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Kristen Wiig says IVF was hardest experience of her life

"Emotionally, spiritually, and medically, it was probably the most difficult time in my life."

Kristen Wiig
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Staff

Kristen Wiig is speaking a truth that so many mothers know: IVF can be such a long and difficult road.

In a super candid interview for the September issue of InStyle, Wiig opened up to Editor-in-Chief Laura Brown about how she became a mom of twins, and how it took so much to get there. Like fellow celebrity moms Gabrielle Union and Amy Smart, Wiig describes the IVF process as "a lot of stress and heartache". And like both Union and Smart, Wiig's path to motherhood eventually included a surrogate.

As Wiig tells Brown, basically three years of her five-year relationship with fiancé Avi Rothman "were spent in an IVF haze."

She continues: "Emotionally, spiritually, and medically, it was probably the most difficult time in my life. I wasn't myself. There are so many emotions that go with it—you're always waiting by the phone and getting test results, and it was just bad news after bad news. Occasionally there would be a good month, but then it was just more bad news."


It eventually got to the point where Wiig stopped talking to people about the process because she would feel so sad when someone asked (a feeling many parents who are trying to conceive can relate to).

What got Wiig through the loneliness and sadness were the fellow IVF mamas who supported her.

"But when I did talk about it, every time I said that I was going through IVF, I would meet someone who was either going through it, about to go through it, or had a friend who just did it. It's like this underground community that's talked about but not talked about," she explains.

Wiig says she was initially very resistant when her doctor suggested considering other routes to parenthood, telling them, "Nope. Don't ever bring that up again. I'm getting pregnant. I'm doing this."

But eventually, she decided to seek out surrogacy, an experience she calls "bittersweet" but also beautiful.

Wiig tells Brown: "I became really close with our surrogate, and it was her first time doing it so we kind of went through everything together. When the children were born, I wanted to make sure she was OK and she wanted to make sure I was OK. It was a lot of navigating through emotions and respecting that she had a connection with them and trying to be really honest about how I was feeling. Ultimately, I realized that I'm very fortunate. I'm grateful. I'm a different person now."

The twins are now 9 months old and Wiig says that while she was initially hoping to keep the details of their births private, being photographed in public with the twins opened her family up to scrutiny as people wanted to know where the babies came from.

"As private as I am and as sacred as this all is, what helped me was reading about other women who went through it and talking to those who have gone through IVF and fertility stuff," she explains. "It can be the most isolating experience. But I'm trying to find that space where I can keep my privacy and also be there for someone else who may be going through it."

Thank you, Kristen. By talking about your journey you are helping some other mother who is still on the hardest part of her road.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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Life