Justina Machado’s new TV film Switched Before Birth shares a story that far too many women recognize — and not enough of us are talking about. The Lifetime movie is about two women struggling through IVF treatment, miscarriages, and the pressure put on their respective marriages. “It’s inspired by true stories,” the One Day At A Time alum tells SheKnows.
Machado’s approach to the project was personal, noting that “a lot of people don’t talk about” the often difficult journey to conceive. “It’s like a shameful thing,” she says. “Miscarriages, or IVF, or not being able to get pregnant; everybody just thinks, ‘OK, yes. You’re ready to have a baby? Then you can have a baby.'”
If anything, Machado knows that the stories behind Switched Before Birth are incredibly personal and real for so many women, and impact how they view themselves and process the pressures placed upon women’s fertility. “Women feel incomplete when they can’t do it,” Machado said of being able to conceive a child, adding, “I never had any kids. I love kids, I never wanted to have kids. But I also know that was a very strong choice for me. So I can only imagine somebody who just wants a family more than anything.”
The idea that what is “natural” (or is perceived to be so) also impacted Machado’s approach to the project and understanding the shame many women experience through their private fertility journeys. “It’s this pretend world where everything has to be ‘natural,'” she says, “like we don’t need help with anything. I think that’s a big deal.”
Seeing more stories like Switched Before Birth — and listening to Machado’s perspective — can help break down the stigmas associated with fertility stories and the women behind them. Machado’s empathy for the topic is palpable, and we cannot wait to see how it plays out on screen.
Watch our entire interview with Justina Machado above!