Amy Taylor talks work, triplets, weight loss and her stint in soap operas
Amy Taylor is a night owl who's excelled in a career based on early mornings, the mother of triplets despite infertility and a diligent practitioner of health and fitness after years of evading self care. And she's willing to talk about all of it. Openly.
Taylor, who has been in Milwaukee television and radio for two decades, grew up in a Chicago suburb, received an English degree from the University of California-Los Angeles and decided to give acting a whirl. Despite the stiff competition, Taylor had initial success and landed roles in two soap operas, "The Young and the Restless" and "The Bold and the Beautiful."
"I got insanely uncomfortable with making out with people I didn't know – I just couldn't do it – and so I gave up and moved back to Chicago," says Taylor.
Her father, Jack Taylor, is a famous anchorman in Chicago who spent 50 years on WGN. He repeatedly offered to help her start a career in broadcasting because with her intelligence, sharp wit and all-American good looks, he knew she was a natural fit for television news. However, Taylor wanted to find her own niche, and it took years for her to accept his offer.
Eventually, Taylor accepted a position at a small radio station in Merrillville, Indiana. This was the beginning of attempting to come to terms with early mornings.
"Waking up is torture for me. I'm in a state of hell during the first 45 minutes of waking up. And yet I built a career around morning programs – that's pretty funny to me," says Taylor.
Taylor later landed a radio gig in Waukegan and then moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for a television reporter position.
"It was a humbling experience; I pretty much walked around in cow dung and waded through flood water," she says.
After freelancing for CNN and attending a year of law school at Loyola University, Taylor accepted a job offer in Milwaukee as a morning anchor on WTMJ. She later became a guest on WTMJ's FM station, WKTI, with popular morning show hosts Bob Reitman and Gene Mueller. She was eventually invited to join the show full time.
"I felt a little guilty because their show was an institution and I was sliding into a very established thing, but the guys made it clear having a female voice was important to them and so I did it for four years," says Taylor. "It was a blast. I loved every minute of it."
Meanwhile, Taylor's personal life evolved. She met and married her husband, Jason, and they tried to start a family. After a couple years of frustration, with the blessing of the radio station, Taylor started to share her fertility struggles on air which were particularly well-received by female listeners.
"Today I would be even more open about my situation because I know how positively it affected people. I still have women coming up to me today and telling me they went through the same thing and how much they appreciated that I talked about it on the radio," says Taylor.
Taylor also learned that sharing her story made her feel better about the situation.
"I realized how much it hurts to carry a burden," she says. "If you don't talk about things that bother you, they only get worse and worse. When I started to speak openly and honestly, I felt so much lighter."
Taylor says she went through a depression during her infertility, but her brother had a conversation with her that made her find peace in alternative routes to parenthood.
"One day I didn't think I could get out of bed and my brother said, 'Amy do you really think being a parent is about giving birth to a child or do you think being a parent means going to a scared child in the middle of the night or making them eat vegetables or asking them to give you a hug?' I finally got it and I realized being a mom doesn't mean having a blood relationship with someone," she says. "And once I understood that, I was comfortable with however I became a parent."
In 2003, Taylor became pregnant with triplets after a round of in vitro fertilization. Even though the doctor implanted only two eggs, Taylor delivered three little girls – two identical twins and one fraternal – weighing in at about three pounds each.
Taylor took off six months from her job after the girls – named Tess, Jillian and Chloe – were born. She says she slept very little during this time but still felt overjoyed that she had three healthy children.
"As an older mother, I had fulfilled my hopes and dreams for myself and I wanted this so much," she says. "And I know it doesn't end up this way for everyone. We were very, very lucky."
However, Taylor also acknowledged the difficult aspects of parenting multiples.
"With triplets – even if you have a spouse – you're always outnumbered and everything gets complicated: safety, attention, competition for resources," she says. "I didn't use leashes because I was too afraid of the pubic scorn, but in retrospect I think it's a really good idea."
Taylor returned to work full time for three years, but eventually decided to spend more time raising her daughters, who are now 13. Currently, Taylor fills in on "The Morning Blend" and various radio stations. She also does voice work, production projects and research.
Taylor has served on the board of First Stage Children's Theater for 10 years and has volunteered for the American Cancer Society, Milwaukee Ballet and at her daughters' school.
"Being involved in the community is extremely important to me and allows me to show my girls that life is not just about you, it's about giving back to others," she says.
Last September, Taylor – who had turned 50 – took a major step in her life and decided to get healthier.
"What led up to this decision? Basically I was getting fatter and fatter," she says.
Taylor was experiencing joint pain and acid reflux – as well as not feeling good about the size of her body – and decided it was time to improve her life as well as model a healthier lifestyle for her daughters.
She reached out to a friend who introduced her to a fitness routine, online support group and the Beach Body Diet. Taylor has lost 40 pounds to date.
"I feel so much better," she says. "The name of the diet is ridiculous, but it really works for me and the company is amazing. I've learned a lot about fitness, portion control and that it turns out I'm not French and I don't need to drink wine every day to live."
Best of all, Taylor says she has no physical complications anymore and her mental health and energy levels are better than ever.
"My daughters have been so supportive of me and seeing them this encouraging really inspires me," she says. "Plus, I am finally making myself a priority, something I want them to do for themselves someday, too. It's often tough for women to do this, but it's so necessary."
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