Celebrating Non-Traditional Family Building with “If These Ovaries Could Talk”

Rebecca Hochreiter
Rebecca Hochreiter
CMO of Gostork

I had the pleasure to chat with Jaimie and Robin, two super smart, funny women with an impressive list of successes, including the amazing podcast and book, “If These Ovaries Could Talk”. They shared how the podcast evolved from a small plan to a grand partnership between two moms who wanted to inform and empower LGBTQ+ couples, as well as show the very human side of family building and infertility – always paired with honesty/transparency and a side of comedy!

 

The dynamic (also warm, witty, entertaining, you name it!) duo behind “If These Ovaries Could Talk”

 

1. You both have incredible backgrounds in media and performance – between the two of you you’ve got acting, writing, producing, dancing, singing — and much more — more than covered. Of course podcasting is on that very impressive list! How did you two hatch the ‘If these ovaries could talk’ idea and what has it meant to you to create this incredible space for such open, honest, difficult and funny dialogue?

JAIMIE: It all started back in 2017. My wife Anne had our first baby rather easily, and when it came time for me to have our second, I experienced years of unexplained fertility. To find comfort during this time, I searched the web high and low for other LGBTQ families experiencing infertility. Shockingly I didn’t find much. I had just discovered podcasts and was really digging them at the time, so I decided I should put my entertainment background to good use and make a podcast talking with friends and other LGBTQ folks about their journies to parenthood and the fertility process.

The funny thing about me is I have a lot of good ideas but never really act on them. So this podcast was an idea that kept brewing in my head as I plowed through my baby-making process. But it was just that, a good idea, nothing more. I finally got pregnant, but the podcast kept gnawing at me.

So pride came along and Anne and I met up with our gay mom friends at the Pride Family Picnic, as we do every year. Robin and her wife Mary were there with their two kids, and as we all walked from the picnic to our favorite neighborhood bar with a “kid-friendly” backroom, a lightbulb went off in my head. I should ask Robin to make this podcast with me. To be fair, I barely knew Robin. I saw her once a year at this picnic. I knew she was an actress and had produced a lot of her own work, but that’s about it. And I think Robin should take it from here because honestly, the rest is a bit of a blur…

ROBIN: And Jaimie had no idea that I had just finished a creative project and had some extra time on my hands (I don’t do well with time on my hands.) She also didn’t know that for my day job, at the time, I was producing the Amy Schumer podcast, so this was in my wheelhouse. Plus I thought it was a fantastic idea, so I jumped on board. We had our first meeting, I made about a million Google docs and a podcast was born. Our original intention was to talk about the ways LGBTQ folks make babies. But after just two interviews, we realized that the heart of the podcast was the personal stories of the couples. What makes the journey hard, funny, exciting, scary. Those moments where we get to see the human side of making a family, infertility, and all the struggles that go along with it. As Jaimie likes to say, it’s beautiful, man.

2. Who is your dream guest to interview on your podcast and why? You can have two different answers!

ROBIN: I’ve been stalking Wanda Sykes for about a year and a half. Stalking in a good way. If that’s possible. Wanda, if you’re reading this, CALL ME! My dad was a used car salesman so, in our family, we call it “being persistent.” I also really want to chat with Ricky Martin and Neil Patrick Harris. But I also have to say, it’s not just about the famous folks. We have laughed, cried, laughed some more, had cocktails with, and even cried after guests left because our conversations were so moving. I really and truly look forward to every person we interview because no two stories are alike.

JAIMIE: Yes to Wanda (CALL US WANDA!) and to Ricky and Neil. I’d also love to talk to Andy Cohen. But I agree with Robin that it’s not all about the celebrities. I mean, having them is a beautiful icing on the cake, but oftentimes the more intriguing stories come from everyday folks. It takes a lot to make an LGBTQ family any way you slice it. Every LGBTQ family has a very intentional, beautiful story. In all of our interviews, no two stories have been the same. Each story draws us in and leaves us in awe of our community. We are some strong, resilient folks, and I personally am very proud to be a part of the community.

3. Let’s talk about your book! You wrote ‘If These Ovaries Could Talk: The Things We’ve Learned About Making an LGBTQ Family’ to tell the stories of the many ways LGBTQ+ families are created. As Comedian and Actor, Judy Gold calls it: “Robin and Jaimie have put together a masterpiece. It’s funny. It’s informative. It’s brutally honest.” Can you tell us about your inspiration to write this and what you learned along the way?

ROBIN: Can we say because the publisher asked us? I’m kidding. There were so many themes that emerged from doing the podcast that kept coming up that it just made sense to capture our family stories in written form. Even though every story is different, there are some things that each of us goes through when making our families like “LGBTQ Drafting” which is the act of asking all your gay friends who’ve gone before you how they made their family, then stealing all their research and doing the exact same thing. Or being out as a family. As a single LGBTQ person you can sometimes pick and choose when you want to be out, but when you have kids, you are always out, and it’s critical to model pride because the kids are always watching!

JAIMIE: It’s true, our publisher really did approach us first. But once the seed was planted, we knew that this book needed to be written. We knew there were universal themes that came up in each interview, and we knew we could make a book out of them. What we didn’t know was just how much content we would get once we started digging in and pulling out excerpts. A lot of times in an interview, the conversation flows, and really pertinent info can get kind of washed over and be forgotten. But when we started taking episodes apart by theme, I was amazed at some of the profound things our guests said. I love that we were able to extrapolate the really meaty points. I also had no idea I had so much to say on the matter. When Robin and I decided to put our own personal stories at the beginning of each chapter, I didn’t think I’d be able to fill a half a page. What the hell do I have to say? Turns out, a lot.

4. What advice would you give intended parents just starting their own fertility/family building journey – currently here looking for providers on GoStork?

ROBIN: Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the process. It will feel like you have one million things that you have to decide, and you will wonder how you will ever figure out criteria to pick a person who will carry your baby or will contribute DNA to your future child. But if you take deep breaths, make one decision at a time, and go with your gut, you can’t go wrong. The way my wife, Mary and I started out trying to make a baby, was totally different from how we ended up making our children. And it was exactly as it should be.

JAIMIE: Firstly, listen to our podcast and buy this book!

ROBIN: Yes! Do what Jaimie said!

JAIMIE: But also, trust your gut. It took me 2.5 years to get pregnant with our second child and during that time I trusted a lot of advice from well-meaning professionals who just couldn’t help me get pregnant. I knew from the start that the doctor we were using wasn’t the right fit, but I stayed on with him because he had helped my wife get pregnant with our daughter and we were all invested in each other. I trusted him implicitly and ignored my instincts to seek help elsewhere. Once that doctor suggested I use different eggs, the jig was up. I finally listened to that nagging voice in my head and took matters into my own hands. I switched doctors, bought a bunch of books, and set myself on a new trajectory. I finally did what felt right and that’s when I got pregnant. So do your research and don’t lose hope. That baby will come to you some way, and whichever way that is will be the right way.

 

If These Ovaries Could Talk… they’d podcast.  And write an awesome book that is really ‘taking off’!

 

5. Clearly 2020 has been an unprecedented, strange and difficult year… but there are a few bright spots in the midst, right? Two thoughts: it feels like podcasts are everyone’s media of choice these days and you’re getting more time at home with family. So any favorite (or funniest) story from quarantine in your personal or professional lives?

JAIMIE: My family has either the best luck or the worst luck, depending on how you look at it. We sold our apartment right as the pandemic hit. We were displaced from March to July while we waited to close on our new place. All of our stuff (and most of our clothes) were in storage. We lived in four different homes, a cousin’s house on Long Island, an Air B&B in Saratoga NY, a friend’s house in Tappan, NY, and another Air B&B in Roscoe, NY. It was tough not having a place to call home. My wife and I worried that our children would be damaged in some way by all the moving and upheaval. But when we finally moved to our new place in the city, my daughter said to me, “I’m glad the Coronavirus came.” I asked, “Why?” She said, “Because if it weren’t for Corona, we wouldn’t have been with you every day or had our own waterfall or been able to swim in lakes or go fishing or play in all those backyards.” And just like that, my 6-year-old put it all into perspective. 2020 has been rough, no doubt about it, but we’ve made some pretty great memories through it all, and we’ve all managed to remain untouched by COVID, thank goodness.

ROBIN: For me, it’s been trying to run a business from my son’s bedroom. I’m taking zoom calls with his Ninja Turtle non-made messy bed in the background. On phone calls, while the kids interrupt incessantly, in spite of my trying to mute while hissing at the kids, “I’m on a call!” And them not caring one bit that I was on a call. And our early days of recording the podcast from home where we were experimenting with random mics purchased from the internet that turned out to be doll-sized. Also recording in a literal fort made of blankets to try to improve our sound quality. It’s been a journey. But we’re still going strong.

 

Thank you, Robin and Jamie, what an incredible journey it’s been for you two, it’s impressive how you’re supporting so many LGBTQ+ couples along the way! Also, a thank you for featuring our founder Eran’s story in your upcoming episode – everyone, check that and all other “If These Ovaries Could Talk” podcasts out at ovariestalk.com!

You can also purchase Jaimie and Robin’s amazing book, here, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Intended parents – check back here over the coming weeks for more exciting GoStork Spotlights!