I was thrilled when Jobi accepted my invitation to be PLICA’S Featured Guest on our blog this month. Talk about making waves! Jobi Tyson is a power advocate for all childless women. She understands the anguish we endure and just how difficult the journey from grief to hope can be. Giving a voice to all women who experience childlessness - especially through infertility - is her mission, and Jobi knows that not speaking up only serves to keep the shame and stigma alive. In speaking up and speaking out, we help shift the stigma and break the silence. This is where healing and hope begins.
Jobi Tyson is the founder of Tutum Global, a multimedia platform for involuntarily childless women. She is a sociocultural researcher, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Practitioner, and a content creator. Jobi is also the founder and editor-in-chief of a digital international magazine for childless women, Tutum Journal. Her life’s mission is to change the way female childlessness is presented, analyzed and discussed.
Tutum Global has just premiered the first-ever indie publication for and by childless women, available for purchase at www.tutumjournal.com and has recently launched the National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).
In collaborative support with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and in partnership with Not So Mommy..., Tutum Global is hosting a week of virtual events, fundraising and social media challenges for NIAW from April 18-24, 2021. The week of events is geared solely for those childless by infertility. NIAW seeks to raise awareness and break the silence around being childless by infertility.
One of Jobi’s favorite movies is Coming To America because of its timelessness and because “laughter is medicine.” She loves “I Was Here” by Beyoncé because not only is it written by her favorite songwriter Diane Warren but because it’s about making your mark before your time is up in this life. Jobi says she doesn’t have a favourite colour, but she does have a love of silver or black cars. She loves spending time with family, photography, cooking, and poolside.
In Jobi's Words
The Difficulty of Unexplained Infertility
For 20 years, I had unexplained infertility with all tests coming back normal and doctors were unable to find the root cause in which I could not conceive. Then, after a hysterectomy, the doctor discovered endometriosis and adenomyosis was later diagnosed through my own research, and later medically confirmed. My 20-year journey of unexplained infertility taught me to lean on my own understanding. I no longer harp on things that are beyond my control. Five years ago I would have said the most difficult about being involuntarily childless was stigmatization, shame, and social exclusion. Now I’m working hard to change the way female childlessness is discussed, presented and analyzed, as I’m an advocate of women owning our voice because our silence further perpetuates the stigma and shame.
As a middle-aged woman, I've learned to surround myself in safe spaces only on a personal level, so I no longer allow myself to be in spaces where I'm either purposely misunderstood, or an attempt of understanding is not granted. But, as far as society-at-large, I do my best to bring greater awareness about childlessness, because the more we share our stories, the more others will understand it.
Barriers of Colour
I'm not sure if my skin color had an impact on my experience of childlessness, since I speak with women throughout the world almost every day, and our stories and feelings are so similar. But as an African American woman, it would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the implicit bias and health disparities in the healthcare system. African American women are more likely to receive a hysterectomy for pain than white counterparts receiving alternate health options; and African American women are 50% less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis, both of which I can attest to. After a 20-year journey of unexplained infertility, it was not until after getting a hysterectomy (in which I initially requested an endometrial ablation) that I found out that I even had endometriosis, and the average diagnosis is 8-10 years; and I had to perform my own research to later discover that I also had adenomyosis, which was then medically confirmed. And due to lack of quality healthcare or resources, I literally could not afford to be infertile, so alternative options to conceive was not even a possibility to consider.
Covid and Childlessness
The loneliness and thoughts of mortality from being a childless woman living alone during Covid-19, affected me a bit in the beginning of the pandemic. If anything I was confused with so many conflicting reports, and personally knowing at least two dozen people who passed away from the virus. But, I just took the isolated time to helping others, and poured myself into learning new things, such as home renovation to keep myself mind from being idle.
A Hidden Pain
In my mid-30’s, both of my younger sisters were pregnant at the same time. Although I was ecstatic for them, feelings I had bottled up for the past 10 years at this point started to surface. It was extremely difficult to live vicariously through their pregnancies and births since as the older sister, 10 and 15 years their senior, I expected to be a mother long before. Despite feeling ashamed and excluded in a sea of mothers, I had become adept at hiding my secret grief.
Ways of Coping
I wholeheartedly believe that self-care is self-love. So, on those rough days, I bring out positive affirmations to say out loud, sometimes I may call a friend or sister for a pep talk, but I remind myself that so far I've survived 100% of my worst days.
The Comfort of Knowing
Knowing that I've made a positive difference in someone's life truly brings me comfort. Also talking to and being around loved ones comforts me; and simply sitting on my front porch.
Instead of using the word acceptance, I tend to replace that with growth. As I may never "accept" something just for the sake of accepting it; but I can grow through it. When life throws curve balls, I usually say, "Here we grow again."
A Childless Future
I think about that often. For the last couple years, I’ve been working on a revolutionary project that will lessen the concerns for childless elders.
Healing is a journey, and now I just trust the journey. Pain changes you, but so does life experiences. Healing for me is to no longer focus on the suffering, but to move forward with a purposeful life that I deserve to have with or without children.
Words of Wisdom
In order to have the mental capacity to grasp this disenfranchised grief, you have to unlearn all that society has taught you about womanhood; because despite what society says, motherhood does not equate womanhood. Your life has meaning, and your contributions to the world matters.
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Find out about NIAW here
More on RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association here: