By: Lindsey Dell
I have a confession. I’m an addict. Reality tv. You name it…I probably watch it. The trashier the better. I’m sure there’s a whole psychological reason behind why I love trashy television so much, but I don’t really care. It makes me feel better about myself and that’s good enough a reason for me.
Very recently there was a show on Netflix that I somehow managed to binge watch in a matter of no time. I won’t say the name, but it’s a dating experiment to see if people can fall in love based on an emotional connection first rather than a physical connection. I would say most of the couples on the show averaged in age between 25-30, with a few individuals in their mid to upper thirties. Why does this matter? For so many reasons that I’ll get to later.
By the end of the series, you see which couples end up deciding to get married and which ones decide to break up based on their time together (which probably really only amounts to a couple of months when it’s all said and done). Garbage television? For sure. Entertaining? You betcha.
Here’s where it takes a hard left turn for me though. After the series ends, there is always some kind of a reunion episode, which in this case, I read later, was filmed about a year after the show ended. You get to see interviews with the cast and see more drama, blah blah blah. Keep in mind, these couples have been married for about a year. And like I said before, some of them may be nearing 40 years old (see a previous article of mine regarding Advanced Maternal Age). Some couples want to start having kids the second the ink on their marriage license dries. Some couples want to travel the world or actually spend a few minutes together (especially since their whole relationship was filmed) before having kids. And get this… SOME COUPLES DO NOT WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN.
I said it. Some couples do NOT want to have children. Or even worse, some couples can’t. Why do I bring this up? On the reunion episode of this particular show, there was a very uncomfortable portion where one of the hosts of the show kept asking the three married couples when there would be babies and when “she would get to be an aunt.” She said something to the effect of “if this doesn’t make your ovaries burn then I don’t know what will.”
Now, I’m not foolish enough to think that the world is going to stop asking ridiculous questions just because I’m having a hard time. The world does not cater to me. But what the world CAN do is educate themselves. Which is why Infertility Awareness Week is so important. There are many people who choose not to have kids for any number of reasons, every single one of which is valid (and each of which requires zero explanation to anyone). There are also many people who choose to have kids and for any number of reasons cannot. I may be one of those people.
I have never once looked at my medical chart. I do not know if there is any kind of diagnosis inside that says “Infertile.” And why should there be? I got pregnant naturally. Twice. I also have four rounds of failed medical intervention to help become pregnant so I would imagine somewhere in there it might say something about that in the chart. I do not know the medical definition of “Infertility.” But whatever it is, I might be it.
And so might any of the people you encounter every day. People you watch on your favorite reality shows. People you sit next to at work. People you have coffee with, run marathons with (or run errands with, if marathons aren’t your thing).
Infertility is a very painful reality that a lot of people live with but don’t talk about. It’s painful physically, emotionally, and financially. I know that people who choose to go on a reality television show are choosing to put their life out there for the world to see and to judge (and I do), but it’s still hard to watch them squirm when someone asks them the dreaded “so when are you going to have kids” question. No one knows what might be going on. Maybe they’ve been trying the entire year since they stopped filming the show.
I realize that if you are someone who is suffering from infertility, every week (month, day, year) is Infertility Awareness Week. You are constantly aware because it is in your face. In fact, the more you try for it NOT to be in your face, the more in your face it is. The more you want to be pregnant, the more everyone around you seems to get pregnant. Trust me…I know. Everyone else in the world seems to be pregnant except me. That’s just how it is. It is totally unfair, and it just sucks. Especially because we spent (wasted) thousands of dollars on fertility treatments with zero success. And all I can do now is just use my words and hope they help someone else know that they’re not alone.
I would say this, though. I don’t expect anyone to EVER filter themselves or walk on eggshells because of things that have happened to me. Sure, there are ways you can phrase things or maybe certain things you could leave out that might make my life a bit easier, but that’s not other people’s job. However, if you find it in your heart to maybe step back and rethink some of the questions you ask people because of something that I’ve written, well, then I’ve definitely done my job.
About Lindsey Dell
Lindsey is a mother to 2 angel babies. She lives in Cottleville, MO with her husband Nathan and their 4-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Louie. They are still hopeful that they will have their rainbow baby one day.