Gretchen Rossi has been waiting to be a mom for what seems like forever.
“I wanted this for so long. I say I’ve wanted this for 41 years. I feel like I came out of the womb knowing I wanted to be a mother,” she said.
Becoming a mom, though, wasn’t nearly as fast as her rise to fame. It all started when she was 30 and offered a spot on the Real Housewives of Orange County reality television show.
“I really didn’t want to do the show. It was my late fiancé Jeff that encouraged me to do the show. Sadly he was battling cancer which a lot of people know he just didn’t want every day to be about the doctors and cancer anymore. He saw it as a really fun opportunity for us to do something different. So I agreed to do the show. A half a decade later, after doing the show I was like, 'Oh my god what did I get myself into,'” she said.
But it gave her a platform that would later change her life and the lives of other women. Five seasons later, she left the drama and started trying to settle down and have a family. She and her fiancé, Slade Smiley, were going through IVF to get pregnant--failed attempt after failed attempt.
“I was completely devastated. I went really into a depression for a good year and a half. I barely could even talk about it,” Rossi said.
But now, after finally getting pregnant through IVF, it’s all she wants to talk about on her platform. Particularly, she wants to talk about the prohibitive cost of IVF. One round can cost upwards of $15,000.
“It truly is a disease. It was diagnosed as a disease a couple years ago. A lot of people don’t realize that. Why does insurance cover Viagra, but they don’t cover an actual disease that you have for infertility,” she said.
She has officially partnered with Senator Cory Booker to help promote his new bill, the Access to Infertility Treatment and Care Act, trying to get insurance companies to cover IVF.
Rossi's working with NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha to support their non-profit Bundle Of Joy, which helps fund IVF for families in need. All this on the path to change legislation.
If anything good came from her spot on reality television, it’s her platform now.
“One of my favorite compliments after being on Housewives was that people would say you’re so real, you’re so authentic, and I just love the compliment because that’s really who I was on the show. I really didn’t play into any of the shenanigans or I have to pretend to live this opulent lifestyle for the camera. I am just who I am,” she said.
She's a woman wanting to help other women be able to afford to become a mom.
Now, they do everything big like revealing the baby’s gender and the baby shower because this is the baby that almost wasn’t.
"The thought of actually being a mother is still very surreal I’m going to start crying. I’m going to keep it together because I have my makeup on! But it is really something that I’ve just prayed for my whole life and I’m so grateful that the Lord has blessed us with this baby girl, Skylar Gray," she said.
And just like she didn’t give up on having her baby girl, Rossi won’t give up trying to help other women get their chance at motherhood as well.