Man-oh-man was last week awesome! I gave four talks to universities in Edmonton, AB and reached 500 students. It was an amazing experience and I felt blessed and liberated to be able to do it. I have been yapping about being an advocate and standing up for the infertility community for a while and it felt incredible to walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk!
The first time I stepped in front of the class it was intimidating, I mean, I was about to talk about my sex life and infertility to these kids! Nobody is THAT open about their sex life. Apart from somebody from somewhere like www.porn7.xxx maybe, but that’s about it. But guess what? It was all really well received. People were very grateful for my candor and willingness to share something so personal. I was open and honest even when the questions asked were really personal and awkward. And the students listened. And asked amazingly insightful questions. And hopefully grew. I wasn’t able to tape the sessions as you need a waiver for that, signed by all attending the talk, but I’ll give you a brief run down here of what I covered and some of the best questions the students asked.
1. Infertility, Gender and Culture: Given to Anthropology students. Covered the way that infertility can negatively affect men and women’s gender identity as well as how our culture really focuses on the fertility of its’ women and what that means for reproductive rights. Included the Personhood debate which was an AWESOME conversation starter.
2. Infertility and Human Sexuality: Given to Education and Human Ecology students. Covered the biology of sex for conception and infertility as well as the science and stats behind advanced reproductive medicine. It was funny and covered some of the differences between ‘sex for fun’ v.s. ‘sex for conception’ that I previously discussed in my blog post about sex. When talking about these differences, we touched on a whole range of topics from masturbation, to lovegasm – a sex toy company, to sex positions. We spoke about how and when you might use masturbation and sex toys in a relationship and whether they are included in ‘sex for fun’ and ‘sex for conception’. There were lots of laughs and engagement in this group and it was really interesting to hear some of their views on these topics.
3. Infertility and the Family: Given to Sociology students. Covered What infertility is and how it impacts not just the infertile couple but also their extended family and friends as well as how infertility continues to affect the couple as they age. Some really productive discussions about adoption/fostering in this group. I focused mostly on Child-less/free after infertility and I think it was a real eye opener that not everyone gets a kid at the end.
Best jumping off points/most insightful questions asked:
- How do you respond to family and friends that pressure you to have children or don’t understand your pain?
- How soon after marriage does our culture expect you to have children?
- Does the provincial or federal government cover your psychological needs when dealing with infertility? How do you care for your mental health?
- Why not “just adopt”?
- Is there any way to know if IVF will work before shelling out the money to go through it?
- Is there any way to know if I will be affected by infertility before trying to conceive?
I mean, right?! So on point and engaged! I was so invigorated and proud of these students, most of which were 18-22 years old. Gold star to them for being open to the conversation. Gold star to the professors for welcoming me into their room to give these talks. And, lets be honest, gold star to all of us going through this insanity! I will be looking for other universities and arenas to continue spreading awareness and information. I was also re-signed to do these classes again next term and every term they are held for the foreseeable future! If you know of any events that might work please contact me– firstname.lastname@example.org
Onward IF Warriors!