GABRIELLE'S CANDIDNESS IN REGARDS TO HER JOURNEY WITH INFERTILITY PROVOKES A CONVERSATION WITH BLACK WOMEN AND INFERTILITY AND WHY WE'RE AT A MUCH HIGHER RISK.
I couldn’t ignore this “Black Girl Magic” moment with Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade’s arrival of their new healthy baby girl. First, I have to send congratulations and blessings to the family, but in any event I wanted to recognize this moment; Not just to celebrate another celebrity having a baby because that’s always a hot topic; but more so because she has been so transparent and candid about her struggles with fertility. For reasons that were unknown, until I took the opportunity to read and look further in this topic, I realized that there were more black women than I realized that struggled with the same adversities. So, for Gabrielle to allow us to see her vulnerabilities’ was refreshing and courageous in my opinion. Especially, being a voice that isn’t often recognized in the black community which can be the gateway for more of our sisters to start having a dialogue on how they feel, and the obstacles they face with the stigma we as the black community place on them.
Infertility among Black women isn’t a topic that is discussed often, due to (in my opinion) the overshadow of the faulty narrative of us having different babies with different men. However, it’s also because we as black people have a habit of brushing things under the rug until it directly affects us. But according to CARDIA Women’s Study black women have reported infertility issues more than our white counterparts. So the fact that Gabrielle was open enough to speak about her person journey and allowed us to see that she didn’t give up or lose hope.
I, for, one can admit that I hadn’t experience any issues in regards to fertility, however I can use my platform to shed light on something that needs to brought to our attention. I’ve heard so many stories from celebrities such as Beyonce to classmates on Facebook; but like it was stated on Black Women Health Imperative (www.bwhi.org)
“Everybody can’t be Beyonce” and affords the ability to go to fertility clinics and that goes for Gabrielle too.
Listen, while there are options we can’t overlook that these options cost and we aren’t talking a little money either. We’re talking about a whole bag “outchea”.
The CARDIA Women’s Study also researched how the scale of income differs between black women versus our white counterparts and it plays a significant role among the infertility of black women; seeing as though we are reported of higher percentage of black women with a lower income. This, putting us at a less advantage to have the affordability to seek options such as IVF and surrogacy, but having more prominent health risk doesn’t help either.
Studies show that black women are more likely to be subject to certain risk factors and disparities that also have an effect such as obesity and fibroids. Gabrielle would fall into the health factor, although it isn’t fibroids, she was however diagnosed with adenomyosis. Adenomyosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow in the muscular walls of the uterus. The displaced tissues continues to act normally thickening and breaking down, causing heavy bleeding during each menstrual cycle and extreme pain. Gabrielle makes note in a panel discussion for BLOGHER that she hadn’t known for years what her condition was and she just remembers taking birth control to for the excessive bleeding and pain. Now, realizing that the birth control was only masking the problem rather them looking more into and finding a resolution, she cautions other women and young girls to not just allow the doctors to mask their struggle.
In an article on bwhi.org, it stated that 96% of black women feel isolated or silenced while trying to conceive, leaving a void where we could be raising awareness that could result in alternative options. This could then open up opportunities to allow more women who don’t have the economic background to finance a surrogacy or IVF to be able to do so. Not only that, but mental and emotional outlet is imperative when it come to feeling inadequate because of societies stigma of women and motherhood.
“Society views motherhood as a natural and inevitable life course.”
Stated in bwhi.org; and I, for, one have to agree after witnessing so many woman get questioned a t a certain age when they going to have children. I believe because of this we should have certain programs in our community that help our sisters unpack these emotions that can weigh on them; let alone having numerous miscarriages. Raising awareness can provoke research and resources because what effects one of us generally affects us all.
All in all, I want my fellow sisters to know that though I may not know the struggle personally I am definitely here to help your voices be heard and try to help put us in the position where you can experience and have the same joys as the Gabrielles’ and Beyonces’. I can only imagine the burdens, insecurities, guilt and frustrations that comes along and if I can be a shoulder, or an ear I’m down for that too because I definitely think you have a testimony that yield results. I’d love to hear more stories like Gabrielle on a scale where it’s our everyday working friends, family or sisters. I hope Gabrielle continues to use her platform to share her journey for black women with infertility and display how there can be acceptance and joy for something that’s a struggle and a miracle all at the same time.
I also would like to establish foundations, grants, and research to help because what effects our black women affect our community. So we don’t always have to wait for society to make something an “epidemic” due to our counterparts raising cane but we can start now!
Congratulations Gabrielle Union, you deserve it!