Having spent a lot of time and effort in conceiving my own children, and spending even more time in support groups with other women how struggled to conceive, I know how difficult, stressful and emotionally draining infertility can be. Which is why, when I read that "Biggest Loser" star Jillian Michaels was "ashamed" of being infertile, I was not surprised by her previous comments about never wanting to get pregnant.
America's toughest trainer, Jillian Michaels, landed in hot water last year when she told Women's Health that she would rather adopt an African baby as opposed to getting pregnant because "I can't handle doing that to my body." Readers piled on, with one lambasting Jillian for promoting the "extremely misguided idea that pregnancy is some sort of 'disease' that women should avoid."
In an interview with The New York Times over the weekend, Jillian addressed the callous-sounding comments, explaining that she has endometriosis and "most likely couldn't get pregnant" anyway.
In her full comment to the Times, Jillian listed a laundry list of reasons she couldn't get pregnant and says she felt "ashamed" because people expect her to be the "healthiest woman in the world."
"The reality is that I have endometriosis, and I most likely couldn't get pregnant. I've had the X-rays, my tubes are closed, the uterine lining is too thick, blah, blah, blah. I was ashamed about it because I thought I'm supposed to be the healthiest woman in the world, and what does this say about me if I can't have kids of my own. It was insecurity, which I have to work on."
Of course, there are still ways that Michaels could have children of her own, with invitro and a surrogate, but that is beside the point. What is really important is the understanding that even for a woman as outspoken and confident as Michaels presents herself to be, she still felt as if infertility was something that needed to be hidden or lied about, or that she needed to make excuses for why her body wasn't somehow "working properly."
Women who struggle with infertility hide their efforts, making the myth that every woman can easily get pregnant grow even more. It's a vicious cycle, and that someone, even a persona as bold as Michaels, would have their first instinct be to hide potential infertility shows what a stigma society places on it.