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unfertility

unfertility

By Noni Martins
breaking the silence, stigma + shame around unconventional fertility journeys through the voices of black women.
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Episode 16 - with Kwazi 🇺🇸
In this episode I speak with Kwazi Yimam who currently resides in Northern California (Bay Area). Kwazi is 43 and her husband is 45 and they got married 4 years ago and knew they wanted children. After 1 year of trying naturally they figured that it was time to look into fertility treatments. Kwazi was diagnosed with PCOS and they have had 5 unsuccessful IUIs and 2 unsuccessful IVF rounds - and are currently preparing for a 3rd one. You can connect with Kwazi via @yearning4babyyimam.
01:12:08
April 12, 2022
Episode 15 - with Cassie 🇬🇧 🇬🇭
In this episode I speak with Cassie N'goala, a childless-after-infertility advocate who is redefining what happiness looks like for her outside of motherhood. After many years of trying to conceive and a failed IVF cycle, Cassie created @tbstork from the unique perspective of a childless step mum to process her grief and offer community to other childless not by choice women. Cassie is currently studying to become a qualified counsellor and aims to support other women who are ready to accept a life without children. You can connect with Cassie on Instagram.
59:44
February 16, 2022
Episode 14 - with Kurayi 🇿🇼
In this episode I speak with Kurayi, an IVF & infertility advocate who is passionate about breaking the stigma associated with infertility and raising awareness about infertility one conversation at a time. And this was one big conversation indeed! An interesting fact is that I knew of Kurayi before I knew Kurayi herself. 2 people mentioned her to me a while ago when I posted in my stories asking whether there were other Zimbabweans going through the same thing as me. It was only much later that I realised Kurayi was the person the 2 people had mentioned and honestly she is kindred spirit and I’m so glad our paths merged. I also got to meet her person in December last year which was so affirming and I can honestly say I consider her a friend now. I say all this to hopefully explain why this episode is longer than the others - even my colleague who edits the episodes couldn’t trim it down any further and she was like I think it should all be in there, just two friends talking. I also have to add that Kurayi is a very mad person and she is so funny - this episode is full of LOL moments. You can connect with Kurayi on Instagram @ivfsouthafrica.
01:38:11
January 23, 2022
Episode 13 - MY STORY: All I want(ed) for Christmas
Episode 13 | Final episode of the year! In this episode I am back to close the year with some thoughts on what I wanted for Christmas (but didn’t get) and what I am grateful for instead. For months I have been so focussed on the bad that I lost sight of all the good that has happened to me this year. The festive season is such a challenging time for us but cue Kendrick Lamar, WE GON’ BE ALRIGHT! And though it may not always feel like it, this entire experience is turning us into who we need to be. That is both wonderful and excruciating, but SO necessary. And it manifests into all the other parts of our lives too. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my first year of podcasting! One thing I am hugely grateful for. All my love & all of the Light(s)
32:42
December 12, 2021
Episode 12 - with Yvonne (Part 2) 🇬🇧
In this 2-part episode I speak with Yvonne - a British author and activist for Childless women of colour. She wrote her book out of the anger she and the other childless women felt, who were not being heard or listened to by the circles they found themselves in. ‘Dreaming of a Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children’, was conceived out of love and understanding and born to give women like her the permission to unashamedly own their stories. Yvonne is a leading voice for women of colour’s experience around infertility, as well as an advocate for creating an inclusive space for black women and women of colour to openly talk about their childless journey. While our journeys are not the same, I had so many takeaways from unpacking the infertility & childless experience with Yvonne and I honestly felt like a daughter listening to her mother’s life experiences and the lessons from all of it. Not to mention that it also felt like looking in the mirror both of us; black women with short, coloured hair, big smiles, big personalities, a bit unconventional… infertility aside, I felt so seen and affirmed by your spirit Yvonne – that it’s okay to be misunderstood especially culturally because authenticity is everything. For anyone who is childless and wondering where to find support, Yvonne is a licensed facilitator of a global network for childless women called Gateway Women. And her book is available on Amazon. You can connect with her on Instagram @y.vonnej or via her website.
51:12
October 29, 2021
Episode 12 - with Yvonne (Part 1) 🇬🇧
In this 2-part episode I speak with Yvonne - a British author and activist for Childless women of colour. She wrote her book out of the anger she and the other childless women felt, who were not being heard or listened to by the circles they found themselves in. ‘Dreaming of a Life Unlived: Intimate Stories and Portraits of Women Without Children’, was conceived out of love and understanding and born to give women like her the permission to unashamedly own their stories. Yvonne is a leading voice for women of colour’s experience around infertility, as well as an advocate for creating an inclusive space for black women and women of colour to openly talk about their childless journey. While our journeys are not the same, I had so many takeaways from unpacking the infertility & childless experience with Yvonne and I honestly felt like a daughter listening to her mother’s life experiences and the lessons from all of it. Not to mention that it also felt like looking in the mirror both of us; black women with short, coloured hair, big smiles, big personalities, a bit unconventional… infertility aside, I felt so seen and affirmed by your spirit Yvonne – that it’s okay to be misunderstood especially culturally because authenticity is everything. For anyone who is childless and wondering where to find support, Yvonne is a licensed facilitator of a global network for childless women called Gateway Women. And her book is available on Amazon. You can connect with her on Instagram @y.vonnej or via her website.
57:35
October 29, 2021
Episode 11 - MY STORY: Cranes in the Sky
I am back with another episode of my own story and general catchup about my/our journey so far and how I'm dealing with the break of IVF. Over the last few weeks, Solange's song 'Cranes in the Sky' has taken a whole new meaning for me. "I tried to drink it away. I tried to put one in the air. I tried to dance it away. I tried to change it with my hair. I ran my credit card bill up. Thought a new dress would make it better. I tried to work it away. But that just made me even sadder. I tried to keep myself busy. I ran around in circles. Think I made myself dizzy. I slept it away, I sexed it away. I read it away. It's like cranes in the sky. Sometimes I don't wanna feel those metal clouds. Yeah it's like cranes in the sky. Sometimes I don't wanna feel those metal clouds".  In an effort to not deal with my grief, I have done all these things. Solange explained the meaning of the song as this excessive building up, and not really dealing with what was in front of us - and the same rings true for the recently resurfaced wave of PTSD I'm currently going through which has been building up for a while now. I'm keen to know how you guys cope with the grief of failed embryo transfers and the general grief of a life NOT as you imagined it?
30:23
October 13, 2021
Episode 10 - with Dr Belinda 🇬🇧 🇬🇭
In this episode I speak with Dr Belinda Coker - the founder and CEO of Your Trusted Squad. Belinda has been a medical doctor for almost 20 years, initially training in women's health before becoming a GP. She is an executive medical director with extensive experience in virtual healthcare, quality, compliance, patient safety, and patient experience. It was Belinda’s experience of infertility and repeated miscarriages that led her to start Your Trusted Squad. Your Trusted Squad provides health information on fertility health and wellness and earlier this year launched the boutique fertility concierge service, that navigates women through their infertility treatment with discreet, personal, holistic, bespoke 121 coaching and concierge support. You can connect with her on Instagram @yourtrustedsquad and via her website.
56:26
September 14, 2021
Episode 9 - with Akua (Part 2) | on Surrogacy 🇬🇭 🇧🇼 🇺🇸
In part 2, of the episode with Akua, she tells us more about the Surrogacy journey and answers some frequently asked questions. Through the gift of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) including surrogacy, Akua has two lovely girls with her husband. Akua and her husband dealt with unexplained infertility for over 10 years. After 3 fibroid surgeries in 11 months and a successful IVF FET (frozen embryo transfer), 14 years later, they were blessed with their first perfect gift, their daughter, Blair. Further infertility complications made it impossible for Akua to carry again and so they decided on surrogacy. In 2019, they found their wonderful Gestational Carrier (GC) who helped them give their daughter Blair a sibling and in January 2021, their second daughter Sloane was born. Akua is also a fur-baby-mum to her schnoodle son Buddy Ankrah, who she says, will always be her first child. You can connect with Akua via her instagram. Her emotional journey (through fibroids, donor sperm gamete which resulted in a pregnancy, and surrogacy to complete her family) has fueled her passion to help others who want to achieve the dreams of the perfect gift. And now she is channeling all this experience and passion into her own boutique surrogacy agency A Perfect Gift.
01:01:52
July 14, 2021
Episode 9 - with Akua (Part 1) 🇬🇭 🇧🇼 🇺🇸
In this 2-part episode I speak with Akua Ankrah aka Jane Ankrah, a fertility advocate who is passionate about;  1. Educating people about infertility with an aim to de-stigmatize people’s approach and thoughts to infertility.  2. Helping people realize their dreams of being parents in whichever form they choose.  3. Educating women & men to advocate for themselves, and, finally,  4. Advocating for infertility causes such as insurance coverage.  Through the gift of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) including surrogacy, Akua has two lovely girls with her husband. Akua and her husband dealt with unexplained infertility for over 10 years. After 3 fibroid surgeries in 11 months and a successful IVF FET (frozen embryo transfer), 14 years later, they were blessed with their first perfect gift, their daughter, Blair. Further infertility complications made it impossible for Akua to carry again and so they decided on surrogacy. In 2019, they found their wonderful Gestational Carrier (GC) who helped them give their daughter Blair a sibling and in January 2021, their second daughter Sloane was born. Akua is also a fur-baby-mum to her schnoodle son Buddy Ankrah, who she says, will always be her first child. You can connect with Akua via her instagram. Her emotional journey (through fibroids, donor sperm gamete which resulted in a pregnancy, and surrogacy to complete her family) has fueled her passion to help others who want to achieve the dreams of the perfect gift. And now she is channeling all this experience and passion into her own boutique surrogacy agency A Perfect Gift.
01:01:07
July 14, 2021
Episode 8 - with Thando 🇿🇦
In this episode I speak with Thando @andbathandwa, a 38-year-old, Johannesburg based stay-at-home parent to a 3 year old and an almost 1 year old both conceived via IVF. A former management and strategy consultant turned tech start-up founder that decided to change gears and pace following her fertility journey that culminated in the conception of her eldest. She shares her matrescence journey on her Instagram page. It was incredibly affirming speaking with Thando, she has this infectious conviction about her experience with infertility and IVF and it was a gentle reminder for me to really own my story. There is a bit where she says “there is always going to be some sort of an unmet need” which really struck me and framed the whole IVF journey differently for me.
45:05
June 09, 2021
Episode 7 - with Laura 🇿🇼🇬🇧
In this episode, I speak with my Zim sister Laura @laurajones_official who is 27 years old and currently going through IVF. Laura has endometriosis which just adds another layer to her journey. Laura channels her struggle and turns it into good by sharing her experience of both endometriosis and IVF via her Instagram page. I’m in awe of Laura and how she is managing infertility and IVF at such a young age and I would like to use this moment to remind all of us in the IVF/TTC gang to be your sister’s keeper (when your capacity allows). With so few of us black women talking openly about this it’s so important that we make ourselves available to support each other. Laura runs her own business @dipped_official if you fancy doing your own nails at home as part of your look-good-feel-good self-care.
56:50
May 26, 2021
Episode 6 - with Ola 🇳🇬
In this episode, I speak with Ola @fertilityconversations about her journey towards motherhood so far. Ola is the founder of Fertility Conversations which was set up to create awareness about Infertility & create a safe space to connect with others going through Infertility in Nigeria & outside Nigeria. Ola’s passion for all things fertility is unmatched! She is such a connector - always connecting people, connecting to the right resources, sharing & building networks. It was so great to get behind the ‘work’ and learn about her own journey.
59:04
May 06, 2021
Episode 5 - MY STORY: IVF Round 3
I'm back with another episode on my journey. Just checking in with some reflections and how it feels to be doing IVF for the 3rd time.
29:34
March 14, 2021
Episode 4 - with Karabo 🇿🇦
In this episode, I speak with Karabo @hannah_youarenotalone about her journey with and recurrent miscarriages. Karabo is a founder of Hannah - You are not alone which she started together with her husband. Hannah - You are not alone seeks to provide support to those struggling with infertility and to bring awareness about a disease that burdens many due to the stigma and shame. We had such a wonderful conversation and there was a message in her mother’s words that really resonated with me... she said to Karabo, “ngwanaka phila” - meaning “live my child”. A loving reminder that your life still has meaning even if you are not a mother yet.
01:01:05
February 24, 2021
Episode 3 - with Jasmine 🇳🇬🇺🇸
In this episode, I speak with Jasmine @glowful.path about her infertility, IVF & pregnancy loss journey. After a miscarriage and a second IVF round that ended with no embryos for transfer, her 3rd IVF cycle was successful and she is currently pregnant. Jasmine's focus is on diversifying feeds, for all women of color to amplify their voices and to highlight the importance of mental health when it comes to infertility. There is a beautiful moment in the episode where she started crying when she was talking about how grateful she is to God for carrying her through all of it. It resonated with me so much and I can only imagine what that must feel like, finally falling pregnant after infertility.
01:03:50
February 11, 2021
Episode 2 - with Natalie 🇿🇼🇿🇦🇬🇧
In this episode, I speak with Natalie @myivf_miracle who went through 12 unsuccessful IVF cycles & 7 miscarriages. She now has a beautiful baby boy from her 13th IVF cycle. Natalie is passionate about black women advocating for themselves and taking charge of their fertility and normalising the narrative on infertility. Natalie's story has stayed with me ever since the first time I heard it. I had only had 1 cycle then and her story is a story about staying the course and keeping the faith. It’s about believing that kuzolunga (everything is going to be okay) - and it WILL work.
47:23
January 27, 2021
Episode 1 - MY STORY: Another failed embryo transfer
In this episode, I discuss the outcome of the second embryo transfer that we did in December 2020.
28:47
January 12, 2021
MY STORY - How we have dealt with Infertility & IVF feat. Mr UnFertility
To give an idea of what is to come, I am sharing 4 bonus episodes from a mini-series of unconventional fertility stories, that I hosted on Instagram Live during the summer of 2020. In this episode, my husband joins me and we answer questions from my sister about our infertility & IVF experience so far.
01:40:58
January 02, 2021
Nyasha 🇬🇧🇿🇼 - Premature birth and NICU experience
To give an idea of what is to come, I am sharing 4 bonus episodes from a mini-series of unconventional stories towards motherhood, that I hosted on Instagram Live during the summer of 2020. In this episode, I speak with my Auntie Nyasha - @themissusv about giving birth at 29 weeks and spending 78 days in hospital with her newborn baby girl in NICU.
01:41:50
January 02, 2021
Dannika 🇬🇧🇬🇭 - Recurrent miscarriages & IVF
To give an idea of what is to come, I am sharing 4 bonus episodes from a mini-series of unconventional stories towards motherhood, that I hosted on Instagram Live during the summer of 2020. In this episode, I speak with Dannika - @faithledfertility about recurrent miscarriages & doing IVF privately.
01:50:17
January 02, 2021
Vanessa 🇬🇧🇬🇭 - Infertility, IVF & ectopic pregnancy
To give an idea of what is to come, I am sharing 4 bonus episodes from a mini-series of unconventional stories towards motherhood, that I hosted on Instagram Live during the summer of 2020. In this episode, I speak with Vanessa Haye - @vanessahaye about infertility, IVF & an ectopic pregnancy.
01:49:56
January 02, 2021