I’ve made a living in two predominantly testosterone-driven industries: the auto industry and Silicon Valley. I know what it feels like to be in the minority — both as an English major and as a woman, but shoot, it took being infertile to truly appreciate what it means to be dissed.
You can be as out there as you want, comport yourself in the most off the wall way your little heart desires (this applies more to Silicon Valley than Detroit), but even remotely imply infertility and watch people recoil like you’ve got cooties or worse. Have no fear friends who read this blog, I’m talking about the people who don’t know me behind a passing hello. I’ve been doing a little field research … and I might as well be telling some people I’m an axe murderer. In fact, I think I’d get a warmer reaction. What is it with the discomfort and suspicion that surrounds infertility and infertile people? I’m funny, warm, tuned into the latest gossip, dress stylishly and heck, I can even get a head turn from construction workers.
But tell people I’m infertile and things get, well, weird. I’m amazed given how much time people devote to bragging on their kids and the effusive praise society lauds on parents and the sacrifices they make for their children but there’s zero patience for those who want to talk about the efforts they undertook to have kids and the fallout that occurred when things well, got rough. Ironic, isn’t it? They can talk about their kids, we are supposed to be mute.
Just to validate my theory, I’ve also been looking into pitching ideas or contributing pieces to a range of magazines. I was motivated to extend some of the insights that I’ve derived from this articulate and insightful community. Here’s what I’ve learned: magazines love stories about the joys and challenges of parenting; balancing work with kids; raising generation Y or Z or whatever the new letter is; fighting the weight gain/stress that comes with being a mom; not letting kids control your life, etc.; or the other extreme such as how to bed a guy without really trying. Okay, I could do the latter pretty easily (who among us can’t?)
But God forbid you mention anything remotely connected with the I words (infertility, IVF, IUI, ICSI) the magazine editors just do NOT want to hear about it. In fact, more than a few editors state in so many words up front: Infertiles Need Not Apply. What? Did I hear you right? You’ve had your fill of stories about couples who can’t conceive? Their lives are completely uninteresting to you? You mean 20% of the children-bearing population and their lives just don’t sell magazines? Really? Did you happen to consider that infertiles are voracious readers.
Hey, we’ve GOT THE TIME to read (heeellllooo! no kids are underfoot to distract us!) And we’ve practically got a patent on killing time with the waiting thing. Have you looked around doctor’s offices lately? We are THERE.
And another thing, how do you know we don’t have interesting stories to tell? Have you ever solicited them? Drama? Oh, we’ve got drama. In fact, you probably couldn’t handle our reinvention stories. Come on. I dare you…