Infertility podcast by Alameda actor Millie Brooks is about everyones right to family dignity – SF Chronicle Datebook

Stage actor Millie Brooks works from her Alameda home on her podcast, Me, Myself & Millie, in which she has frank, informative, revealing conversations about fertility and infertility. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

Yes, we are still a family with or without kids, Alameda actor Millie Brooks recently wrote on Instagram, speaking of herself, her husband and her dog. If you disagree, kindly see yourself out.

Since April, Brooks who has performed with American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco Playhouse and Killing My Lobster, among others has been chronicling her struggle with fertility via both Instagram and her podcast, Me, Myself & Millie. But that post, and the compassion and self-possession behind it, made me realize the appeal of her project isnt just how it broadens, with humor and candor, the idea of how you become a parent. Its also about our right to dignity in how we define our families.

On the show, shes interviewed fertility doctors, a gay man hoping to have a child through surrogacy, an adoptee going through IVF; shes also interviewed her husband, Rowan. But she has yet to do an episode on her latest plot twist, which is that she finally succeeded in getting pregnant.

I recently spoke to the 34-year-old Michigan native about her journey to motherhood.

Q: What was it like when you learned that having children would be challenging for you and your husband?

A: Let me tell you, I was really fin mad. Growing up, I was told by my parents, teachers and clergy that if I had sex one time, that I would get pregnant. One time, thats all it took! Maybe that is the case for some people, but not everybody.

Q: You say that being infertile felt traumatic. In what way?

A: Just being so disappointed, month after month after month. And then getting up and trying again. Some people call it the fertility treadmill. You can barely see 10 feet in front of you. It becomes consuming. Its all you think about.

Theres so much sexism and bias in the fertility space, which youd think is dominated by women, but its not. We saw four doctors. Two of those four doctors we just had consults and initial appointments with, but they all just seemed to sugarcoat sperm results, which ended up being our biggest problem. And everybody assumes that its the woman! Now Im getting really red in the face Im getting hot and bothered about this subject.

Q: Where do you think that bias comes from?

A: I think were still very precious about the male ego right now. We dont mind: Women can take it. Women can handle it. Women will take responsibility for it, and theyll do something about it. If its an issue that falls on the mans side, its like a loaded gun.

Q: Whats it like sharing the intimate details of your and your husbands bodies with your listeners?

A: It was definitely scary at first. We felt pretty vulnerable doing that. I guess I was just expecting this wave of criticism to come at me, about my environment, about my lifestyle. And then it was the exact opposite, and we were shocked. Weve had some good friends of mine come to us and even tell us that they struggled with the same thing and they never shared it with anyone. And I was like, Oh wow, this thing sounds really common, but were all just not talking about it.

Q: Why not?

A: Oh God, its so visceral. My husband got an expectant dad handbook; in the first chapter, its all like, Dont you feel like a man! Dont you feel proud! I even see in the online infertility community, women struggle with this idea: This is the only thing I ever really was supposed to be able to do, and I cant do it.

Were silencing ourselves. Were silencing women to deal with their miscarriages on their own, inside, behind closed doors, saying, Infertility and loss is a womans problem that should be dealt with in the bathroom.

Q: So youre due March 11. What was it like when you learned you were pregnant?

A: Our first frozen embryo transfer was a success. About five days after the transfer, I took a home pregnancy test. I was on the toilet. I was just crying and praying to my dead mother: Mom, please just do this for me. I cant take it any more. I looked over at the test, and I saw a very, very faint line.

Q: How has your relationship with your followers changed since then?

A: I eventually need to do an update of our journey as an episode, but I know that it can be triggering for some people.

Oh my God, I dont want my podcast to turn into a fing mommy blogger parenting podcast. F no. Count me out. I loathe mommy culture so much it pains me. But I do talk about it on my Instagram account (@milliebrooks100), and I think its important for folks to understand, just because you might be pregnant doesnt mean your infertility is cured. We are still infertile, its just on pause for the moment. If we ever want to have a second child, we will have to go through this all over again.

Q: Our world has changed so much this year. Has that shifted your thoughts at all about what it means to take responsibility for a child?

A: Its true that things are grim right now, but theres no perfect time to bring a kid in the world. It doesnt exist. When I finally found that perfect time, I couldnt get pregnant. Now that I am pregnant, I keep coming back to the idea that human beings, especially children, are really resilient. That gives me a lot of comfort.

In terms of parenting in 2020, my two big platforms are sex education surprise, surprise and climate change. I cant wait to teach my kids the things I wish somebody had taught me.

Continue reading here:
Infertility podcast by Alameda actor Millie Brooks is about everyones right to family dignity - SF Chronicle Datebook

Related Post

Comments are closed.