So. You might have heard that Ricki Lake tackled the topic of infertility on her show today. Here’s how it was advertised: “Ricki explores infertility to expose the extremes that couples go through to conceive.”
Keiko sums up the show very well, here.
Media seems to like to pair the word infertility with another word: extreme. So much mainstream media coverage focuses on the outliers, the 1% of all infertility cases: the woman who uses her 60 year-old mother as a surrogate, the oldest woman in the US to give birth to twins, the woman who swam in the fertile waters of Bhutan and was suddenly pregnant in her 40s.
These cases are not the norm. Why is the media afraid to explore the norm?
1 in 8 people in the U.S. suffer from infertility. That’s 7.3 million people in this country. People who suffer from infertility are your neighbor, your friend’s sister, your aunt. Maybe even you. What’s worse? No one talks about infertility, or if they do, they use hurtful phrases like “Just relax” (advice proven not effective in studies, by the way) or “Just adopt,” which is a time-consuming, very expensive process with no guarantees.
The word “extreme” is not one I identify with.
Words that I personally felt while dealing with infertility?
Sad. (It’s worth saying again.)
The problem is, of course, that by only hearing about the extremes via the media, the general public’s lack of awareness of how devastating this disease is increases. (The World Health Organization classifies infertility as a disease. Who knows this? Not many people.) And friends and neighbors and relatives continue to suffer in silence and be misunderstood.
Because I felt that infertility was something not accurately by the media, I started my own series of articles called “Faces of Adoption/Loss/Infertility. To represent the 1 in 8 who can’t afford treatments or adoption and/or go through multiple losses: who lose their children too early. I did this to make others feel less alone.
To read and listen to these stories, please go here.