I’d like to introduce you to Best Kept Secret Finalist, and Health Activist – Regina Townsend! Regina has made it her personal mission to raise awareness for African American Infertility and Reproductive Health by starting not-for-profit organization and community, The Broken Brown Egg Foundation. Started “on the belief that there is a vast misconception and lack of information and awareness in the African-American community regarding infertility, conception, and family health” Regina has some great goals. (read the About page for more.) Nominated for Best Kept Secret seemed apt for Regina as someone who works in the community that, itself, is considered rather “secret,” or, as she puts it, “Being a black woman, I quickly found, was a very quiet life in infertility. I believe that should change, so that no one else will have to feel like the lone wolf of their family. Infertility is lonely enough without feeling like a minority inside of a minority.” Her candid approach to a topic that is particularly difficult is appreciated by those within her community and made a great impression on the judges during HAAwards. I look forward to seeing Regina’s impact continue to expand as more people discover her gem of a community and join in her personal mission. Now – let’s learn more about her in her own words…
How/why did you become a Health Activist? Tell us your Health Activist story!
I started the Broken Brown Egg as a personal blog at first, to begin the dialog I wasn’t seeing on other blog sites. I am a member of the online community at ChocolateBrides.com, and there were a few discussions about infertility, but no real in depth talk, I suppose because many of us saw those rare instances as flukes. As I started researching, though, I found that infertility was extremely common, 1 in every 8 couples, which then made me wonder why none of the blogs, websites, or even advertisements showed black couples. I figured it was out of shame and fear, and decided to fight that stigma head on. As a librarian, I began to use my research tools to try and gain more information to share with people of all backgrounds.
I share my own stories, the good and the bad, in the hopes that someone who is feeling like they are the only person these crazy things could possibly be happening to, will know different. I can’t be the ONLY black woman who suffers from PCOS, or menorraghia (extreme menstrual cycles), or even just health frustrations. I try and think of what I wish I‘d heard or the thing I need to hear, and Isay it so that someone else who needs it can get it. I try to be as brutally honest about my fears, my frustrations and my journey so that others will hopefully glean a little courage from me. It has also made the more mainstream infertility advocates and groups take notice!
What are your goals for 2012? Anything you’re really looking forward to?
I’m so glad you asked this question!! This year marks what I’m calling The Broken Brown Egg’s 2012 Season of Support! We will be rolling out as many initiatives as possible to get people the best possible personal support. First on our list, launching on March 3, will be our Waiting Room Buddies program. Through this initiative, Eggshells, as I call those who interact with my site, will be able to text me when they have upcoming medical appointments. I will then pair them with another Eggshell who agrees to just be their virtual friend in the waiting room, texting back and forth to keep them calm, to go over goals for the appointment, and to be a listening ear. I know firsthand how frightening and lonely waiting rooms can be, and how important it is to have someone there with you. My hope is that friendships will be formed, and also that people will be more comfortable making and attending appointments.
Aside from this first phase, I’ll be rolling out a few more goodies as the year goes along. I cannot WAIT.