Few people comprehend Kelly Clarkson's lyrics quite as intensely as Hannah Bronfman. What doesn't kill you makes you strong-er...
The wellness influencer has experienced some 36 months of tears and disappointment, building a love-hate relationship with her stash of First Response pregnancy tests and repeating the mantra she and husband Brendan Fallis had come to fully lean into: "There's always next month."
Yet, through it all, she'd maintained a tiny sliver of hope that everything would fall into place, visualizing just how it would feel when she heard the news that she was finally, finally expecting. So when her phone rang this past March as she sat in the back of a New York City cab, "Instead of leaning into fear and nervousness, I felt really quite excited," she tells E! News in an exclusive interview. "And I was met on the other end of that phone call with the positive news that I had really envisioned. It was more of a moment of shock like, holy s--t this is actually real and everything that I had manifested is actually coming true."
The process was trying, with Fallis admitting in their YouTube video that "kinda each month we've been tearing up." But nothing has felt quite as sweet as learning they would become parents later this year.
"It was a long journey to get there but we were so grateful to the process," says Bronfman. "It made us stronger as a couple and ultimately we got an amazing little one on the way and we're so happy that we went though it."
And, oh man, did they go through it.
A year removed from their idyllic 2017 Moroccan vows, the 32-year-old DJ and founder of HBFIT and her groom, a successful DJ himself, decided to take the same leap into parenting as countless couples who had come before. "We were trying naturally," she recalls of those heady early days, "and it just wasn't happening for us." So they began to explore their options, starting at what she called "the most affordable": medications to help with ovulation, cutting out caffeine, changing her diet, trying acupuncture and submitting to more than a few rounds of intrauterine insemination.
The last one led to one of the more crushing blows of the process—an early 2019 miscarriage—and though they continued "down that road for a couple of months," as Bronfman put it, "we finally just said you know what, this clearly isn't working for us, what's our next option? And that really led us to IVF."
She hadn't imagined that would be the way she would get pregnant, didn't see it as part of her journey. And, frankly, as an always-on-the-go entrepreneur, she was a bit nervous about agreeing to nightly injections of hormones, daily morning blood draws, the overwhelming emotional, physical, financial commitment. But after a heavy conversation and yet more tears, "Once we did it," she says, "I was kind of kicking myself like how did we not do that sooner?"
Because now, here they are, mere months separating them and everything they've ever dreamed of.
While their first egg transfer "didn't take," she shares, "I went into the second one with such positivity and I just had a feeling." So when she got that March phone call from her doctor's office, she struggled sticking to her plan to tell Fallis when they were alone outside their office "and it came out in the back of a cab!"
Now making their way down the road to parenthood, their next steps include finding out the sex (a secret only their doctor knows at the moment), loading up on lots of water and healthy fats (for Bronfman) and enjoying the type of rest and relaxation afforded them during the current quarantine.
"Literally, five days after I found out I was pregnant we went into a lockdown," says Bronfman, which meant the two had to get creative with some of the early pregnancy steps. An at-home genetic test with Invitae, and subsequent meeting with a counselor, went a long way to soothing their health-related concerns and the time together in one spot for a longer stretch than they ever thought imaginable has helped with the rest. "It was this weird silver lining because my lifestyle was very hectic, on a plane four times a week and all of a sudden we were forced to be in one place and I have to say, my body really appreciated that," she shares. "Going through the first trimester in my own bed the entire time is something that I'm really grateful for."
Bronfman is feeling chock-full of gratitude these days, something she's all too aware others are struggling with. She knows how crushing it can feel to see what feels like everyone around you announce their news while you're mourning negative test after negative test.
"I met so many people through my IVF journey that I either met in the waiting room or literally on the day of my transfer," she says. "We get to then check in and have someone to say 'Hey, this happened.' Or, 'How are you feeling?'" Finding that community can help you hang on to hope, she adds, and "takes some of the pressure off you and your husband or you and your partner."
Of course, it helps to have a good teammate and she's certainly found that in Fallis. "Every time we would get a negative pregnancy test back he was the first one to console me and be in the moment, in the grief with me," she notes. "But then also put a hopeful face on for the next cycle. If you can have a really strong partner like that, it's really quite helpful."
Because while their journey thus far has been momentous, it's just beginning and the duo are already making plans for how to raise their little Scorpio. For Bronfman, chief among them, is talking to her son or daughter about growing up biracial in an ever-changing world.
"Thirty-two years ago, when I was born, I stuck out because there weren't so many people who look like me," says the daughter of a white father (former Warner Music Gropu CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr.) and a Black mother (actress Sherry Brewer). "But now I feel like everyone's going to be some shade of brown eventually. I'm hoping that our kids will see more representation of themselves in media and in their communities because, when I was growing up, I definitely was one of few."
And she certainly intends not to shy away from the current, racially charged environment, teaching her little one about the inequities that still exist and how much more progress is needed. "I just hope that through everything that everyone has been sharing, through, unfortunately, the horrible things that have happened to so many people in the last couple of months, the awareness level has just skyrocketed," says Bronfman, hopeful that this is the wakeup call that will rouse people into action.
"I like to believe in the good side of humanity," she says, "and I think that the knowledge has woken so many people up and I just hope that everyone, moving forward, lives their lives with a bit more compassion and awareness."