After reaching icon status in the professional wrestling world, Trish Stratus retreated from the celebrity circuit in pursuit of motherhood.
She and her partner had their first son Max in 2013 and they planned to have a second child. Eventually, though, Stratus found herself wrestling with her own body as she struggled with infertility.
In January, Stratus finally gave birth to her daughter Madison. She attributes the pregnancy to years of dedication and talking to people about every possible option.
She urges every couple struggling to get pregnant to constantly talk to other people. Stratus discussed her journey with CBC this week.
What was the difference between the two pregnancies?
"I guess the main difference was how we conceived, or how long it took to conceive. My first time around with Max ... we had some hiccups along the way, but we conceived naturally and it didn't take us too long.
My first born was born in 2013 and we always wanted to have two children, so — if you do the math — it took us a while. The infertility kind of crept up on us and we didn't really realize it was a problem until we weren't getting pregnant. So, we got help.
How hard was it for you the second time?
"It was difficult, it wasn't happening naturally for us. Eventually the talks led to in vitro fertilisation. That's a big pill to swallow because it takes a lot out of you. Then we started doing hormonal testing and we found that my hormone levels were high and I could possibly not be a good candidate for this procedure.
At that point, the next conversation became about the possibility of donor eggs and that was a lot to wrap my head around, just with the thought that my child might not have my DNA. I had to step away from everything for a minute. We had to decide what would be the next move.
Then, suddenly, we got a positive pregnancy test result, just out of nowhere. We thought: Oh my God, we beat the odds. Look at us, we're finally pregnant. And, of course, two months later, we had a miscarriage.
Stratus said she overhauled her life after the miscarriage, reducing stresses, working less and using holitstic fertility practices. She attributes this lifestyle change to her getting pregnant three months later.
You were already in your late 30s when you had your first child, how prepared were you to deal with all the difficulty that came the second time?
I don't think you can ever prepare yourself for just the emotional, spiritual, mental and physical strain that it will put on your body. This is why we're having these conversations. At the time, I didn't hear about it, I didn't talk to people who were going through this. That's why I want to get out there and share my story and tell people you're not alone.
I'm not saying this is a one-size-fits-all solution and that someone can just go out and just do what I did and get pregnant. Every body is different and every situation is different.
What would you say to women like you, in or around their 40s who are struggling to get pregnant, and might not be successful?
"You're not alone. Have conversations about it. This is not a dirty little secret. Have conversations and you'll discover more people than you think are going through this. Having conversations and being more open to it will allow you to find different paths and alternative routes that you may not have explored.