Fertility struggles are thought to affect around 12% of women under 44 years old
Of this 12%, black women are thought to be nearly twice as likely to struggle than Caucasian women, yet only around 8% of black women speak to their doctor about medically assisted pregnancies. This is compared with 15% of Caucasian women.
There’s little doubt that black women struggle but infertility is all too often a taboo subject in Afro Caribbean communities and families
Fertility issues are rarely spoken about, leaving black women suffering in silence, sometimes even keeping their distress from their partners.
In order for this silence to be broken, it is so important that as many people speak about the subject as possible. It is also incredibly powerful when a celebrity speaks out about their own fertility struggles. It shines a huge spotlight and helps people see that they’re not alone in their struggle. It proves the point that infertility can affect anyone and everyone, regardless of colour or status.
We high five these five incredible black female celebrities who have spoken out about their own fertility struggles:
Michelle recently published her book, Becoming Michelle Obama. In it, she was brutally honest about suffering a miscarriage, the toll of IVF and the reality of marriage counselling. She said “I felt lost and alone, and I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were, because we don’t talk about them. We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken. I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don’t work.”
A rapper in her own right and married to Papoose, Remy has been extremely open about her fertility struggles. She happily became pregnant via a successful cycle of IVF in July 2018.
“When I had a miscarriage in early 2017, it was such a lonely experience. None of my friends had talked about having miscarriages—it’s just not something that’s discussed publicly. And then my husband told me, “Babe, do you think you’re the only woman going through this?” I was like, “Well, no…but still, no one talks about this stuff, at least in my circles.” So I felt like the only one. Black women feel a constant pressure to be superwoman—to be strong. We’re the moms, the best friends, the workers, the backbone of the family. So struggling to naturally have children? That’s a sign of weakness that makes you feel like less than a woman. It’s as much about stigma as it is about pride.”
Tyra might look like she has it all being a supermodel and business woman, but she was amongst the first celebrities to begin the conversation around fertility and struggling to become pregnant, constantly reminding us all that we’re not alone in our TTC struggles.
“Since I was 24, I used to say every year, ‘I will have kids in three years,’ ” she says. “I kept saying it over and over again.” Continues Banks, “When you’re like, ‘OK, I’m just going to do it,’ then it’s not so easy as you get older.” She truthfully explained “I’ve had some not happy moments with that, very traumatic moments.”
Tia was one half of Sister Sister in the 1990s and the actor has been honest and open with her endometriosis and fertility issues for a while now. Her message is that when you don’t see anyone that looks like you, suffering in the same way as you, it makes things even harder and you suffer in silence. This makes it crucial for the conversation lines to be opened up!
“Throughout all of my struggles to get pregnant, I never had issues opening up to my family or friends about what I was going through. In fact, as soon as I learned about my endometriosis, I told my twin sister because I wanted to let her know just in case she’d have to deal with the same thing. (Luckily, she doesn’t have it.) The harder thing for me, to be honest, was sharing my condition with the public. For some reason, as a “celebrity,” people always think your life is perfect. “
Actress Gabrielle has suffered the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages and has said publicly that “for three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant, either about to have IVF, being in the middle of an IVF cycle or coming out of IVF”.
At IVF babble, we are fully committed to the importance of breaking the silence and taboos that surround fertility struggles. For this reason, we are so honoured to be part of the Fertility Show Africa!
This event is the first of its kind on the African continent and we’re super proud to be a sponsor of the Support section to encourage Afro Caribbean communities to start conversations around infertility.
The Fertility Show Africa is being held on 6th – 7th March 2020 at the Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa