They may not talk openly about it, but it’s likely that someone you know — work with, spend time with, a woman in your family — has struggled with infertility. This author can relate because I’ve been there. Fibroids and endometriosis were wreaking havoc within my body for years, and I didn’t know until I attempted to conceive after getting married and struggled, even miscarrying. I also didn’t know because I wasn’t informed until years later that fibroids run in my family. That lack of discussion about our experiences, mothers and daughters, friends and colleagues, is what Sheinelle Jones of NBC News is looking to change with her upcoming documentary, Stories We Tell: The Fertility Secret.
“Some women deal with pain for decades or they’ve had surgeries with no idea that what they’re dealing with could ultimately affect their fertility,” Jones said this week on an episode of TODAY when sharing a first look at the project, premiering December 19. She is the executive producer alongside Andre Gaines, who is also directing it. “Many women as you know are getting married later in life, are staying single but still want to have a family so it’s our hope that by sharing we can start to lift a veil on these topics, to empower anyone who may feel isolated and educate women and men, too. I really hope we will start a conversation.”
The project touches on infertility through the miscarriages, health challenges, IVF experiences, surrogacy journeys and more of women of color. Those stories are told through the women in Jones’s life whom she realized were quietly all going through similar things due to how painful and isolating it can all be.
“It’s not something we talk about,” Jones said. “If they get married finally, and then start to struggle, they don’t talk about it. These women are going to work, they’re sitting next to you at work, they’re sitting next to you at church, in the gym, and you have no idea they’re carrying this painful secret.”
The hope is to get people talking about the topic, making it less taboo. Perhaps it will get people not dealing with fertility issues to understand the importance of not prying about when others will have kids and why they haven’t. But most importantly, the aim is that it will help women not feel alone in their hopeful journey to motherhood.
Check out a sneak peek of the documentary, premiering at 10 p.m. EST on MSNBC December 19.