The Essence of My Infertility and Surrogacy

I made a New Year’s resolution that I would leave some gas in the tank for the writing and management of my own blog. This is my first post of 2013, and we’re more than halfway through the month of February. Is this a resolution failure? Methinks not. You have to start a resolution in the first place before you can fail at it. Consider this my Day 1. My goal is to write at least once per week, even if I’m merely griping about the lack of chocolate cake and cookies in my diet.

But today is not a day for gripes.

essencemag

This is the March 2013 issue of Essence magazine, which hit the newsstands over a week ago. I am one of three women profiled in an article about infertility in the African-American community. To say that this was a great honor is an understatement; Essence reaches an audience wider than I ever could on this little, understated blog of mine.

My motive wasn’t to attract an audience, though. There wasn’t even a link to this blog included. It was my hope, though, that it would create a dialogue. In its own small ways, I think it’s done exactly that.

I rushed to share the word about it among my friends on Facebook. I didn’t, however, take my copy of the magazine and flash it around at work. A couple of days after the issue came out, a coworker called me at home practically shouting her excitement when she flipped through her mail-delivered subscription and came across Frank’s and my faces. The next morning, she’d scanned my portion of the article and emailed it out to the entire school before my car even hit the parking lot.

I’m at a new school this year, and most of the staff there knew nothing of my surrogacy or infertility experience. The article opened up a floodgate of conversation. I know how prevalent infertility and loss is and also how often people keep it to themselves. I have almost always found my infertility community circles online…people geographically scattered and far-flung, brought closer not through cars and highways, but rather through computers and cyberspace. The statistic that 1 out of every 8 couples is affected by infertility dictates the logic that at least some of the people I pass in the halls everyday have a history with it. Still, it never fails to amaze me when someone I know personally looks me in the eye with that knowing weight and says, “Me, too.”

Five. Before the day was over, five coworkers opened up and said that they either had infertility troubles in the past or were currently going through them. One learned at the age of 13 that she would never carry due to a congenital defect. One has been trying to conceive her first for the past five years. One is experiencing secondary infertility in her quest for a second baby. Another, who has two grown daughters, recounted the devastation of the miscarriage of her first pregnancy more than 25 years ago. It made me aware, once again, of how there might be hidden support systems all around us even when we feel small and misunderstood and alone.

It is this perceived disconnect that I hoped this article would help alleviate, if not for me and the people around me, then maybe for a woman somewhere that I didn’t know. Maybe she’d read the article, talk about it, and discover her own hidden system of support.

A second result, one that I didn’t anticipate, was that the positive feedback I’ve received has been like a salve in a tender place of hurt. I didn’t do surrogacy with the intent to be put upon a pedestal and praised, but I did want to know that what I did would always be appreciated. Openly. Well, that’s not exactly right, either. I’ve never needed–or even wanted–red carpets and fanfare. Knowing that I wouldn’t one day be considered the skeleton to keep in the closet? Well, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

It was difficult not to let the reframing of the relationship with my former intended parents diminish my view of what I was able to accomplish overall. I felt like the pride I held in my accomplishment couldn’t shine as brightly just because to some extent, my role was made to be an Unspeakable.

Well, I am speaking. I can tell my story, be proud of it, and still maintain the subtle distinction between privacy and secrecy. Readers of the article–whether affected by infertility or not–have expressed gratitude for my having been a surrogate. I didn’t expect that the response from this article would work to fill a void that I’d convinced myself didn’t need to be filled; the simple act of showing unabashed appreciation–even if it throws me off-balance and I humbly try to bat it away–reassure me that it still matters to someone.

People matter. It’s why we click through and tap into each others’ stories, struggles, triumphs, and celebrations. I resolved my infertility, expanded the fight beyond myself, and then wrote about all of it because others still in the trenches mattered to me.

Letting people know that they matter to you, and in turn, knowing that you matter to others is one of the greatest gifts to give and receive.

Because isn’t that, my friends, the essence of why we’re all here?

21 Comments

  1. Miss W on February 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    You, my friend, are beautiful and this post has me crying happy tears for you. I am so very grateful to have you in my life. <3



    • Kymberli aka JW Moxie on February 18, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      Love back to you, K. I’m grateful for you, too. xoxo



  2. Julia Roberts on February 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Sharing our stories is always a way to help ourselves and in turn others. Thank you for sharing your story…I’m glad the people who’ve connected with you have your stroy to draw strength from, you are awesome and for sure sexy.



    • Kymberli aka JW Moxie on February 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      You’re awesome, too, Julia.

      And sexy. Definitely sexy. 😉



  3. Jenna on February 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    “It is this perceived disconnect that I hoped this article would help alleviate, if not for me and the people around me, then maybe for a woman somewhere that I didn’t know. Maybe she’d read the article, talk about it, and discover her own hidden system of support.”

    Such a fab point.

    Thank you for sharing your story.



  4. Esperanza on February 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    Good for you for speaking about it. I think that is awesome. And I love to hear about all the people who spoke to you about their stories because of it. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I can’t wait to pick up my own copy soonn



  5. Alexicographer on February 18, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    This is wonderful. And woohoo! You and Frank are famous 😉 !

    Congratulations, Kym. You do good things.



  6. Jenn on February 18, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I have been finding that as I speak about my experiences even if it is just a passing anecdote about the kids (and how each came to be in very very different circumstances) I find more and more women that have some experience to share. I have had the honor of meeting 2 of my internet support friends in person- and while this venue will always be my most open and bare means of communication and support- showing my face- so to speak- is rewarding in ways I never dreamed of when in the trenches.
    I am so so proud of you!



  7. luna on February 18, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    you are so fabulous! now millions of other people know that too.
    how wonderful that you instigated such important dialogue among your coworkers. I think so many of us are just waiting to share our stories, you know? so many people just waiting to be heard, to be seen.
    xo



  8. Baby Smiling In Back Seat on February 19, 2013 at 2:50 am

    “Still, it never fails to amaze me when someone I know personally looks me in the eye with that knowing weight and says, “Me, too.””

    You know what never fails to amaze me? You.

    (Note to Frank: C’mon, Kym perceives a lack of cookies in her diet? Time to get out your Big Ones.)



  9. a on February 19, 2013 at 11:40 am

    You’re famous! It’s no big surprise that you are an open advocate for discussion of infertility and related issues. Congrats on connecting with even more people!



  10. Jo on February 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    I can’t tell you how excited I was to see a post in my reader from you. You were one of the first blogs I ever read, and such an inspiration when I first began writing. You continue to have insights that rock my world (emotional infertility anyone?) I miss your particular brand of genius, and I am so glad you are getting a little local love. Just don’t forget to pop in every so often and spread that love around! We have missed you!!!!!



  11. Sara on February 19, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Rock on, Beautiful! You’re still my (super)hero!



  12. Lori Lavender Luz on February 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Yeah, Frank. More Big Ones (riffing on BabySmiling).

    So very proud of you and inspired by your bravery, your authenticity.

    You’ve made me wonder now. I feel surrounded by kindred spirits online but I feel very unique IRL. I wonder how many people I pass by in the halls of the buildings I walk would also say, “me, too” if they knew it about me?



  13. Justine on February 19, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    You are one of my superheroes, too. 🙂 I’m so proud of you for doing this, for giving the gift of your story, but also the gift of mattering … to so many people.

    You’ve inspired me more than you know.



  14. Aymara on February 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    It’s funny how people don’t talk about it until someone makes it ok. Thanks for making it ok!

    eye-of-arms.blogspot.com



  15. JJ on February 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    SO proud of you! xoxo



  16. loribeth on March 1, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Congratulations!! — well deserved recognition! (And a great photo of you & Frank, too!)



  17. Kayla on March 3, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Wow – way to create a dialogue by massively opening up and sharing your experience, brave effort!



  18. […] be a guest on an up-and-coming radio talk show called Women Are Worthy. The host, Jacqlyn Charles read about me in Essence and tracked me down. Mrs. Charles is a strong believer in uniting women and empowering them […]