I am so proud of Aisha Tyler, and I want to thank her. She's my hero.
In case you missed it, Aisha Tyler revealed to her co-hosts on The Talk that she has infertility issues. Not necessarily earth-shattering, since 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. are diagnosed with infertility. When she began to share her story, I was prepared for her to end it with "and now I am pregnant!" and have her jump up and down on national TV. Instead, she left us all stunned and teary-eyed as she exposed her most painful reality -- she may not ever have a biological child. Wow. I remember the first time I uttered those words. It was not on national TV and not to my co-workers, but it was still so hard and so emotional. Hearing your self actually say it is definitely an out-of-body experience. But Aisha didn't stop there.
She shared how honest her doctor was with her chances given her age. Yes, she's over 40 and admitted it. She knows the truth -- getting pregnant over 40 is tough, even with the amazing advances in medical science. But she moved forward with IVF -- she had that 5% hope that it might work. It didn't. She was spent. Exhausted. Emotionally drained. Just plain done. I know that feeling too: being on the wrong end of a statistic and not having the emotional energy to continue. And Aisha shared what we all know all too well -- with insurance coverage sorely lacking for those of us with infertility, pursuing your family building dreams can drain you financially.
But just when I thought she was done... she completely stunned me. She was asked by one of her co-hosts if she will pursue other ways to be a mom and share parenthood with her husband. She did not give that bubbly, perky Hollywood answer. She was real. So real it actually hurt. She admitted that while she loves the "idea" of adoption, her wounds are too fresh to even go there right now. Wow again. I so know that feeling. My husband and I loved the idea of adoption, but that doesn't really help when you are dealing with the loss of a biological child, the loss of a dream, the loss of passing on your genetics, the loss of pregnancy and childbirth. Heck, I needed a year with a mental health professional trained in infertility to just get past those losses. It took a lot of work to get to a point where we could even possibly think of the next step. Aisha, I feel for you in so many ways.
I hear stories like this every day from women all over the country -- women who are teachers, sales reps, lawyers, nurses and librarians. But telling this story on national TV in an environment where these stories are supposed to have a silver lining is gutsy. Aisha's tears illustrate how isolating an infertility diagnosis can be. Her public announcement of her infertility reassured countless people that "you are not alone."
Aisha did not have to share her story. She did not have to talk about the baby that did not happen. She won't join the ranks of celebrities in their 40s who beat the odds and "just got pregnant." She told her story, and it's a story that's all too familiar to so many women struggling with infertility.