Hey there Lovelies,
This week I’m giving my infertility university lectures again! This will be my 3rd year in a row and I am so excited! Every year I seem to get a bunch of questions about how I got into doing these talks and what they entail… So, I thought I’d share the process with you today.
Step 1: Possess the desire to talk openly and do not be shy. Honestly, if you aren’t ok with personal questions and you get overwhelmed sharing in large groups this probably isn’t for you. I speak for an hour and it’s usually to 60-200 students at a time. If you feel compelled to share your story and don’t mind being the center of attention then head on to the next step!
Step 2: Reach out! I am always gobsmacked when this happens, but it does happen yearly, someone will accuse me of only getting to speak because I wound up with a baby. And I’m sick of it. Here’s the truth- I did my first talk in 2014 when I wasn’t pregnant and I reached out to them. No one has approached me, yet, to give a talk. Before or after birthing the Bean Sprout. Every single talk I do I have been the one pounding the pavement to make it happen. Which is actually great news for all of you would be talkers! You don’t need to be on anyone’s radar, all you need is an email account and the willingness to put yourself out there. Look for universities in your area. Then find classes where infertility would be a logical fit and then e-mail the professor asking if they would like you to be a guest speaker. Voila! Don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. I e-mailed 10 professors that first year and only got in with 3, and I had personal connections to each of the ones that said yes! Even if your connection is just “I took your class 10 years ago…” It’s a way to get your foot in the door.
Step 3: Include curriculum material. None of these professors would let me speak to their kids every year if what I said didn’t help them out in some way. I speak to human sexuality, anthropology of gender, and sociology of the family classes becuaseI have figured out a way to work the material they already need to be learning into my talk. I don’t get up and just say “I’m Kaeleigh, and here’s an hour long story about me”. That wouldn’t fly. I speak about the cultural ideas of femininity and masculinity and what happens to those ideas in your head when you are infertile. I speak about the mechanics of assisted reproductive technology and baby making sex. I speak about the statistics surrounding infertility and the different forms it can take. I speak about how infertility impacts generations in a family and how to help the whole family cope and grieve. You know what I don’t actually speak too much about? Me! I approach this as a teaching opportunity, not a show and tell. I think this is a big misconception.
Step 4: Have a heart for volunteering. I do this shit for free. I make my slides, and drive to different cities, and talk for an hour, and answer lots of hard questions… and I don’t get paid for any of it. MOST public speakers you see out doing their thang are doing so because they have a passion for it. Some eventually become Tony Robbins, but most don’t. So if you’re after a little bit of side hustle I would suggest you take up knitting and sell it on Etsy instead. That’s much more lucrative, promise.
There you have it! In those 4 short steps you too can be a public speaker about infertility. Go forth and book lectures my fellow infertiles. Spread the word!