along the way. You feel so hopeful when you learn you're going to have a child. You start imagining who they'll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they're gone. It's a lonely experience. Most people don't discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you're defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own ... We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well." — Facebook, 2015
"I didn't know that I was going to be so open with [my fertility challenges], but meeting people at my fertility doctor's office who are going through the same things I'm going through, I thought, 'Why not share my story?' It's been really emotional ... There are definitely times when I walked out [of the doctor's office] hysterically crying, and other times when I was like, 'Okay, everything's looking good, it's going to be this month!' The waiting and waiting has been a roller coaster." — Glamour, June 2015
“‘Childless,’ it sounds like you’re less because you haven’t had a child … For me, timing-wise, it was never right … Not a biological parent, but I am a parent. I have young actors and actresses that I mentor. I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to so I think the thing that I find questionable about being childless or child-free: Are you really? There is a way to become a mother in this day and age that doesn’t include your name on the child’s birth certificate. You can express that maternal side of you very clearly, very strongly.” — Woman's Hour, September 2015
"To be clear, Deb and I always wanted to adopt. So that was always in our plan. We didn't know where in the process that would happen but biologically obviously we tried and it was not happening for us and it is a difficult time. We did IVF and Deb had a couple of miscarriages. I'll never forget it the miscarriage thing — it happens to one in three pregnancies, but it's very, very rarely talked about ... It’s a good thing to talk about it. It’s more common and it is tough. There’s a grieving that you have to go through." — Katie, December 2012
Sarah Jessica Parker
"I knew there would be lots of opinions about, `Well, why didn't you adopt? Why didn't you do this? Why didn't you do that?' and the truth of the matter is, it wasn't one or the other for us ... "We had explored, and continue to explore, all options, and this one just happened first. This isn't the period at the end of the sentence." — Elle, December 2009
“Surrogacy is a very private thing … It was frankly the only way for my husband and I, who have been together for nearly 20 years, could have a child that was half him and half me. So, for us, it was absolutely the way to go … It’s a difficult decision and my heart goes out to every woman out there who’s dealing with any infertility issues and wants to have a baby and can’t figure out how do to it. But I like to say there’s lots of ways to being a mother ... There are many paths to having a family." — press tour, 2012
“I am so tired of seeing on my social media, ‘Why don’t you have kids? Why don’t you have kids?’ You don’t know — you don’t know what I’m going through ... When I was 23 years old, I used to tell myself, ‘In three years, I’m going to have kids.’ Then I turned 24. ‘In three years, I’m going to have kids.’ Every single year I kept saying that. And then after awhile, it’s like, OK, now I want to, and it’s not so easy.” — FABLife, 2015
"Anyone who's been in the place of wanting another child or wanting a child knows the disappointment, the pain and the loss that you go through trying ... We were in a place of desperately wanting another child. I couldn't get pregnant ... I've had a very, very roller coaster ride with fertility. It has never been easy for me" — Australia's 60 Minutes, February 2011
"My children ask me to have a baby all the time and you never know — I could squeeze one more in. I am missing my third. I am thinking about it. But I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third and it didn't work out and I nearly died. So I am, like, 'Are we good here or should we go back and try again?'" — Mail on Sunday's You magazine, March 2013
“[The stillbirth] was horrendous and something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It’s something that I still haven’t dealt with. I never will get over it. I have dealt with it, you know, as being at one with it. But it’s not something that you get over. I held my child and it was really horrific and painful — one of the hardest things that can happen to a person.” — The Sun, April 2014
"About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time and I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I picked out names, I envisioned what my child would look like ... I was feeling very maternal. I flew back to New York to get my check up — and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat. I went into the studio and wrote the saddest song I've ever written in my life. And it was actually the first song I wrote for my album. And it was the best form of therapy for me, because it was the saddest thing I've ever been through." —Life Is But a Dream, January 2013