You may have heard my views about this on the last episode of the Bitter Infertiles podcast.
MTV’s long-running “True Life” series is doing an hour-long program about infertility. It will be following around two (or three) couples of the producers’ choosing to get a sense of what it’s like to be aged 18-29, going through infertility.
I have my concerns.
Here’s the thing. And I am addressing this to all people considering whether or not to be on this show:
People going through infertility are a misunderstood minority. Most press is negative. Then there are the comments sections on the aforementioned press articles. And the hurtful things we hear, often. The card deck is stacked against us.
So, when an opportunity comes to have a few of us profiled for a nationwide audience, we need to SEIZE it. We need to OWN it. And we need to make ourselves look GOOD.
What does this mean?
It means presenting your life in an authentic yet sympathetic way. It means talking about how infertility has devastated your life. Do give examples of mean things people have said. Do act human. It would help to be likeable, but human will do. It means showing the audience: she or he is like me. It means making the audience think: “Infertility is an awful disease!”
It DOESN’T mean bringing the drama. It doesn’t mean becoming Snooki, the infertile version. (Because Snooki is fertile, as we all know.) It means no bar fights. No cray cray family in-fighting. Because, we all know what MTV likes.
I’ve seen True Life. Specifically, the divorce episode comes to mind.
Remember that couple who was having non-stop ugly fights in front of their kids and kept calling the cops on each other?
Don’t be like them.
Don’t be like The Situation.
Because the weight of millions of Americans is on your shoulders. Infertility is so rarely portrayed, except in the freakshow manner. (OctoMom, the oldest American to have twins, the infertile 44 year old woman who swam in the fertile waters of Bhutan to get pregnant.)
You want to set yourself up as a reality show celebrity/trainwreck? Go ahead! Just please, please, please: choose another topic.
Thank you for listening.