As the first week of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month comes to a close this year, I wanted to share with you what I’ve been reading in real time as it relates to infertility.
This week I picked up the audio book We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union. It had been on my list to read for months and finally a copy became available through my local library (yay for free education!).
Months ago I learned that she divulged information about her fertility struggle within those pages and I was determined to get my hands on a digital copy and listen to what she had to say. When I got an email on Sunday that it was my turn to check out the book, I jumped on it.
Other than recognizing her name and remembering she acted in a few of my favorite movies from when I was a kid, I really didn’t know much about her. I listened through stories of her childhood, her family, a sexual assault she endured in her late teens, her early acting career, and her first marriage before she dedicated time to talking about her experience with IVF. From the stories of her past I thought her tenacity and grit would make fertility struggles seem like small peanuts.
What did I learn? No matter how much money, fame, fortune, or luck any of us have, the experience of assisted reproductive technology is a gauntlet of emotion for anyone who goes through it. While being raised to celebrity status puts more attention and focus on your life, Gabrielle went through the same self-defeating thoughts and intense negative emotions that I experienced. Really, I think anyone that has gone through IVF has probably had similar thoughts.
She talked about the expectations she felt from the world around her for her to get pregnant and the overwhelming pressure to conceive. She describes a time she went to the emergency room for a non-pregnancy related issue and was asked repeatedly by members of the medical staff if she was pregnant. I can remember so clearly experiences from my own life where that question would cut me to the core. Gabrielle was no different.
There is something oddly comforting about knowing that even though our lives are no where near similar, we share the commonality of the emotions the experience of infertility brings up. It sucks and it is hard no matter who you are. Thank you, Gabrielle, for sharing that part of your story. Millions of women are nodding along with you. We get it.
What are you reading this week in the world of infertility? Email me and tell me about it. I love recommendations.