I am a Black woman and I am infertile. I am not alone. There are many others like me, Black women, who are in the throes of their infertility journey. They are my sisters. They feel the way I felt…scared, hopeless, sad and alone. They don’t know where to turn and they are giving up hope that they will ever realize their dreams of becoming mothers.
There’s a stance for some in the African-American community that looks down upon the “airing of one’s dirty laundry”, which basically means we don’t share intimate details of our lives with others. We don’t put our business on blast. We are told to keep quiet, straighten our backs and keep it moving. We’re supposed to be strong black women, right?
Well where does that leave the Black woman who is challenged with infertility? Is she weak because she cries herself to sleep every night because of her inability to get pregnant? Is she strong because she suffers in silence and doesn’t share her pain with her loved ones?
I was faced with those very questions during my infertility crisis and I didn’t know where to turn. And forget about finding a plethora of online places of support for women who looked like me…black women. They were few and far between. I was so thankful for sites like fertilityforcoloredgirls and thebrokenbrownegg. They offered me a mirror. I saw women, black women, who like me, were doing their best to work through the murky waters that infertility can be.
Because I knew, firsthand, the depths of despair that a diagnosis of infertility can take you, I wanted to do something. I wanted to reach out to my sisters and let them know that they were not alone. I needed them to know that it was ok for them to feel scared and unsure. It was imperative to me that they knew that they could and should speak up about their infertility. Because by doing so, they could set themselves free from its grasp. Forget about this “airing of dirty laundry” business. There is nothing dirty about infertility and I was determined to change that.
And I am doing just that.
In 2015, I partnered with Resolve: The National Infertility Association as an Ambassador. My role was to educate, support and encourage those faced with the challenge of infertility. It continues to be a cause dear to my heart. My main focus is on the African-American community as I personally feel we need more of a voice and a presence when it comes to this disease. Not just in our country, but in our families and inner circles. Too many of us are suffering in silence, unaware that there is help and options out there for us. Resolve was a beacon of light for me during my infertility journey and I hope that, together, we can be that beacon of light for other African-American women who may be suffering with infertility.
I realized my dream of motherhood in 2013 after suffering for six long years with infertility. My husband and I powerfully chose to build our family with the use of anonymous egg donor. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was and is the best choice we’ve ever made. Our twins sons are the loves of our lives and we are thrilled that we get to be their parents. Though my journey was fraught was so many emotions, I wouldn’t change a thing about it because it brought me to my sons. It is my honor to share our story with other African-American women and couples dealing with a similar path.
April 24-30 2016 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Help spread the message with #StartAsking.
For additional support, please visit www.resolve.org.
Do you know any black women with infertility?
Tomiko Fraser Hines is a mother, wife, model, actress, and motivational speaker. When faced with infertility, Tomiko chose to share her story openly and honestly with the public. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she currently resides in Los Angeles—where she plays her most passionate role yet—mother to twins Kaden and Bryce and wife to her husband Chris.