“There’s so many issues that aren’t talked about. It can be a stressful [and] sad thing that women go through. There are many girls in my life that had miscarriages or had IVF issues and it wasn’t talked about and I know they felt really alone,” the reality star, 35, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, June 6. “So [since] I have a platform to discuss things — I’d rather share things to help other women than keep it private.”
“I know it did touch other women, and I know that I helped other women through it. I’m always here to help and that’s what I want to use my platform to help as many people as possible. [I was] lucky I got pregnant naturally, but I do have embryos saved and we were planning on implanting the embryos and then I got pregnant with Tristan,” she shared. “That was a huge shock. I did not think I’d be able to get pregnant on my own. And now I have those embryos and who knows what’s going to happen.”
After exchanging vows with Tarek, 41, in 2021, the pair announced in July 2022 that they were expecting their first child together. The Flip or Flop alum, for his part, shares daughter Taylor, 12, and son Brayden, 7, with ex-wife Christina Hall (née Haack).
While looking back on the road to motherhood, Heather said she wasn’t always sure whether expanding her family was in the cards.
“My friends always would say to me, like, ‘You are so nurturing. You’re meant to be a mom.’ I think until you find that person in your life you want to have children with — it was hard for me to envision that,” she told Us. “I didn’t meet Tarek until I was 31 years old. I found out I had very low fertility in my 20s and at that time financially I could not freeze my eggs. I couldn’t afford it and I didn’t have anyone in my life that I was thinking about having babies with at the time.”
The real estate agent recalled thinking she was “not meant to have kids” even after she first met her now-husband, adding, “I still didn’t think I was meant to have kids. I have low fertility and [I thought], ‘It’s probably just not meant to happen. I have two beautiful stepkids and I love them so much. I’ll put my all into them and my marriage.’ Tarek knew that I had expressed wanting to be a mom and having my own baby so we did one round of egg freezing.”
The Netflix personality got pregnant before implanting any embryos — but the IVF process still took a toll on her.
“You’re pumping yourself with hormones and giving yourself shots. That is scary enough, and you’re swollen and bruised. Tarek was incredible through it and so were Taylor and Brayden. I was very open with the kids about what we were doing because I didn’t want just to all of a sudden get pregnant and them not knowing what was going on in our lives,” Heather noted. “We’ve always been very open with them. So, they were right along with me. I’d be giving myself shots and I’d be explaining what I was doing.”
Heather said she could not have gone on this journey without support from her loved ones. “I don’t think I could have done it alone. It’s too emotional and it’s too painful. Then some embryos don’t make it, and that’s really hard too,” she told Us.
The former model also offered advice to women going through a similar experience, adding, “Talk about it with people. Find a good support [system], even if it’s a mom, a sister, friends or husband. Do your research on doctors, do your research on places to go. I think the bedside manner was so important that I chose an incredible doctor that was very heartfelt and there for me. That really helped me through the process as well.”
Since welcoming her baby boy, Heather has been “absolutely obsessed” with the next chapter of her life.
“I’ve had practice with Taylor and Brayden obviously. But going through the newborn stage and having a baby is a completely different ballgame. At first, it’s chaos, right? You have this new baby at home and you’re trying to figure out everything and you’re postpartum and you’re bleeding,” she detailed. “But going through all the mommy changes and trying to get your body back — everything is different.”
The California native added: “I did not think I’d be this obsessed and in love with him. I knew I would love him, obviously, but it’s like this obsession and love. It’s so hard to even leave him and go run errands. So it’s changed me for the better. I’m definitely more calm and more patient and just more loving overall. I’m not letting things upset me and bother me. My peace for Tristan is more important.”
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi