Erin Andrews On The Relief She Felt After Opening Up About How Much Infertility “Sucks”
“You’re doing what the doctors are saying, but it’s just not working out. And you’re like, ‘why is my body failing me?’”
For a long time, Erin Andrews didn’t talk about it. “You feel like a failure. You feel embarrassed this is happening,” she tells Romper. “And it’s so sad because when you go to these waiting rooms, they’re so packed.” She’s speaking of fertility clinics, though she wouldn’t say so until 2021, five years into her journey to motherhood.
After being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, she and her boyfriend, former NHL player Jarret Stoll, quickly got engaged, got married, and began IVF. Sometime around her seventh attempt, the FOX sportscaster and former co-host of Dancing with the Stars penned a heartfelt essay about her years-long struggle. “When I was open and honest about how much it sucks and how hard it is for you mentally and physically, the support we got and the feedback from other people was like, ‘Oh my God, thank you for saying something. We’re going through it, too.’”
In the United States, approximately 19% of married women will have difficulty getting pregnant within a year and 26% of this demographic will have continued difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But knowing you’re not alone can be cold comfort.
Fertility clinic specialists and Andrews’ acupuncturist recommended a regimen of vitamins from the company Thorne to help keep her going strong through the difficult process. “I should have been doing that a long time before I started my fertility journey, and so that was annoying,” she says. “But I stuck with it. I used all the vitamins and the supplements that they talked about me taking during the nine years, and then I loved the results, the way I felt on them. I actually still take my prenatal.”
But despite her best efforts and overall good health (she successfully treated her cancer via two surgeries), years into her journey she still didn’t have her baby. Her usual tenacity, which had served her so well in the past, wasn’t enough.
“My husband’s won two Stanley cups. I get to be covering sports on one of four or five outlets that do it in prime time, which doesn’t happen for a normal person,” she says. “So the fact I couldn’t get pregnant, the fact I couldn’t get it to work was… yeah, it’s a big blow to your ego. You don’t understand why. You’re doing everything you can. You’re working so hard. You’re doing what the doctors are saying, but it’s just not working out. And you’re like, ‘why is my body failing me?’”
Fortunately, Andrews’ is a story with a happy ending. In June 2023, she and Stoll welcomed their son via surrogate. His name was going to be Jack until a friend’s tween daughter suggested Mack, which immediately clicked for Andrews and Stoll. But despite having a perfect name, young Mack has already undergone the fate of so many babies. “It now has turned into Mack Attack, the Big Mack, Macaroni, which now has turned into Roni or Rones, then that turns into Tender Roni, My Sharoni. You see where we’re going here,” she laughs. “This kid has no chance.”
Andrews is, as one would expect, completely smitten, delighting in the smallest milestones, mesmerized by something as simple as Mack grabbing for something. But as any parent knows, even one who worked hard to be one for a decade, the joy of motherhood doesn’t mean the struggle ends any time soon.
“I love my job; I hate saying goodbye to my kid. Right now, I’m getting pictures from my nanny of him having fun. And I’m like, ‘I can’t wait to get home.’ But I’ve heard from everybody: this mom guilt is just a part of it. And apparently it’s going to last even when he’s in his 20s,” she sighs with deadpan sarcasm. “So that part is exciting.”
But as hard as work/life balance and staving off guilt can be for any working parent, Andrews is reveling in the time she does have with Mack. She’s excited for when he’s old enough to watch football games with her — some of her favorite childhood memories, she says, are watching football with her dad, and she wants the same for her and Mack. It’s already a point of connection for mother and son, even when they’re far apart.
“In my post-game interviews, [my husband] will have my son standing there watching it,” she says. “That’s been really fun.”
Sharing the story of becoming Mack’s mom hasn’t always been easy, and it certainly hasn’t completely healed the pain of nearly a decade, but she’s glad she can help people feel less alone in their own struggles. It’s also helped her see her experience now in a new light. Recently, she says, a woman on a plane approached her to say how happy she was that the sports broadcaster is a mother. “I was like, ‘Oh God, thanks. I feel like I am not even home: I feel like I’m a horrible mother.’ And then all of a sudden she’s like, ‘I only have two embryos and I’m so afraid to go through a transfer. We’ve had the worst time.’ And it just put it all in perspective. She literally turned around in her seat in front of two men and gave me her life story. And I started talking to her.”
“So I don’t know,” she shrugs. “I guess it’s nice maybe being a person that that they can think ‘Look, they went through it. Look at the end result. There are other people like us out there.’”
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