"All the years and years and years of speculation...It was really hard."
The journey to becoming a parent can be a long road for some families -- and it doesn’t always work out as planned. Some people discover that welcoming children just isn’t possible for them and have to consider different ways of expanding their family. While some choose to use a surrogate or to go the adoption route, others decide kids just aren’t for them.
Quite a few celebrities have opened up about their fertility struggles, revealing how they decided to grow their family. That includes Jennifer Aniston, who recently shared that she spent years trying to get pregnant but ultimately realized that welcoming children wasn’t a possibility for her. In bravely sharing their stories, these celebrities hope that it can help others going through the same thing to feel less alone.
Here’s what these celebrities had to say about their pregnancy journeys…
Jennifer Aniston has faced intense questioning from the public and the media about whether she would ever have children and she finally shut down all the speculation. In a candid interview, Jennifer revealed that she spent much of her "late 30s [and] 40s" trying to get pregnant but it just didn’t happen for her. Now, she says the "ship has sailed" and she feels a sense of "relief" that she doesn’t have to think about it anymore.
"It was a challenging road for me, the baby-making road. All the years and years and years of speculation...It was really hard. I was going through IVF, drinking Chinese teas, you name it. I was throwing everything at it. I would’ve given anything if someone had said to me, ‘Freeze your eggs. Do yourself a favor.’ You just don’t think it. Here I am today. The ship has sailed," Jennifer told Allure.
Gabrielle Union suffered numerous miscarriages before being diagnosed with adenomyosis, a condition that causes an enlarged uterus. After struggling to get pregnant, a reproductive endocrinologist told Gabrielle it would be best if she used a surrogate. Gabrielle continued to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and even considered trying an intense medication until her husband Dwyane Wade told her that he was too concerned for her to continue. Although it took her time to "make peace" with the idea she couldn’t carry her own children, the couple eventually turned to surrogacy.
"I wanted the experience of being pregnant. To watch my body expand and shift to accommodate this miracle inside me. I also wanted the experience of being publicly pregnant. I would shake off the distrust society has for women who, for whatever reason -- by choice or by nature -- do not have babies. I had paid the cost of that for years, and I wanted something for it," Gabrielle wrote in her book "You Got Something Stronger?"
Jordana Brewster was unable to carry children on her own so she decided to use a surrogate. The actress now has two children and has been open about her journey to welcoming them into the world.
"For me it wasn’t a choice, I needed to use a surrogate. But I didn’t feel judged, it’s more like I felt awkward…Sometimes I feel a little left out when other moms talk about what their birth experience was like, and I feel the loss of not having carried or having been able to carry. But luckily I keep my circle tight and close, so I never feel judged," Jordana told Yahoo Parenting.
Deborra-Lee Furness and her husband Hugh Jackman decided to adopt after having difficulty welcoming children. Hugh explained that after experiencing several miscarriages early in their relationship, they decided to turn to adoption, which they had been planning to do in the future anyway.
"Because of her age, we started [trying] straightaway when we were together," says the Australian actor, 49, who wed Furness in 1996 when he was 27 and she was 40. "We struggled, a couple miscarriages, [in vitro fertilization] — it was not easy. It was difficult, obviously particularly on Deb. I remember saying to her, ‘We were always going to adopt — let’s just adopt now,’" Hugh told People.
When Lena Dunham was just 31, she had a hysterectomy to remove her uterus amid her struggle with endometriosis. Although it was the right medical decision for her, she says that no longer being able to welcome her own children has been difficult to grapple with at times.
"I may have felt choiceless before, but I know I have choices now…Adoption is a thrilling truth I’ll pursue with all my might. But I wanted that stomach. I wanted to know what nine months of complete togetherness could feel like. I was meant for the job, but I didn’t pass the interview. And that’s OK. It really is. I might not believe it now, but I will soon enough. And all that will be left is my story and my scars, which are already faded enough that they’re hard to find," Lena wrote for Vogue.
Elizabeth Banks spent years trying to get pregnant but was unable to welcome any children. She eventually decided to use a surrogate and while she was saddened to not be able to welcome any of her own children, she says she had a great support system around her.
"It helped that other moms had said that once they had their babies, they forgot they were ever pregnant. So once my focus became the baby and not the pregnancy, it was a very easy decision," she told Women's Health.
In 2015, Kate Walsh candidly shared that she would not be able to welcome her own children because she went through early menopause. She made the discovery when her sister experienced the same thing and recommended that she get checked out by a doctor.
"I don’t have children. I’m not going to have kids. I went through early menopause. My older sister called and was like 'By the way, you should go and get yourself checked because I’m going through menopause early. And I’m like, 'You’re just scaring me.' And then yeah, sure enough, I went and they were like 'You have one egg and there’s a hairline fracture. So enjoy it,’" she shared on Maria Menounos’ radio show.
Kristen Wiig went through a difficult journey before realizing it was in her best interest not to carry her own children. She says she spent three years struggling in an "IVF haze." When she finally made the decision to turn to surrogacy, she and her husband Avi Rothman were able to welcome twins.
"We've been together for about five years, and three of them were spent in an IVF haze. Emotionally, spiritually and medically, it was probably the most difficult time in my life. I wasn't myself...It was just bad news after bad news. There was a lot of stress and heartache. I finally realized that I just needed help. And, thank God, we found the most amazing surrogate," Kristen told InStyle.