Jordana Brewster On Moving Past Surrogacy Shame: ‘I Am No Less of a Mom Than Any Other’
The Fast and the Furious star and mom of two is shedding light on fertility issues, surrogacy, and why it's important to talk about the tough road to pregnancy for so many.
Action film star Jordana Brewster couldn't be more grateful for her "rambunctious and precocious" boys: Julian, 7, and Rowan, 4. But her journey to motherhood wasn't as easy as she assumed it would be. Despite being 30 and never hearing of any fertility issues in her family, it turned out that getting pregnant was going to be "a thing," she explains.
"I still don't know why," says the actress and model. "Sometimes it's kind of a mystery with fertility, which can be really frustrating."
We recently chatted with the actress about how the campaign resonated with her, what it was like to welcome her second child through surrogacy, and her advice for anyone seeking support around fertility issues.
The Power of Discussing 'Conceivinghood'
When it comes to conversations around parenting, Brewster says it's easy to talk about motherhood—aka the point at which you already have the baby in your arms. But there's so much more to the journey than that.
"There's deciding that you want to have a baby and then trying and then realizing, 'OK, this is going to be a tougher journey than I thought,'" she notes.
And that's why she loves the concept of "conceivinghood," and Clearblue's efforts to destigmatize that part of an aspiring parent's path by fielding and sharing real people's stories on their website.
"When I was trying, I felt like I was in a vacuum," recalls Brewster. "The only people I talked to were the experts that were telling me what to do. And I felt kind of like I was being ping-ponged from expert to expert, and I had all this responsibility on myself. I was shouldering this burden, and I didn't really have a community."
But it's clear the tide is turning, and future parents-to-be now have more resources and open lines of communication with one another. "Fertility is something we all personalize and then keep to ourselves, keep locked in, which is really toxic," says Brewster. "It's really important to let it out."
Her Surrogacy Journey
After several rounds of failed IVF, the now mom of two and her former husband Andrew Form decided to expand their family via a gestational surrogate. Although the actress says she felt like she didn't really have anyone to connect with through trying to conceive, she had a "wonderful partner" in the surrogate who carried Rowan. "She knew a lot about fertility, about upping your chances, about how to get a really healthy embryo," recalls Brewster. "She was a wonderful sounding board."
Still, the process was frustrating for the star when people jumped to conclusions about the reason she was using her surrogate, assuming she wanted to keep working or didn't want to gain weight.
Brewster remembers, "I would have to over-explain and share more of my story just to make them feel better, which is really messed up if you think about it. But hopefully, more people coming forward about their journey will help to get rid of those assumptions."
- RELATED: 19 Celebrities Who Used Surrogates
What Helped Her Move Past Shame
After welcoming Rowan, the actress felt shame and a need to justify her decision to hire a surrogate. But thanks to time, earning her "badge as a mom," and feeling inspired by her "confident, grounded" sons, she's healed those emotions.
"I'm like, 'Dude, I am no less of a mom than any other mom,'" says Brewster. "There's no question about that. But I just put that [shame] on myself for some reason. I just went through that guilt trip, and thank God I'm passed it."
The star credits therapy with helping her move forward as well. "I love therapy," says Brewster. "I currently have a therapist who's spiritual and does this five-minute grounding meditation before we have therapy, and I'm going to retreat in a month."
In general, the proud mom makes a point to prioritize self-care and self-reflection in an attempt to continually grow. She concludes, "I always have to be sort of working on myself, which I think is a good thing."