Lance Bass says it was 'hard not to get discouraged' during his 'difficult' surrogacy journey: 'Am I being told that I should not have kids?'

Lance Bass talks bonding with his twins and going through the surrogacy process. (Photo: Getty)
Lance Bass talks bonding with his twins and going through the surrogacy process. (Photo: Getty)

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of childrearing.

Every phase and stage of parenthood has its highlights, but entrepreneur, former NSYNC member, and twin dad Lance Bass is finding lots to love about raising toddlers with husband Michael Turchin. Violet Betty and Alexander James, who will be 2 in October, have recently started speaking, are “addicted to the pool” and “are huggers now," their proud dad tells Yahoo Life.

“They just reach out to you and just want to hug you and then put their head on your shoulder,” explains Bass, 44. “It's just the best, warmest feeling ever. The first year, they wouldn't give me any love. They never hugged, they never wanted to snuggle, and I was so upset about it. Because they would do that with my mom. My mom would come over and boom, they’d snuggle with her. But now it's official — they’ve become loving kids, and I get hugs all day long.”

He’s also elated that the kids are constantly picking up new words now, in great part thanks to the popular children’s show Ms. Rachel on YouTube.

“My daughter now knows how to say ‘apple,’” says Bass. “And Ms. Rachel is really teaching them all kinds of things. I think we're up to 10 body parts now. They just learned ‘neck’ this week, they've learned ‘face.’ They now know ‘belly button.’ They're obsessed with their belly buttons now. I guess they never realized they had one until they learned the word for it. Anatomy is big for us right now!” They’re also “obsessed with books,” which gives Bass hope that they’ll become “really good readers.”

Even the twins’ “naughty moments” crack him up. “A couple of weeks ago was the first time they got into the garden and just started going crazy with the dirt,” says Bass. “And I looked out there and it was just everywhere. They love digging dirt, and they love pouring it on stuff. And you know, as messy as it was, I couldn’t stop laughing. They were having the best time ever. So now I got them a little one of those little sand pits. They can go and play and it’s still like dirt, but it's a little easier to clean off.”

Bass has been thinking a lot about these “core memories” quite a bit lately as he recently partnered with Gerber Childrenswear for their “Big Little Moments” campaign. The campaign marks the expansion of the brand’s Walmart-exclusive Modern Moments collection, which includes swimwear, travel accessories and nursery décor.

Though he and Turchin are now very much in the weeds of toddlerhood, he acknowledges that their challenging conception journey has made them even more aware of and grateful for small but special moments with their twins.

“Us trying to get pregnant was a difficult time,” says Bass. “It took us three years to finally get these kids. So, yeah, you do appreciate those little moments for sure.”

Over the course of two full rounds of IVF — one of which led to a pregnancy loss six weeks in — and working with 10 egg donors, Bass says it was “hard not to get discouraged.” “There were definitely times where we went to so many different donors, and you start questioning the universe, like, ‘Am I being told that I should not have kids?’” he notes. “But you keep going forward, and the universe gives you what you need when you need it. And I truly believe that because these kids are just so special. I could not imagine these two kids not being my kids.”

He’s also thrilled to stay in touch not only with the surrogate who carried the twins, but their egg donor too. “They're just so lovely, they're angel moms for them,” says Bass. “[The donor] was just so cool and nonchalant, and my son looks exactly like her. It's crazy.”

The star encourages other couples who are going through fertility treatments to be patient, not give up and find their community. “Know that other people are going through the same thing,” he says. “In doing our journey, we met so many couples that went through exactly the same thing that we did. It really relieves a lot of stress.”

These days, the doting dad finds a great deal of support — and stress relief — from his closest friends, who he often hits up for parenting advice. “My besties Jamie-Lynn Sigler and JoAnna Garcia are the best moms ever, and one is parents to only girls and the other parents to only boys,” says Bass, who adds that he feels like each serves as his go-to for questions on Violet or Alexander.

And when it comes to learning the ropes on milestones they’re both contending with, he feels like his friends are the ones who will tell him what “really works.” “Teething was a big thing,” he shares. “I want to know, ‘What are my friends doing? What are the tricks that worked for their kids?’ [Those tricks] might not work for mine, but I want to try them all. And I learned what worked for us: Just chewing on frozen fruit really helped our kids instead of rubbing their gums with numbing medication.”

As the twins continue to grow and their personalities blossom, Bass is owning his family’s unique path.

“Everything is so individual,” says Bass. “You can't freak out like, ‘They haven't met this milestone yet’ or ‘My goodness, this percentage is lower than normal.’ [And if you’re] constantly staring at them [wondering] ‘OK, what could go wrong,’ you’re not really enjoying those great moments.”

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