Ever since 7th grade, I had a strong fear of getting pregnant when I wasn’t ready to be a mom. Growing up, I went to a Catholic elementary school and our sex ed class had 2 parts. Part 1 was an hour long video where any time the word condom was mentioned or implied the teacher would fast forward. Part 2 was a lecture about the importance of abstinence and waiting until marriage. Needless to say- questions were not encouraged and I definitely walked away thinking the chances of getting pregnant any time you had sex were sky high. So when I finally decided to try and get pregnant in my mid-30’s, it made the disappointment that much harder because I’d spent two decades thinking getting pregnant was easy and for me it wasn’t.
I had never really stopped to think about why I thought it would be so easy to get pregnant until I talked to Zoë. She and I both fell prey to this false narrative in society. It was just one of the many things I realized during our chat about fertility and each mama’s unique journey to parenthood.
Watch + Listen to the whole conversation:
Zoë Ruderman, editor of PEOPLE digital, was excited to quickly get pregnant after she and her husband decided to start a family. However, that elation was shortlived when Zoë had her first miscarriage. Zoë and her husband endured repeated miscarriages and were eventually advised to try IVF to conceive. Though Zoë never lost faith that she would one day get pregnant and have a family, she kept her IVF journey private to protect herself from needing to spend the emotional energy to explain her journey to others. Inspired by her own path to parenthood, Zoë launched the podcast, Me Becoming Mom. The mission of Me Becoming Mom is to destigmatize the many paths to parenthood. She wants people to hear the stories of celebrities to normalize the many ways that people can start families.
Can you tell us about your journey to motherhood?
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mom. I have been with my husband for a while. I met him when I was 23- which was 15 years ago. We waited a long time to get married. Sort of because I felt like the reason to get married is to start a family. We were living together, sharing finances and were doing everything a married couple would do and I didn’t really feel like planning a wedding. Eventually we felt ready for the next stage which prompted us to get married.
We started trying and got pregnant right away- about a month after we got married. I miscarried, and then miscarried again, and then miscarried a third time. And after the third time, the doctors recommended that I do IVF, because when there are unexplained reasons for multiple miscarriages, the likelihood was that there was something wrong genetically with the embryo or the fetus. So, we went down that path. I did five rounds of IVF, and then did a transfer once we were comfortable with the number of genetically tested embryos. And then I got pregnant on the first transfer. My son was born 17 months ago!
What advice do you have for someone going through the fertility process?
You do what’s best for you. You will know what that is. Despite all of the experts out there to provide information for you, you are the only person that can decide what is best for you. Just listen to your body and listen to yourself and trust yourself.
What is the mission of your Me Becoming Mom podcast?
The goal of the podcast is to destigmatize a lot of the conversations and the topics around the various roads to motherhood. A lot of women know it’s rarely a straight line to motherhood. Society and hollywood message to us that if we have unprotected sex, we will probably get pregnant. However different paths to motherhood are not talked about until you’re going through them or until you have a very close friend or family member going through them. Things like IVF, surrogacy, early loss, late loss, adoption are not seen as “normal”, however we need to normalize them.
Unfortunately others don’t feel like they have a community. I sort of had these recurring feelings that I was the only person going through it. If I used my rational brain, I knew there were other people, but it didn’t feel like that in the moment. The more conversations I had, as I was going through it, the more I felt like I had a community.
We started to have conversations about launching a podcast in this space and very quickly narrowed in on this idea of not a parenting podcast but a podcast that ends once you have the baby. We knew we wanted to talk to incredible women, celebrities, who could sort of represent the many different paths to parenthood.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.
Read more from Bridget, follow her on IG, and check out her new series, Work Like a Mother.