Noni Martins – black women’s fertility journeys matter

Welcome to the latest episode of The F Word at Work, where we’re once again sharing a conversation from our F Word at Work series we shared on zoom in 2022. Here we’re speaking to Noni Martins, Noni is Zimbabwean British and her husband is Nigerian British and the pair have been trying to conceive for five years. Three years ago, they discovered that they needed IVF and they thought the issue initially was a male factor however further investigation has shown its a female factor. Noni and her husband are still on their journey and Noni has been doing amazing work as a blogger and a podcaster and she has built an amazing support network for black women called Unfertility It aims destigmatize this conversation within the black community and help overcome some of the shame and all the other kinds of hurdles that people have in their way when it comes to accessing treatment.

What was discussed: 

  • How a huge part of Noni’s upbringing was ‘to be a wife’
  • When she got married they had already started trying, but by year 2, still wasn’t happening
  • She had grown up surrounded by a hyper-fertile idea that getting pregnant was easy
  • Big part of her identity as an African girl was to have children , therefore she had a serious sense of shame. 
  • Had pelvic pain in 3rd year which was when a nurse suggested she had more investigations 
  • Catapulted into the world of IVF and all the focus on Noni she hadn’t mentioned her husband had been a dialysis patient – diagnosed with male factor
  • Overwhelm of 3 failed cycles
  • Her work was supportive and her husband was supportive but it took him a while to talk about his feelings. 
  • Impact of Christmas and how it made them feel not being parents – how her husband actually talked about how he felt 
  • Noni’s decision to talk about their experience publicly has helped with the unwanted questions from family yet people still make assumptions. 
  • Difficulty in ‘answering back’ to comments made as it’s not part of her culture to explain that someone has said something offensive, as it’s easier to say nothing than deal with the consequences of saying something. 
  • How she felt about talking about her treatment at work over time 
  • How she had to step back from her social presence as it wasn’t working for her, affecting her mental health 

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Fertility Matters
@ Work

Becky, Claire & Natalie

We are dedicated to raising awareness of fertility issues in the workplace, educating companies about the reality of IVF at work and the support that is needed.

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