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Bronzeville, Near South Side

With ‘No Due Date,’ A South Side Director Hopes To Start A Conversation About Black Infertility

Tanikia Carpenter is calling for empathy and compassion in her new film as more Black women talk about their struggles to conceive children.

Tanikia Carpenter in "Due Date."
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BRONZEVILLE — A short film by a South Side creative exploring the emotional toll of infertility premiered on YouTube this week.

“No Due Date,” a seven-minute short written and directed by Tanikia Carpenter, follows “Nova” (played by Carpenter) as she navigates uncomfortable interactions with friends and strangers while she struggles to come to terms with her and her husband’s challenges to conceive.

The film premiered Monday and comes during National Infertility Awareness Week. Carpenter said she hopes “Due Date” will engender empathy and compassion for people dreaming of and struggling to have children.

“My husband and I tried to conceive for two years. Those were the most difficult years of my life. Although people had good intentions, they were oblivious to the questions and comments that were hurtful on our journey,” Carpenter said.

While Black women are twice as likely to experience infertility, they are less likely to talk about their experience, often suffering in silence, according to a 2015 University of Michigan study.

But the tide appears to be turning as more Black women come forward with their stories, which Carpenter finds encouraging.

“It takes courage for a family to share that they’re struggling with infertility … . However, more people have been vocal about this journey in the recent years. I didn’t intend to necessarily share our story with the world, but the pressure to have a baby gave me courage to bring awareness to infertility in my community,” Carpenter said.

Still, there’s more to be done. Though Carpenter credits her circle of loved ones for holding space for women who have experienced loss, she realizes there’s no “universal safe space” for women to discuss their feelings around infertility because people don’t know how to address it.

The solution is as simple as rooting all discussions in empathy and acknowledging their loss, Carpenter said.

“I love when women keep the memory of their ‘angel babies’ alive,” Carpenter said. “These babies were real. Their lives mattered.”

“No Due Date” is available for viewing on Carpenter’s YouTube page.

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