“I am not ashamed, and I want to be vocal and honest about this.”
Sports reporter Erin Andrews is known for breaking stories about the NFL, but the 43-year-old made some headlines of her own this week with an emotional essay about her fertility struggles. Andrews revealed that she’s undergone seven rounds of IVF treatments in hopes of getting pregnant with husband Jarret Stoll, a process that started back when she was 35.
The Dancing with the Stars alum penned a Facebook Bulletin about her journey. She noted that her most recent cycle coincided with preparations for the NFL season, making it doubly stressful for her to balance her career and the “time-consuming and emotionally draining” treatments.
“I decided that this time around, I would be open with my show producers about having to come to work a little later than normal because I was attending daily fertility appointments. And I am thankful I did it,” she wrote. “They encouraged me to be open about it because this is real life. It’s not like I’m leaving to go take a hot yoga class, I’m trying to have a baby. I am not ashamed, and I want to be vocal and honest about this.”
So many women struggle with those same feelings of shame and failure — but Andrews wants to help end that stigma and “change the conversation” around IVF.
“It can sometimes be embarrassing when you are in the waiting room and they say your name out loud. It makes me think, ‘I want this to be quiet, I don’t want people to know,’ but I don’t care anymore! It sucks, but I am right there with all these other women in the waiting room,” she wrote. “It’s a team that no one wants to be a part of. We’re all going through this and having a tough time. It can be so isolating, but in reality, we are all there together.”
Though Andrews admits that the odds are difficult, she is remaining hopeful and optimistic that one of these cycles will give her the joyful outcome she’s worked so hard for over the years. “So, as I sat there in that waiting room last week, I gave myself a Tom Brady pep talk! I was like, ‘You’re 43, you’re giving this a shot!’ Everyone said his arm was dead. Everyone said he couldn’t be on a new team and win a championship, and look what happened! Anything is possible, why not us?”
“Now that it’s my seventh time, something just hit me. Why am I keeping this such a secret when this is just a part of our lives?” she writes. “Instead of feeling ashamed, we need to give ourselves more love. It freaking sucks, because it can seem like it’s such a lonely thing. There are so many of us going through this though, and it’s just not talked about.”
As she waits for the miracle, Andrews’ most important message to anyone in a similar position is that they don’t have to suffer in silence. “The fertility clinic can sometimes be so full, it’s heartbreaking, but we really aren’t alone here. You never know who else is going through this; it could be another co-worker or the person making your coffee every day. There are more people than you think.”