In the United States, about 6.7 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 are dealing with infertility, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With infertility, a couple has not become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse (primary infertility) or they have become pregnant at least once, but not again (secondary infertility).
Infertility can have a large emotional impact on the couple, and they may feel they are alone in their struggle. EmpowHER talked to Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s series Pregnant in Heels and author of the new book Mommy IQ about her experience with infertility, why the topic is taboo, and what she is doing to change that.
You have been open about your infertility issues on your show Pregnant in Heels. Why did you decide to be an advocate for fertility issues?
Dealing with infertility is so hard because it feels like such a personal thing, but most people don’t know how common it is – one in eight couples experiences fertility issues. I think that by de-stigmatizing infertility, the treatments and the steps you may have to take to get pregnant (e.g. IVF), it can help make things seem less scary and overwhelming.
That’s why I felt that it was important for me to share my story. Talking about the issue also gets to the root of the emotional elements, which were the most difficult part of infertility for me. When I learned about the process with my reproductive endocrinologist and started following the actual day to day steps, I felt like I was able to manage the process and understand what was going on.
Why is infertility such a taboo topic?
I think that it’s two-fold.
(1)Infertility is “taboo” because the general public may not necessarily understand infertility and the treatments. I really encourage anyone who is worried that there may be something preventing you from getting pregnant or you just want more information, to go a reproductive endocrinologist – it’s really empowering to go to the experts.
And (2), in my experience, infertility was really humbling and emotional at first, which can make people feel like shutting down and not sharing. There were days where I was sad and felt low, but I had faith that I was going to have a family.
Infertility also feels like such a personal experience because it means that something in your body, or your partner’s body, is stopping you from getting pregnant, and I felt personally responsible for not being able to get pregnant. Talking about it and leaning on my husband and friends for support really helped me.
You have a new online video discussion series, Birds & Bees: Today’s Modern Family. What topics do you discuss?
With these videos (available at www.IncreaseYourChances.org) the group (Rebecca, Alli, Jennifer, Amy and myself) was really trying to break the stigma around infertility and spark conversations among other women contemplating getting pregnant.
Because each of us had different experiences, careers and personal lives, we thought that sharing our unique perspectives on our decisions to get pregnant, fertility issues and balancing work/family/life could help other women.
How did you, Rebecca Flick, Alli Webb, Jennifer Borget and Amy Richards get involved in this series? What do you hope Birds & Bees: Today’s Modern Family will do for women who want to start a family?
Like I mentioned above, we all have a unique perspective on fertility, pregnancy and family that we wanted to share, so we partnered with EMD Serono to create these videos as a way to get women talking and feeling empowered to make their own life choices and get help for fertility issues, if needed.
We’re hoping that our experiences can help others feel more comfortable talking about fertility and pregnancy, even if they are experiencing problems getting pregnant.
To watch Birds & Bees: Today’s Modern Family visit www.IncreaseYourChances.org/
Interview with Rosie Pope. Email. 4 March 2013.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infertility. Web. 6 March 2013.
MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Infertility. Web. 6 March 2013.
Reviewed March 6, 2013
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith