"Your journey to motherhood is your journey."
No matter how you become a mother, the journey is worth it. But oftentimes people omit the negative parts for many reasons, whether it's a desire to not make people feel bad for them or to not appear ungrateful. Thankfully, the taboo around the hard topics of infertility and pregnancy have been lifting, and people are feeling more free to express themselves.
Recently, Adrienne Bailon-Houghton, former co-star of "The Cheetah Girls" and co-host of "The Real," revealed her own struggles with infertility and the mixed feelings that came along with it. While we know Bailon-Houghton eventually welcomed a son, Ever James, via surrogate, this is the first time we've heard the unexpected revelation of the new mom feeling frustrated by the surrogacy process.
During the time leading up to finding a surrogate, Bailon-Houghton and her husband, Isreal Houghton, tried to conceive for six years.
When people dream about having a baby, the thought of an extended infertility journey likely isn't something that's top of mind. It seems like a lot of people get pregnant just from sitting near someone on a city bus, so the idea that it may take years to finally welcome your own child feels unbelievable. But for some, that's a reality, and Bailon-Houghton is sharing what that has been like for her.
The actor has been open more recently about experiencing eight miscarriages and attempting IVF, which turned out to also be unsuccessful. Bailon-Houghton told Today.com that she didn't know that infertility was going to be part of her journey.
"I mean, I should have known initially when I did my (first) egg retrieval. My girlfriend was doing it at the same time as me and she got 18 eggs. When I did my retrieval, I got four," Bailon-Houghton shared with the outlet.
The former talk show co-host went on to explain that up until that point in her life she had never heard of a failed cycle, but sadly, all four of Bailon-Houghton's fertilized eggs were not viable to be transferred. After multiple failed IVF attempts, the couple was told that they had one fertilized egg left, and their doctor suggested surrogacy, according to People.
The surrogate got pregnant on the first attempt at implantation and the countdown to her son's birthday began. But for Bailon-Houghton, she was having some unexpected emotions around surrogacy. The actor told Today.com that she felt robbed of the experience of carrying a child.
"It sounds so stupid—so superficial," she said to Today.com. "But I felt robbed of maternity photos. I wanted to feel the movement of a baby inside me. I wanted my husband to experience my pregnant body. I imagined my son being born, and now had other people in this room that were not a part of what I imagined."
Feeling frustrated or even angry about the journey of surrogacy is likely more common than people realize, so it's refreshing to hear someone talk about those complicated emotions. And it turns out, Bailon-Houghton wasn't down to just one egg as her doctor believed. After more testing, it was discovered that she had five more eggs left, according to People, and she plans on trying to carry them herself.
The star had some words of encouragement for moms who may be experiencing infertility.
"Your journey to motherhood is your journey," Bailon-Houghton told Today.com. "No one can rob you of that—infertility can't even rob you of that. Ask yourself: 'Why do you have the desire to be a mom so deeply?' Ultimately, it comes down to love. So if your ultimate goal is motherhood, keep your eye on that and don't worry about what happens during the process."
But her encouragement didn't stop there. The new mom and her husband started the Faith and Familia Foundation, which helps other couples struggling with infertility with money for IVF so they can start their families.
Watch her interview with Hoda and Jenna below: