When your job is talking about the lives as others – as a presenter, host and anchor across various American news network channels – it can feel unusually awkward when the camera is turned on yourself. But Alexis DelChario did exactly that last year when opening up about the fertility frustrations that have been such an unwelcome part of her recent years.
The effortlessly charismatic and warm TV host is now not only a happy face to wake up to, but an inspiration to women and couples trying to search through the complexities of unexplained fertility.
In an exclusive Fertility Road interview, we caught up with Alexis…
Q. You’ve talked about your career, and that opening up about fertility is such a brave decision. Do you still feel it was a risk, given attitudes that are out there?
Yes, I was quite nervous to share my secret with the world for several reasons. First off, I knew it would be difficult to share such a private and emotional journey with so many people. When you’re going through infertility you want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world and I decided to do the opposite… shout “I can’t have a baby” from the rooftop! So yes, that was extremely scary.
I was also concerned that sharing this information would have a negative impact on my career. I was worried that a potential employer may not want to hire me because I would (hopefully) eventually be getting pregnant or at the very least need time off for the millions of doctor appointments I have. Although sharing my story makes me extremely vulnerable, I don’t regret it for a second.
Q. Are you the type of person who realises the positive influence they have, and can appreciate just how much your words can mean to others going through similar problems?
I sort of had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment about a year-and-a-half into my infertility battle, and I realised perhaps I’m going through this so I can help others. I mean, isn’t my job all about storytelling, empathising with others, connecting to people and trying to make the world a better place?
My voice has always been my strongest weapon and I truly hope my story can help others who are having trouble creating a family. If I can play even the smallest part in shedding some light on this ‘dirty little secret’ that plagues millions of couples around the world, then maybe my struggle will feel ‘worth it’.
Q. What sort of feedback have you had?
The feedback has been incredible. I am constantly overwhelmed by the numbers of people who reach out to me and say they’ve been there too. I’ve received hundreds of messages of solidarity from all sorts of people – strangers, friends I didn’t even know were battling infertility, men, women, mothers, fathers, people who were once adopted themselves. It blows me away every time I read one of the emails, or hear someone’s heartbreaking story face-to-face. Thankfully I often hear from women who were ‘exactly like me’ struggling for years to start a family, but now they are moms. Somehow, some way it all worked. Those stories give me hope that I will too get my happy ending someday.
Q. So where are you at on the journey right now?
Almost three years in and we’re actually just waiting. We’re waiting to see if Gabe’s varicocele surgery in December could make it possible for us to conceive naturally. Sperm regenerates every four months so in March we’ll know what’s what. The tricky thing is, we’re not even sure where the problem really lies. Gabe’s surgery may not have any impact on improving our chances, but we just don’t know. So we wait.
In the meantime, we’ve decided that it’s time to adopt. After our almost-adoption experience back in September we were extremely hurt and kind of turned off by the whole process. We had such a bad taste in our mouths after a birthmother played games with us and that precious baby, so we needed to step back for a moment. Well the timing seems right now and with our home study being approved in October, we’re good to go!
Q. How much energy do you feel you have left right now?
To be totally honest, my energy in this fight is extremely low. When you focus on something every day, almost every moment for three years, it is exhausting. I feel like my life revolves around trying to have kids, which is so annoying because I’d rather my life revolve around the actual kids themselves. Infertility isn’t for the faint of heart. It will rock you to your core and make you question everything you believe to be good and true. With that being said, we will never stop trying to have kids.
Q. It’s all very easy waking up each day supposing that you’re going to take only the positives out of it, but really, how do you do it?
My ‘go to’ place of comfort is in Jeremiah 29:11, which basically says God has a plan. Trust it. It can be so diffi cult to see the bigger picture on some days, but then I look around and see just how blessed I am. I have the world’s best husband by my side who loves me unconditionally, a strong core of family and friends who support me, a fun career that I’ve always loved, I’m totally healthy (besides this infertility thing that is) and mostly life is good. Once I finally have my babies, will life be perfect? I’d sure like to think so, but the reality is that life will always be full of ups and downs, joy and sadness. One cannot exist without the other, so instead I choose to enjoy where I am while I’m there, because nothing lasts forever.
I believe that we are all given a lesson or test that is designed to teach us something important. Do I sometimes get down when I compare myself to others? Absolutely. But I also know everyone is suffering through something, we all deal with difficulties. For whatever reason, this just happens to be mine.
Q. Do you actually feel more in touch with yourself because of everything you’ve been through?
Yes and no. I am more aware of my physical being than ever before. I know more about my reproductive organs than is probably necessary, but I also think there is something a woman can’t truly understand about herself until she becomes a mother.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you would give to a couple going through similar issues?
Be kind to yourself and each other. Infertility is heartbreaking and painful – it will break you down, make you question your faith and even test your marriage. It will rock the foundation of all that you believe to be good and true. Thankfully, my husband and I have used our unfortunate situation to make our marriage stronger which in turn will only make us better parents someday. Above all, never give up hope. Even in the darkest of moments I have always believed I would be a mom. My desire to have children is so much stronger than anything infertility can throw my way.
Q. What makes you smile, regardless?
A beautiful sunset, a glass of champagne, cuddles from my pup, laughing with friends, travelling with my husband, doing crazy yoga moves and the thought of actually holding my baby someday. Whoa, it gives me chills just thinking about it. No matter what you’re going through, it’s important to look past the darkness and find the light.