You may not have known it, but this week marks National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s a time to take the stigma out of talking about the struggles women go through in their hopes of expanding their families. Thankfully, more and more people are coming out with their stories, including those of fame and prestige, to help other women not feel so alone. In commemoration of this very important week, we gathered up some of the testimonies of well-known women of color who opened up about the barriers they faced in their attempts to have children. And for the record, there are levels to infertility. The medical definition of it is not getting pregnant despite having timed, unprotected sex for at least a year. It isn’t a permanent thing in every case, and there is even secondary infertility, which is the inability to conceive a second or future child. So now that that’s clear, and some of the sting is removed from the “infertility,” check out some of the honest stories these famous women shared about their experiences with infertility, by hitting the flip.
In an essay for Women’s Health in 2018, Kenya Moore talked about how she went from struggling with painful fibroids in her 30s, and having multiple surgeries to deal with them, to finding herself struggling when she wanted to start having kids.
“My doctors never told me that the procedures could affect my fertility one day,” she said. “It wasn’t until after a few surgeries and having to go back to get another fibroid removed—this time I had one the size of a full-term baby—that someone finally said something. It was actually one of my nurse practitioners who told me, ‘At some point, your uterus will not recover from all of this.'”
She was eventually able, through IVF, to conceive her daughter, Brooklyn.
“If I could tell Black women anything, it would be: Listen to your body,” she added. “If something doesn’t feel right, do not be afraid to go see a doctor or a specialist. Living with a problem is never the answer. That’s what I did with my fibroids. There I was, walking around with growths in my uterus, and I had no idea. And that could have affected my prospects of carrying a baby. I’d also say that if you do run into struggles, don’t give up. IVF, egg freezing, surrogates, adoption—it can all sound overwhelming and expensive. But there are ways to find the funds, from financing to loans. So don’t panic. There are always options.”