Former soap star Jordana Brewster is a happy mom of two boys — sons Julian, 7, and Rowan, 4, — but her journey to motherhood wasn’t an easy one, and she’s opening up about emotions she’s felt surrounding the surrogacy journey that helped her build her family. In an exclusive interview with People, the actress got candid about her path to parenthood and her complications trying to conceive, which is what prompted her to pursue surrogacy in the first place.
Speaking about her inability to conceive, Brewster admitted, “I’m really hard on myself and I have a lot of guilt and shame. I think I would have felt this way whether or not I carried, but I was always like, ‘I’m less than, as a mother, because I didn’t carry.’ I just told myself that story over and over again,” she told People. “When I went to a mommy group, I would tell myself that story and would over explain, and I judged myself and assumed other people were judging me.”
Today, Brewster says she feels a lot differently about her journey to motherhood and realizes that her worth as a mother isn’t tied to her ability to give birth. “I think [other moms] assumed that I didn’t want to carry, or I didn’t want to go through that experience. I think there’s just an inherent judgment with surrogacy,” she explained to People, adding that when people would find out about her surrogacy they would make comments about how lucky she was that she didn’t have to gain weight.
The actress is sharing her story as part of her partnership with Clearblue and the #conceivinghood campaign, which is working to “normalize the conversation around infertility and the trying to conceive journey.” She’ll take part in a virtual discussion that will take place live on April 22 at 11 a.m. EST. The event is scheduled to coincide with National Infertility Awareness Week and looks to help fight the stigma surrounding infertility (you can register for the event here).
“I thought [conceiving] would be no problem for me, which I think a lot of women do,” she told People. “I feel like we sort of assume, ‘Oh, okay, I’m on the track, I’ve been married and now I want to have a kid, and it shouldn’t be a big problem.’ And then all of a sudden you realize, ‘Wait, this is going to be a little more challenging than I thought.'”
Brewster isn’t the only celeb opening up about her surrogacy journey; plenty of other famous parents have talked openly about taking that path to parenthood as well, including Kim Kardashian, Ellen Pompeo, Hilaria Baldwin, and (Maria Menounos, who is currently in the process). Not all families look the same, so it shouldn’t be surprising that not all families come to be in the same way. We hope that the work that mothers like Brewster are doing to remove the stigma surrounding surrogacy helps other parents feel more comfortable talking about the process.