For the past several years, I reflected on, wrestled with, and researched the subject of barrenness – the inability of one’s body to conceive a baby. I did this alone, silently. When asked – as I was easily 100 times – what I, an aspiring author, was writing about, my standard response was: “My book is a work of non-fiction. It’s about a global social issue that requires attention and change.” Full stop. Not once did I reveal the topic. Not once, did I say that I’m barren, too.
It’s been a couple of months since filming my first YouTube video in which I publicly announced my book’s subject matter by reading its Prologue. I share with you modestly that to do so required resolve and courage on my part. Yet, when it was posted and announced to the 300 people who’d expressed interest in my work, I was jubilant! I heaved a huge sigh of relief and waited expectantly for feedback.
Comments took on three forms: those applauding me for tackling such a personal, little understood subject, those offering general congratulations for having finally declared the topic, and those thanking me on behalf of their friends and family members who are also barren. All were genuinely encouraging.
Since then, ripples of change have started. I’ve received an e-mail asking advice on how to support colleagues and family members who are uneasy with speaking about their barrenness. Out of the blue, I’ve crossed paths with other barren women who upon hearing about my book, have spontaneously opened up to me, airing their stories in detail through tears. While walking the beaches here in PEI, I’ve had conversations with four separate women, all of who have close friends that are unable to become pregnant. And, after reading my website and speaking with me, an especially kind neighbour approached her friend who she knew had been barren for a long time. She asked her what it was like when she found out she was unable to have children. Their discussion was extraordinarily cathartic and comforting.
With greater simplicity, I now tell others about my work, my book, and my commitment to raise awareness about how barrenness impacts millions of women and men around the world. With a deepening conviction, I describe my vision for all of us to learn to treat them with the compassion they deserve. All the while, I take delight in knowing that hearts are opening about barrenness and that conversations are beginning!