The Truth About Trying

I wanted to produce one of my brilliantly-written, flowing posts when the time came for me to share with you a campaign to which I contributed. However, a stomach flu just struck kid #2, as evidenced by the puke on my foot and all over the floor and walls in my bathroom. So, I’ll have to settle for the point-blank details. Ultimately, what matters more is the importance of the message, and not so much how it is delivered.

RESOLVE – The National Infertility Association has joined in partnership with Redbook to launch The Truth About Trying campaign. The goal is end the secrecy and shame that keeps infertile men, women, and couples from sharing their experiences. Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples, so there is a likelihood that you or someone you know has or will deal with infertility at some point in their lives.

Case in point – you know me (even if only through the screen on your computer), so you know someone who has battled with infertility. My fight may not have been nearly as long or as difficult as what others have had to endure, but I’ve donned boxing gloves for myself and for others as a gestational surrogate. However, for every one person who, like me, is open about their struggles, there are several others who feel like they are all alone and are afraid or ashamed to speak up and out about it.

No one should have to hide or feel ashamed, and much of this desire for secrecy comes from how little is known by the general public about the emotional, physical, and financial toll that infertility can take on those who suffer from it. No two people will be affected in exactly the same ways, but by sharing personal truths, infertile people can find common threads that can bind everyone together in a blanket of support and understanding.

This is the idea that is at the heart of the Truth About Trying campaign. Women, men, and couples – some of whom are celebrities and some of whom are everyday people – recorded short videos about their infertility journeys which began with the prompt “I wish I’d known….” These videos show some of the many facets of infertility and were used to kick off the campaign, which launched just last night.

At the urging of my friend Keiko Zoll, who is a powerful advocate, change-agent, and the Director of Communications for RESOLVE of New England, I recorded and submitted a video. In the past years, I’ve spoken a lot here about how infertility has affected me specifically and also about infertility in the broad sense (see the “Baby ART” tab above). I’ve never really addressed it from the angle of how it has affected me as an African-American woman, and I haven’t discussed how there are cultural differences which unfortunately discourage many African-American woman who need help from seeking it. This is the point that I tried to punch in my video:

(By the way, a fabulous resource for all women, but especially African-American women who are experiencing infertility is, which is the personal blog and non-profit organization which was created by my girl Mrs. Tiye. Definitely stop in on her blog or add her to your Twitter feed. She is uplifting, motivational, and tells it like it is. (I love her, what she does, and how she does it.)

How can you participate in this campaign?

  • You can record your own story and upload it to Redbook’s Truth About Trying YouTube Channel.
  • Join Redbook and RESOLVE today (Oct. 18,2011) from 2-3pm EST on Twitter to discuss the #TruthAboutTrying. Keiko will be moderating the discussion. I hope to see you there.Even if you aren’t personally affected by infertility, please consider sharing the news about this campaign on behalf of those around you who might be. You never know – this may be just the prompt they need to open up to you about their struggles. It may also give you some insight to better support them.

22 thoughts on “The Truth About Trying”

  1. I thought your video was amazing!! And you look good, too, btw. I’m glad you asked the question “Why don’t African Americans seek help?” I’ve often wondered the same thing. The patients at my clinic seemed to consist almost completely of upper middle class, heterosexual, white couples over 40. My husband and I are white, but when we started this journey we weren’t middle class, and we were young. I always thought “I know infertility hits everyone the same, where are everyone else?” Since we began our journey 10 years ago, I have seen more same sex couples, younger people, and people who aren’t obviously rolling in dough…but still no people of color. (yes, I’m still here 10 years later, trying to conceive kid #4).

    I wish I’d known that my giant fibroid could prevent me from getting pregnant. When we discovered it, we were already seeking treatment because of my husband’s wonky sperm. The RE and my crotch doc both said “It isn’t in the cavity, it shouldn’t cause any problems.”. But it did, and we threw away 2 IVF cycles because of it. Four out of the five transfers since I had it removed have resulted in a pregnancy. (one resulted in a miscarriage, and another in a chemical, but still, those embryos implanted). I have since learned that fibroids, even small ones not in the uterine cavity, can prevent embryo implantation…kind of like an IUD. So, if anyone out there has fibroids, get them removed before you do anything else!

    You are incredibly generous to be a surrogate! You rock!!

    1. Thanks for watching (and for not saying that I look like a dork)!

      It’s funny (not haha funny, but coincidental funny) that you mention your fibroids and my surrogacy, because the IM in my last (failed) match needed a surrogate in part because of her fibroids. She had a doctor who told her the same thing that your first doctor did. She conceived naturally, but the fibroid grew to the extent that the bigger the baby grew, that’s the more it interfered with the safety of her pregnancy. Sadly, she went into PTL and delivered her son prematurely at 20 weeks, and he passed away not too much longer after delivery. πŸ™

      That’s not to scare you at all – you had your fibroids removed, and that’s what’s important. Under the advice of a different doctor, when they were ready to conceive again, she had all of her fibroids removed and then should have been all clear to try again (after a few months of recovery time). However, while in the hospital recovering right after surgery, she had a some type of freak occurrence reaction to the surgery which caused some internal bleeding and her heart to go all haywire – there’s a technical term for it which I’ve forgotten. It’s extremely rare, but because it happened once, the chances were high that it would happen again if she had another surgery. Given the fact that she would NEED to have a c-section to deliver, well – it just made more sense to move to surrogacy and not jeopardize her life by carrying a high-risk pregnancy and then taking the chance that her body wouldn’t react similarly when she had the c-section.

      I think that you should record a video of your own and tell your “I wish I’d known…” story! Fibroids are such a common cause of infertility, yet there are so many women who don’t fully understand all of the implications.

      I’m wishing you all the luck in the world, and I’ll be following along, girl! πŸ™‚

  2. I LOVE that you are so honest and candid about your struggle. I wish I knew what it is about women that we feel the need to be prefect in the eyes of others. It keeps us shouldering the burden of so many obstacles in the world that if we could just go to others, they would share our burden and lift us up with their strength and support.
    YOu are amazing ( and a little bit gangsta) and I love that about you. Thank you for sharing. XO

    1. “…if we could just go to others, they would share our burden and lift us up with their strength and support.”

      Exactly that. Thank YOU for being one of those pillars of support. I haven’t “known” you for very long yet, but I can tell already that you are one who is quick to lend an ear or a shoulder to those around you who need it. My first impressions of people are usually spot on the money, too. xoxo back to you, and I hope you’re feeling a bit better! If not, may the drugs keep you happy, at least. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks so much! I don’t know what was going on with my lopsided eyebrow and crooked lip, but at least I got ‘er done and got my message across. Thanks for watching!

    1. All four went to school today, thank heavens, but now I’m feeling a little woozy in the brainparts. If I’m going to get sick, I hope it waits until the weekend to crash in. Thanks for watching, Amelia!

      How’s the beaner making you feel these days? πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Lori. I think my last line truly underscores the purpose of the entire campaign; if we dissolve the veil of secrecy that surrounds infertility, we empower ourselves and each other.

  3. This was honest and straightforward and very brave.
    I got completely sucked in by the stories of these women, by your story (oh my!).

    I am inspired by the generosity of so many who freely share their struggles, their pain, their failures alongside their success.

    Bravo, my friend.
    An important message here for all.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I really hope that more women and men are able to find the courage to share their stories. The more we talk, the more we help others. xoxo

  4. I was there in the tweetchat. I don’t think I shook the coconut tree, but I was there.

    Hope the kids get well soon. Don’t your walls clean themselves? πŸ˜‰

    1. I wish my laundry AND my walls cleaned themselves.

      I think there were lots of people there watching and reading along. I thought I saw your name pop up at one point, because I distinctly remember wondering what time it was on your side of the world and whether or not you made a point to stay up late just so that you could participate. If you didn’t actually send a Tweet, maybe somehow I cosmically felt your presence and knew that you and Season were there just the same. πŸ™‚ xoxoxo

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