Nancy Kerrigan Thinks We Should Talk About Infertility

The former Olympian will be the keynote speaker at Resolve New England's annual infertility conference.

Nancy Kerrigan

Photo via AP

Nancy Kerrigan has been in the public eye for a long time, but that hasn’t affected her willingness to speak about what’s going on her life. And that extends to her past struggles with infertility, long a subject people shy away from.

“Someone asks a question, I’ll answer it,” says Kerrigan matter-of-factly. “I’ve never kept anything hidden. I’m not secretive.”

Kerrigan experienced no trouble with her first pregnancy, but suffered a number of miscarriages in her efforts to expand her family. And she says she hopes people feel comfortable speaking up about what they’re going through. “Keeping things hidden and to yourself can lead to so much sadness and depression,” she says. “If we talk about things, it just makes it easier to go through.”

The Mass. native is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the annual Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference in Newton on Saturday. The event is organized by Resolve New England, a nonprofit that aids the “infertility community” throughout New England.

Though Kerrigan says she first spoke up about her issues with infertility years ago, it wasn’t until the subject came up again with her appearance on Dancing with the Stars that the public really started paying attention. And it’s a subject she’s more than willing to address.

“I’m not a doctor or a nurse or somebody that can do anything, but if I can help somebody else, I feel really honored to be able to do that,” she says. “I feel very lucky.”

As a former Olympian, Kerrigan also had to grapple with some of her own feelings around her body disobeying her. “I think that was why I felt so bad,” she says. “It’s like, can’t you train for this? What can I do to make it right?”

Those feelings of failure may be common, and Kerrigan thinks they may be worsened by our lack of ability to talk about infertility. “When you don’t talk about it, you don’t realize how many people this has happened to,” she says.

And of course, it’s not just mothers who are affected by infertility and miscarriages. “It’s a loss for the whole family,” Kerrigan points out.

She hopes that her advocacy work can help people going through infertility struggles, and encourages anyone experiencing them to find someone they can speak to about it. “If you can do it together, I feel like it’s a little healthier. You can move on.”

Saturday, November 4, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 24th Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices and Adoption Conference, Boston Marriott Newton Hotel, 2345 Commonwealth Ave., Newton,