The Untold Stories Project

When it comes to our reproductive lives, what stories are left untold?

Available on Amazon in paperback and ebook!

Our book Untold Stories: Life, Love, and Reproduction explores the sexual and reproductive experiences of 17 people who all have one thing in common: stigma. These real life stories talk about what it is like to grow up as an intersex person, have an abortion, place a child for adoption, experience infertility, go through a gender transition as a parent, and much more. The authors approach their storytelling with an exhilarating honesty that transcends the page and, in the words of one author, “cracks your heart open.”

We are launching a living room and kitchen table reading campaign to support new ways to think, listen, and share around reproduction.

Here’s where you come in:

There are many ways to bring the Untold Stories Project to your community:

We’re giving away the first 500 books to reading groups for free! Please fill out this form to let us know how you want to participate. If you have questions or comments, email us at untoldstories@seachangeprogram.org.

Does your reading group have 15 or more people in it? Help us expand our reach by making a donation to cover the cost of printing and shipping the books. With your help, we can continue sending Untold Stories to reading groups across the country.

Six Untold Stories authors at our Oakland launch event, November 2014.

Six Untold Stories authors at our Oakland launch event, November 2014

Media: 

Interested in interviewing an author, the editors, or reviewing the book? Email us with your name, outlet, and deadline and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

The Pilot Project

Though our book is new, this isn’t our first time in America’s living room. We first explored the idea of reading circle conversations in 2012 with 14 book clubs across the US (Alabama, California, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin, and Utah). We found that reading a book of personal narratives prompted open and curious conversations among women and men in the groups. Many participants revealed their own reproductive experiences in the context of these conversations.

What happens when we share our untold stories?

Untold Stories author Karen Thurston shares her journey to being public about her untold stories around reproduction, and how it impacted her life.

Meet the Authors

“I decided that telling my own story was a step I could take to decrease abortion stigma.” - Debbie Bamberger

“So many people pull themselves through strenuous moments in life and before they can even grasp how they feel, society slaps them with degradation that forces self-shame.” - Alisa A. Gaston-Linn

“The most meaningful way to support others is to listen with an open heart, respond without judgment, and love without conditions.” - Karen Harris Thurston

“Choosing not to have children is different than not ending up with children.” - Monica McLemore

“The voices of people who were adopted as well as the parents who relinquished their rights are both needed for a deeper understanding of adoption.” - Angelique Saavedra

“I wish people knew that the pursuit of parenthood is a human right.”- Desaray Smith

“I am excited to be part of an effort to move beyond the language of shame.” - Katherine Towler

“I was honored to open up the conversation around reproduction to include people with divergent bodies.”- Sean Saifa Wall

Join the Conversation & Support Storytellers

TweetchatOn November 13, we hosted a tweetchat to lift up the stories about reproduction that are often left untold, to explore why it’s easier to share some experiences over others, and to talk about how to support people in sharing their stories. Twelve reproductive health, rights, and justice organization co-sponsored the chat. You can see the storify of the tweetchat here.

Join our continuous conversation about Untold Stories using the hashtag #UntoldStories. Tweet us a photo of your reading group!

Wondering how your organization can support people who share their stories? Or wondering how to share your own reproductive stigma story? We recently published three reports: one for individual storytellers, one for organizations, and an executive summary on our research with public abortion storytellers. Check it out for recommendations and best practices!