Jordana Brewster Didn’t Think She Deserved Maternity Leave After Using Surrogate
Jordana Brewster didn’t take maternity leave when she was expecting.
“The Fast and the Furious” franchise star welcomed two sons, Julian, 7, and Rowan, 4, via a gestational surrogate, after going through several rounds of failed in vitro fertilization.
Looking back, she told Insider she should have taken it.
“I was like, ‘No. No, I don’t deserve maternity leave,” Brewster told Insider, recalling a friend who sat her down and recommended taking time. “I’m not carrying… It’s going to be OK that I’m going to go back to work. I just sort of took it for granted that that was something I needed at the time.”
“I would advise moms that are going through something similar, not to cheat themselves out of that because you’re not less than,” Brewster said of the importance of taking leave, if you’re able to do so. “I felt like I was less than in some way, which is really sad as I look back at that.”
While more employers are offering paid leave, the US is still the only developed country without a federal policy that guarantees it.
Brewster recently partnered with Clearblue on a campaign called Conceivinghood where she and others discussed the difficulties they faced on their journeys to become pregnant in a virtual panel timed to National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), which Insider attended.
Their goal is to create a safe space for others to discuss their “trying to conceive” stories to normalize conversations about the difficulties some people face while trying to start or grow a family.
“I wish that this existed when I was going through my journey,” said Brewster, who started trying to have children at 30 and thought it would be simple because her mother had no trouble conceiving. “I really didn’t know where to turn, who to turn to, who to talk to because most of the people around me were having a super easy time conceiving.”
During the panel, Brewster said she felt like she was in the minority when she wasn’t getting pregnant.
“The journey to becoming a parent can take years and years and years,” Brewster told Insider, adding that we should be discussing “conceivinghood” in the same ways that we discuss motherhood, fatherhood, and parenthood. “I think it’s really important to take that into account.”
After conversations with doctors, Brewster and her then-partner found gestational surrogacy, when a baby isn’t related to the person who gives birth, was going to be the best route for them. It took over two years before her oldest, Julian, was born.
When asked if there’s a stigma or misconception about surrogacy that others may have, Brewster said people sometimes make incorrect assumptions about why people may choose to use a surrogate.
“I think people sometimes take for granted — they’re like, ‘Oh my God, you probably chose to go through gestational surrogacy,'” Brewster said. “It wasn’t something that you had to do. It was something I had to do. So I think there’s that assumption. It’s not really a misconception, it’s just an assumption people make and that can be a really hurtful assumption.”
Brewster added that she was lucky enough to not only have access to a gestational surrogate and be able to afford it, but to live in a state where it’s legal.
In the US, according to ABC News, only Louisiana and Michigan have laws prohibiting paid gestational surrogacy. A statute in Nebraska declares contracts “void and unenforceable.” As of February 2021, New York state ended a longstanding ban on commercial surrogacy.
“I had a wonderful relationship with my gestational surrogate. She walked me through so much of it because I was so green,” Brewster said. “I’m very, very grateful for her and a wonderful advocate for us. I think sometimes people don’t hear that about the journey. So I’m really happy to shed light.”
This content was originally published here.