• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Ready, Set…Mom! Candiace Dillard Bassett’s Unhurried Journey to Motherhood 

Ready, Set…Mom! Candiace Dillard Bassett's Unhurried Journey to Motherhood 

Present. Open. Fun. This is the type of mom Candiace Dillard Bassett, singer, actress and 2013’s Miss USA, tells EBONY she wants to be.

Into the second trimester of her first pregnancy at age 37, Bassett is happy and grateful for the entire experience. During our conversation, she says, “It’s been such a long journey to get here and I’m so sure about where I am right now that everything–even the not-so-great parts–is great.”

Bassett and her husband announced their pregnancy to the world on April 15th, 2024, and for the first time, it hit her that she was about to be a mother. Having wrestled with the thought of motherhood throughout her 20s and early 30s, Bassett wasn’t always sure she wanted to be a mom.  “And that was an identity crisis because I always assumed I would become a mom one day,” she shares. “I thought I’ll be married by 25 and have my first baby at 26, 27. And then, fast forward, I’m living in DC, single and competing for the title of Miss United States at 26.”

Raised in the South, Bassett reminisces on the traditions and examples of marriage and motherhood she witnessed growing up. Her mother and most of her friends were married young, had children, worked a day job, came home and repeated it all over again the next day. She hadn’t seen a mom who’s a recording artist, an actress, or someone who travels often. “How could a child fit into that?” she asked as she thought about her career ambitions and lofty goals. “For a while, I was like, well, wait a minute, what if I don’t wanna be a mom at all?,” she shares.

Exclusive photo: Candiace Dillard Bassett has always been on go and the future shows no signs of her stopping. Image: Rashad Nelson.

But then, Bassett began to meet mothers who were executives, actors and singers, bringing their kids to the studio, on set, or on tour. Recognizing that that can be challenging, Bassett also recognized that everything about parenthood is a challenge; in fact, parenthood is all about figuring out how to overcome challenges. Therefore, the singer and Real Housewives of Potomac star decided to readjust her mindset, trust that she could be both a dynamic woman and great mother and live out her goals and dreams. “I can do this. I’m seeing it be done,” she says.

Married in 2018 to Chris Bassett, a personal/private chef, Bassett was 31 and still found herself not ready to be a mom yet–and it ate at her. “I was having this internal tug-of-war with myself and saying, ‘Are you going to rob yourself of the opportunity to be a mom because you want to enjoy being a wife [first?]’”

After grappling with that question for years, Bassett’s good friend introduced her to a fertility consultant. The consultant told her she could plan her family by freezing her eggs. 

“I think the biggest misconception about egg freezing and IVF is that it is only a procedure that is available to people who are having fertility issues or people who are having challenges getting pregnant naturally…I refer to it as a family planning option,” Bassett explains.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) uses a combination of medicines and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilize an egg outside the body and then implant it into the uterus. Bassett believes it is an option that can help put some of the worries of the ‘biological clock’ to rest and allow women to focus on carrying out their goals.

Mrs. Dillard Bassett glows while cradling her baby bump. Image: Paul Morigi.

While she appreciates the options that IVF has given her (including being able to pick the zodiac sign of her baby), she is outraged by the expenses. For context, it personally cost her and Chris over $30,000 for two rounds, which they are grateful to be able to afford. However, due to the variable factors that affect IVF, some women need more rounds to get pregnant, which means higher expenses.

“That’s outrageous. These are costs that should be covered by our insurance carriers,” Bassett comments. “I am now having preliminary conversations with my local government officials about writing a bill that would make it so that the IVF process is free or heavily discounted.” She goes on, “This is a form of family planning…And it shouldn’t be something that is only afforded to the very, very wealthy.

To women navigating a similar motherhood journey, Bassett passes along encouraging words she received from a friend: “‘By doing this work of going through the injections, extracting eggs, taking all these medications, being on this schedule and going to the doctor every other day, you’re already a good mom because you’re already doing everything in your power to bring forth a healthy, happy, beautiful life.’”

“You are already an amazing mother.”

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