The Layers Project is focusing on infertility this week, as a way to allow Jewish women to share their stories about their often painful journey to parenthood. Shira Lankin Sheps, the photographer, social worker, and Jewish mom behind the project, wants to raise awareness about infertility–and she’s doing it in a photography project similar to Humans of New York, in an interview style approach.
On Facebook, she wrote:
“Infertility is still a taboo topic in the Jewish community, and it is vital that we continue to push the conversation and be open with each other, in order to help break down stigma.
1 in 8 women in our community are struggling with infertility. It’s time that we started talking about it out loud.”
Here are some of the inspiring–and harrowingly honest–stories:
“One of the worst things about dealing with infertility is time. There is just so much waiting, and having a baby seems like a distant far away dream. Months of waiting in between cycles. Waiting to find out if the treatment worked. Waiting to start over when it doesn’t. Even when you get pregnant, you still have nine months to worry about all the things that could go wrong. You are constantly just trying to get to the next day. I would keep a log in my calendar of all the days that I could get tested. What days I would find out if it worked. I would count down, ‘10 more days, 5 more days…’ but the weeks would go so slow. I did my best to keep busy so I didn’t have to think about it.”
“The IUI treatments failed all four times. The doctor said I had unexplained infertility – meaning there’s something wrong but they don’t know what. As frustrating as it was, in a way, I can see why it was helpful to us. It confirmed for us that there really was a problem and that it was good that I came for treatment in the first place. We were not at the end of our journey.”
“We were one of the only couples in our community who didn’t have children and we had been married for a few years, so naturally people were curious. People would ask me, ‘Are you trying to have kids?’ and sometimes I would say, ‘Of course’ and, ‘Oh, we aren’t ready yet,’ or ‘nahh.’ but I was just hoping it would happen. I got the most ridiculous comments: ‘don’t wait too long,’ ‘are you going to the mikveh?’ ‘do you even want to have kids?'”
Share your stories and journeys with us below in the comments section.