School teacher and part time stand up comedian Karen Jeffries wrote a book chronicling her experiences with infertility called Hilariously Infertile.The book is a mission to make others who have struggled with infertility laugh as they stare into the harsh, scary, and often sad world of infertility.
The Tidbit had the pleasure of speaking with Jeffries about the difference she is making in the lives of those who share her struggle.
The Tidbit: Your book, Hilariously Infertile, is something that I’m sure a lot of people resonate with and appreciate your honest look at a hard subject. How did you decide to turn your story into a book?
Karen Jeffries: Thank you for saying that; it was my husband’s idea. I was helping a friend and a family member through their infertility. My husband and I were washing dishes and I was telling him that one person was ovulating and the other person’s follicles were 17mm so I thought that she was going to have her IUI on Sunday. He turned to me and said, “I think you should write a book.” I laughed at him, because I don’t have time to read books, let alone write one. I shrugged it off. About a week later I opened my laptop and just started writing. It was my story and it poured out of me onto the page; roughly five weeks later I had a finished copy of what is now Hilariously Infertile. As I was writing it, I wasn’t sure what “it” was. Was it a book? Was it a blog? Was it just a silly journal? Then I realized that it was funny, raw, inappropriate and real; it is the way real women talk when we’re together. That’s when I realized that this book could help people, and I moved forward with starting the website and social media platforms.
TT: What has the feedback been like regarding the book?
KJ: The feedback has been incredibly overwhelmingly positive, while simultaneously humbling. People from all over the world have emailed and sent me messages about how much my book helped them. How my book brought couples back together after a late term miscarriage. How my book helped people cry tears of laughter instead of tears of pain and sorrow. The positive response to the book has reached far beyond my wildest imagination.
TT: How did you first get into standup comedy?
KJ: Funny thing! I’m not actually a comedian! ha! I am just a fourth grade dual language teacher (Spanish/English). I am constantly cracking jokes in my classroom, but I am not a comedian, I should take some classes. The comedy nights started because I had this awesome hour long speech about my infertility story. I have delivered this speech to some fertility clinics and drug companies and I knew that my followers would also enjoy hearing it. So I decided to plan an event where I was on stage doing this “speech” and people could come and meet me, and all the ticket proceeds would go to infertility non-profit charities. So I made that happen and whenever I posted about it on social media I would get tons of messages about how I needed to start bringing my “show” to their city, or their region. It all happened very naturally.
TT: What is it like to have comedy as an outlet for the difficult things in life?
KJ: I think comedy is such an important outlet. The saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” is a saying for a reason. Infertility is not funny — at all, but there are some really ridiculous funny aspect of infertility, so I choose to focus on those.
TT: What are you working on next?
KJ: Oh gosh! Great question. Right now, I am focused on teaching and doing Hilariously Infertile on the side. However, I am considering taking a one year sabbatical and focusing all my attention on Hilariously Infertile and seeing where this takes me. I want to reach and help as many people who are struggling with infertility as I can. I want to sell out large concert halls giving my “speech” to the public; to help people. I am also, very slowly writing a second book about my less than ideal childhood, which is jaw-droppingly dysfunctional.