Hope for Cancer Patients Who Want To Be Parents
- HGTV’s Tarek El Moussa, 40, and his wife of one year, Selling Sunset’s Heather Rae Young, 34, announced they are pregnant with their first child together.
- Tarek, a two-time survivor, has two children of his own from his first marriage, and did not anticipate conceiving naturally this quickly—or at all—after beating testicular and thyroid cancer.
- Tarek and Heather had said they were undergoing in vitro fertilization in order to enable a future pregnancy. They say they were surprised to conceive naturally!
- A partner’s support is crucial during and after cancer, certainly when it comes to fertility. If there are already issues in the relationship, cancer definitely has a way to magnify them. Conversely, cancer can sometimes help partners grow stronger together, as in this case.
HGTV’s Tarek El Moussa, 40, and his wife of one year, Selling Sunset‘s Heather Rae Young, 34, announced they are pregnant with their first child together.Read More
The stars of the forthcoming The Flipping El Moussas—coming on HGTV in 2023—had went through the IVF process to make sure they could have a child together when they were ready, and cannot believe their good news.
“It was a huge shock,” Heather told PEOPLE exclusively of learning she was pregnant. “We just weren’t expecting this. We had just gone through IVF. We had embryos on ice. We had a plan.”
As most first-time mothers can relate, Heather is witnessing the incredulous changes to her form.
“My body’s changing and I’m obviously not used to certain changes. I see myself naked now and I’m seeing my belly grow and other areas of my body grow,” Heather said.
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“I can’t fit in my bras anymore, I can’t button my jeans. A lot of my clothes I’ve grown out of, and it’s a hard change,” she confessed. “I went from being very tiny, to just seeing my body change and getting used to those changes. And he’s just so positive every day, telling me how beautiful I am and how beautiful my body is.”
Despite the joy of blossoming motherhood, many women understandably go through some insecure moments as they adjust to being pregnant—and that’s perfectly normal and okay.
On a subconscious level, some report that they feel less desirable, but often times, that is absolutely not the case, and Heather made sure to point out how wonderful Tarek has been to support her through first-time pregnancy, saying to “enjoy this time.”
“He’s just been so positive and making me feel so beautiful and special,” she shared. “My girlfriends are like, ‘Just enjoy this. And your body’s going to change and it’s something you can’t control. And that’s why I keep telling myself the most important thing is our baby’s health and growing a healthy baby.”
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Heather explained that when she and Tarek first started dating three years ago, they initially hadn’t planned on having children. “I really love being a bonus mom to [Tarek’s kids] Taylor and Brayden. They’re such incredible kids and I love them so much,” she said. “But as your love grows more and more and you fall deeper in love with someone and you build this life together, I started picturing myself having a child with Tarek. I started thinking I just wanted to create something with the man that I’m in love with.”
Tarek also expressed his excitement over this new chapter, while also acknowledging the special bond that will never be taken away with his first two children.
“I’m just obsessed with my kids,” Tarek said. “They’re my everything, so having another one is just icing on the cake. I’m so excited.”
Adds Heather, “He’s such a good dad. That was another reason why I wanted to create something with him. Seeing him with Taylor and Braden, he’s just so obsessed with them. And he’s such a doting, amazing dad. I can’t wait to see him with our baby.”
Tarek El Moussa’s Cancer Battles
Life took a turn for the worse for Tarek in 2013—four years after he married his ex-wife Christina—when he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Tarek’s thyroid cancer diagnosis came after an HGTV fan, who also happened to be a nurse, noticed a lump on his throat while watching him on television. She contacted the network, telling them what she had seen.
In the same year, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
During a 2017 interview with PEOPLE magazine, Tarek said of the experience: “I was at one building doing my thyroid stuff, and mentioned I was going across the street to get an ultrasound done. I’ll never forget the doctor joking, ‘I hope you don’t have cancer!’”
The treatment path for both types of cancers depends upon the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Common treatments for testicular cancer include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Treatments for thyroid cancer can include surgery, hormone therapy, radioactive iodine, radiation and, in some cases, chemotherapy.
Luckily, El Moussa was given the “all clear” and now shares his story to raise awareness on both diseases, while radiating positivity to those in need.
The Benefit of a Partner’s Support
Your partner can often times make or break your day-to-day life, especially when you’re going through something as serious as cancer, which is an understatement.
“When you get cancer, it’s a really great way to tell if your partner is the love of your life, or a sh**head,” says writer and actress Jill Kargman, who sat down with SurvivorNet to talk life after cancer. “I think if you’re with someone who is not supportive, or kind of emotionally checked out, or doesn’t tell you you’re still beautiful … this might not be your person.”
If there are already issues in the relationship, cancer definitely has a way to magnify them. Conversely, cancer can sometimes help partners grow stronger together.
Even though El Moussa was not married to Young while he went through his battles, the after effects from the experience, as many survivors know, can still be challenging, and support is still crucial as you continue to navigate your “new normal.” Plus, cancer survivors tend to not put up with people or things as easily as they did before because they realize—more than others—that life is short. So let’s all seize the day today!