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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New York City

Jessel Taank Has Emotional Conversation with Mom About Secret Struggles with Fertility, IVF

"Those topics are so taboo and so stigmatized," Jessel told The Daily Dish in an interview about the moment when she sat down to talk to her mother about her journey to get pregnant.

By Caitlin Schunn

Jessel Taank and her husband, Pavit Randhawa, went through a long, difficult journey to become parents to their twins, Rio and Kai. The boys were conceived using in vitro fertilization (IVF), a medical procedure thousands of women in the U.S. have undergone and understand.

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But while some people share that journey with family, Jessel and Pavit kept their fertility struggles a secret — until Jessel finally opened up to her mother about what she went through in Season 14, Episode 7 of The Real Housewives of New York City.

Jessel doesn’t believe she’s alone in keeping her fertility troubles quiet.

“I think a lot of girls don’t [share], and I just want to voice it, just to kind of share,” she said in an interview with Bravo’s The Daily Dish. “I want to normalize it. That’s, I guess, the goal here.”

Why did Jessel wait to tell her parents about IVF?

Jessel first shared why her family was in the dark about her fertility journey as she and the other Housewives were at dinner in the Hamptons.

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“Indian culture, like, if you can’t have children, it’s such a taboo,” Jessel said to the ‘Wives. “I just wanted to keep it to myself.”

Jessel further explained how her culture — and her relationship with her parents — is very “private.”

“They’re introverted when it comes to these conversations” Jessel said in an interview with The Daily Dish. “I mean, growing up, I never spoke about sex with my parents. I never spoke about, you know, dating.”

Jessel Taank Children Update

But by Episode 7, Pavit and Jessel had started to talk about having a third child from the embryos they had stored from IVF, prompting Pavit to tell her she needed to tell her mother before they had another child.

I don’t think you understand how traumatizing those two years were,” Jessel said to Pavit while the two were out at dinner. “To want something so bad and to have everyone ask you like, ‘When are you going to get pregnant?’ And it’s not working. I couldn’t talk about it to people.”

Still, Pavit argued with Jessel that her mother deserved to know the truth.

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“I think sharing IVF is very important for Jessel’s sanity, to talk about things with someone, but also from the worrying perspective of her mother,” Pavit said on RHONY. “I don’t want her mom finding out through someone else.”

Jessel talks with her mom about IVF.

Jessel finally sat down to a meal with her mother to tell her about IVF in Episode 7.

“It took me a really long time to get pregnant,” Jessel told her mother, Nilam. “I started naturally, and it wasn’t working. So, my doctor suggested IVF. I was not crazy about the idea, but what was I going to do? I was 36 at this point. It was my only option.”

Jessel Taank poses at the Neveer Have I Ever reception.

Jessel went on to describe how she and Pavit did two rounds of IVF, and neither of them worked.

“At that point I was like f--k, now we’re 50 grand in, still no baby, and this is also like six months of injections and hormones,” she told her mother. “The hormones are awful. You have to inject yourself in your stomach every night for two weeks. So, imagine me telling you all this stuff…”

It was at this point that Nilam interrupted to say she “would have taken the next flight.”

“I know you would have,” Jessel replied. “You would have been amazing. The thing is, it was very tough to talk about this stuff because in our culture for some reason, if I had made it public knowledge, what do you think the response would have been?”

Nilam acknowledged the answer would have been “a lot of gossip,” but later added, “it would have been nice if you had spoken to me, and said to me, ‘Hey, Mom.’”

But Jessel said that while she knew her mom would have supported her, it wasn’t as simple as that.

“Talking to my mum was so — I knew she would understand. She would be so wonderful,” Jessel said in an interview with The Daily Dish. “I just know that my family went through so much and I think a lot of me trying to protect them was not to add things to their plate, too.”

By the end of the meal, Nilam told Jessel she was glad she opened up and told her about her struggles to get pregnant.

“It’s been really hard to not talk about it with her, and I needed to get it off my chest,” Jessel said on RHONY. “And especially now, since we’re thinking of baby number three, I would really love for her to be by my side as I go through the next stage of my journey.”

Watch new episodes of The Real Housewives of New York City on Bravo Sundays at 9/8c and the next day on Peacock.

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