Failed IVF and the taboo of infertility stories don’t often take center stage.
That is until Anything You Lose documentary filmmaker Irina Vodar decided to tackle the taboo head on. Irina kicked off a new video series, Infertility Tales, to shed light on this complex topic. You can learn more, watch and subscribe from Episode 1 here.
Our work on The Cycle Forum was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Irina and I joined a handful of women to discuss our failed IVF experiences and the painful aftershocks. Ahead of our discussion we each stood alone on a New York City stage. Under a spotlight we told our stories.
Below is a link to my stage debut, viewable for the first time online via Infertility Tales:
Documentary Filmmaker Tackles Taboo
As Irina explains on her YouTube channel:
“Infertility is rarely spoken about in public. Like other areas of human reproduction, it is certainly not considered a topic of “polite conversation” for many people, including couples who have received a diagnosis, are undergoing rounds of fertility treatments, or who have decided to pursue other solutions or directions in their lives.
“For this reason, when a group of women came together to discuss their experiences with infertility in public at The Cycle Forum, the gathering was subtitled “Living a Taboo”
“Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos was one of the first brave women of ‘Generation IVF’ to publicly speak about the profound effect infertility had on her and her husband’s lives. Bravery was clearly necessary to break the taboo, though, when her story was published in a New York Times article. the backlash was strong and immediate. It was amplified by the speed of the internet and the Times’ online comment section. While she was prepared for the physical and financial demands that fertility treatments required, emotional and social challenges and her own expectations were a surprise.”
Fellowship and Community
As my talk makes clear, failed IVF and the backlash that accompanied my infertility disclosure in The New York Times cut deeply. While the emotional tsunami that followed threatened to overwhelm me, I also experienced an unexpected kind embrace. This embrace and warm support came from women who had walked in my shoes.
As part of our work on The Cycle Forum, Irina and I had the privilege of working with Dr. Marni Rosner, Miriam Zoll, Tracey (Cleantis) Dwyer, Jennifer Wolff Perrine and Sonia Daly. I also had the good fortune of meeting and befriending courageous, resilient women in the audience that night: Sarah Chamberlin and Cathy Broadwell.
Also, check out the links above to get a much greater sense of the gravity of failed IVF and infertility’s impact. Our collective work not only raises awareness, it enables healing.
Welcome your thoughts as always.