I am embarrassingly addicted to romantic comedies. Predictable though they may be, I enjoy escaping into these happy endings. Recently, I watched two movies with nods to infertility and/or treatments. In the first, Have you Heard About the Morgans, a couple goes into the witness protection program at a time when their marriage is in crisis. This couple is dealing with infertility, and (SPOILER ALERT) ends up adopting a baby. In the last scene, you see the wife holding the newly adopted child and when she turns you see that she is also miraculously pregnant. Cue the happy music. The second movie, The Back-Up Plan, is about a single woman who wants a baby. She undergoes IUI with frozen sperm and, shazaam, gets pregnant with twins after the first insemination. Other characters in the movie point out that this outcome is rare, but it is nonetheless the outcome presented to the audience.
I must admit, I enjoyed both of these movies, despite their cheesiness. But today I began wondering if movies like these are part of the reason I feel so alone in my struggles to have a baby. Most of my friends have attempted to be supportive, but many of their efforts have fallen short. When they repeat phrases from the list of "worst things to tell a woman who just lost a pregnancy," I realize that they simply do not get it. To them, infertility is a temporary condition, something that will soon be in my past. They do not see that infertility is a disease, and they cannot imagine the depths of the scars it has left on my heart. But is it their fault they fail to understand? Have they ever been presented with an accurate picture of infertility, one where not everyone ends up pregnant and not all stories have the happy endings they deserve?
Maybe one day Hollywood will make a movie where the couple ends up with mounting medical bills, difficult decisions, a still empty nursery, and the bitter memories of babies lost. Until then, I believe that the best way to change the perception of infertility is to be open and honest in our struggles, letting others see the hope, fear, and anxiousness that we live through month after month.