Tara Lipinski has had a tough five years.
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Tara Lapinski Opens Up About Her Five-Year Struggle With Infertility & Miscarriage

“Infertility can be one of the loneliest clubs.”

Olympic figure skater Tara Lipinski recently posted about a “secret” she has been keeping from her fans for five years. She and husband Todd Kapostasy have been trying to have a baby, and it has been a harrowing journey for them both. A journey she is now ready to share with others, despite how clearly painful it continues to be for her.

“I've been keeping a bit of a secret for the last 5 years and that’s definitely been a strange feeling for me,” Lipinski wrote in an emotional Instagram post. She went on to write that she wasn’t ready to bring other people in to her journey before; even though that experience was “isolating,” it was also necessary. “My life turned upside down and became completely consumed by our heartbreaking and often devastating fertility journey. My husband and I have seemingly hit every roadblock imaginable from the moment we began this process in 2018 and since then I have been under anesthesia 24 times, have had 4 miscarriages, 4 D&C's [ Editor’s note: this stands for dilation and curettage — a procedure commonly performed after a miscarriage to remove uterine lining], 6 failed IVF transfers, 8 retrievals and a diagnosis of endometriosis that led me to 2 major surgeries.”

In an interview with People, the gold medalist explained that she “was so focused on my career and my work and I met my husband a little bit later in life, and I just never really thought about the next steps. I knew I always wanted to be a mom. I just didn't think there was a time limit on it.”

The Olympian and her husband are launching a podcast to share their experience called Unexpecting in the hopes that they will “truly bring more awareness to the world of IVF, pregnancy loss and couples struggling to build a family,” she explained on Instagram. “Most people have heard about IVF but not often the cruel existence this forces upon its patients when things don't go as planned. And many many people are on this very same tumultuous rollercoaster. Infertility can be one of the loneliest clubs to be a part of and my hope is by telling my story maybe we can help other couples going through similar journeys not feel so alone.”

Lonely though it may be, those who struggle in their journey to parenthood are not alone. According to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 5 married couples who try to conceive will face some sort of fertility challenge. In an interview with Romper earlier this year, Dr. Jill Garrett, PsyD, PMH-C, psychologist and program director of maternal mental health program The Motherhood Space encouraged those struggling to conceive to seek out a sympathetic community.

“Start with connecting yourself to reputable organizations that can offer you accurate information on your physical health, but can also offer opportunities to engage with others who are on this journey,” says Garrett. “The National Fertility Association’s website and it has a lot of options around educating oneself and accessing support groups. Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) website also offers virtual groups for those who are enduring fertility challenges, have suffered early pregnancy loss, pregnancy and infant loss, and a lot of other topics, including perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.”

For those not quite ready to open up yet, maybe just listening to others talk about their experiences can prove helpful. The first episode of Unexpecting drops on Wednesday, Aug. 29, and will detail the couple’s fertility journey over the past five years.