Cat Cora Describes Her Unusual Path to Parenthood
The road to motherhood was filled with twists and turns for Cat Cora and wife Jennifer.
In a new interview with Working Mother, the Iron Chef America competitor reveals that the couple — who used a common sperm donor — each had eggs harvested just once, and now have four little boys to show for their efforts.
Arriving at their family of six wasn’t as direct as that, however!
“The doctor implanted Jennifer and me with each other’s eggs,” Cora, 43, explains. “So she gave birth to [3-year-old] Caje, but he’s my biological child. I carried [13-month-old] Nash, but he’s Jennifer’s biological child.”
As for 17-month-old Thatcher, Cora says the verdict is out!
Jennifer was impregnated with two embryos: one her own, and one Cora’s. And while the couple “may find out medically one day” who Thatcher’s biological mom is, Cora says the couple — also moms to 6-year-old Zoran — had more pressing concerns after welcoming each son.
“As a same-sex couple, we had to go back and legally adopt them,” she points out. “Even though Nash was her biological son, Jennifer had to adopt him. Same with me and Caje.”
Adding that “there were lots of papers to file and lots of legal expenses,” Cora feels it’s a process that needs to be simplified. “Hopefully someday same-sex couples won’t have to go through all of that,” she adds.
The “shots and shifting hormones” of IVF proved challenging for both women, and Cora reveals she even suffered a miscarriage along the way. “The first three days of the pregnancy were euphoric … This little embryo was growing,” she recalls. “Then I lost the baby. I cried for a week.”
Starting over from scratch “was devastating” and “traumatizing,” but Cora says it ultimately gave her a perspective she wouldn’t have otherwise had. “I honestly think it’s a good thing I got pregnant on the second try.”
While some women wouldn’t choose to welcome two children so close in age, Cora says the timing for Thatcher and Nash’s births was just right.
“We knew we wanted to have four kids,” Cora explains, “She didn’t want to wait, and she got pregnant quickly. After she did, we decided I shouldn’t wait … It would be easier to raise two young babies together, almost as twins. Jennifer could breastfeed for me when I was on the road.”
Theory clashed with reality, however, when Cora returned to work — a time in her life she calls “excruciating” — and handing Nash off to nurse proved harder than she ever imagined.
“I was breastfeeding and loving that deep, deep connection,” she confesses. “I worked from home in Santa Barbara for a few weeks but was back on the road about four weeks after Nash was born. If men were the ones to give birth, maternity leave would be a lot longer. And the population would be a lot smaller.”