Infertility is bad enough on its own.
It’s overwhelming. It’s sad. It’s frustrating.
Infertility leaves people feeling lost, broken, misunderstood, and forgotten.
Infertility is isolating.
When I saw the media blast stating that the Ricki Lake was looking for a couple to share the ups and downs of their infertility journey and discuss how infertility affects a marriage, I chose to see it as a positive. At last, I thought, someone wants to raise awareness. Someone wants to normalize it and bring it to the forefront of conversation.
Someone cares enough to make it a whole episode, not just a ten-minute segment buried in the final hour of a four-hour show.
So I reached out to the producer who sent the blast. Let me know if I can help. She hit back in minutes. They were having difficulty finding a couple and needed to tape the show in two days. If I could help find a local couple, it would be great.
I put the word out on Facebook and Twitter and waited. But not for long. I emailed the producer back and told her what she probably didn’t want to hear: It can be hard for couples to come forward on a show like this. Particularly if they are still in the middle of the battle. I suggested a panel of women, all with different diagnoses and different outcomes. Let’s put some faces to the struggle, I suggested. Let’s make this real.
Let’s talk about the psychological component of infertility. Let’s share the emotions, beginning to end. Let’s tackle this head on.
No…they needed a couple for this particular segment.
And, in the final hour, I found them a couple. They had endured quite a struggle and were happy to share.
When I sent that final email…good news, a couple is ready to come forward, I was caught off guard by the response. The structure of the show has changed. We decided to do a panel of women…like you suggested! We would love to have you in the audience.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I had a feeling that the show would not be what I had suggested. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something just wasn’t right. I politely declined the invitation to sit in the audience, and hoped for the best.
I tried to brush it off. They were planning a show on infertility, after all. Media coverage is media coverage, right?
This was the promo for the show…
They had an opportunity to raise awareness and break down the wall of silence that still surrounds infertility. They had the opportunity to open up a dialogue and normalize the feelings that are impossible to escape. They had the opportunity to help many if the 7.3 million Americans struggling with infertility.
Instead they chose to sensationalize it. They chose to focus on “extremes” and highlight the outliers…the 1%. They chose to make a mockery of the infertility community.
Here is what I know about the brave warriors of infertility, particularly those of you who connect here at Clomid and Cabernet: We are brave. We are strong. We are fighters. We lift each other up when we need lifting, and let each other fall when we need falling…because we know that sometimes we need a little bit of both. We cheer for our successes and cry alongside one another when failure strikes. We live this battle together.
We are not going to extremes. We are not outliers. We are not desperate.
We are fighting like hell to build our families and we are holding onto hope when all else fails. We trust that, someday, our babies will find us.
We are the faces of infertility, and we are strong.