I just finished listening to all five episodes of a new Huffington Post podcast called IVFML. It’s a podcast about “infertility.” I wasn’t sure what I was going to get out of it. After all, I have listened to countless episodes on Beat Infertility, as well as Creating a Family, and The Fertility Podcast. I have not only learned a lot by listening to hours upon hours of these episodes, but it has helped pass the time during my long commutes, runs in the park, and workouts at the gym.
IVFML was different than any others I had listened to. For starters, there were two hosts – a husband and a wife (typically podcasts are hosted by women only). The hosts, Simon Ganz and Anna Almendrala, have a great sense of humor, mixed with the ability to be raw and vulnerable. They touched on so many common emotional, physical, and financial aspects of infertility. They had guest speakers who were friends experiencing infertility, a medical doctor, and a therapist. I found myself hanging on every word, and looking forward to finishing the series to see how it ended.
Now here’s the thing…and this will be a bit of a spoiler alert, so don’t read on if you haven’t listened and plan to…
Although the series ends when Anna is 27 weeks pregnant, we are led to believe that she and Simon were successful, and now have a newborn at home.
I couldn’t help but think of the people that treatment is not successful for, and what a lack of resources and validation this population incurs. Simon and Anna actually mention that toward the end of the series, and I commend them for it.
It seems that telling our infertility and loss stories is easier when we have a “take home baby,” or when we’re “successfully” pregnant. It’s as if we’re now strong enough to come out of the closet and shine a light on what was possibly the darkest period of our lives because we feel better now.
Perhaps we did not feel good enough to tell our stories when we were struggling. Perhaps we felt too embarrassed and ashamed.
There are so many celebrities that did this very same thing. Instead of talking about their grief and angst while going through their dark times, the headlines come out about it afterwards, leaving those who haven’t been successful to believe that they should remain in their shame, because it is not recognized as being valid. They are left to believe that people don’t want to hear about grief, anger, and loss – they only want to hear about a happy outcome.
Perhaps we are not strong enough to talk about it during the dark times. If we only knew how desperate people are to relate to one another. If only we knew how those who are grieving just want to feel that others understand them, and have felt some of the same feelings.
Anyone who speaks out about infertility, grief, loss, etc. is a rock star in my opinion, and we could use more of it. However, we could also use more of the unsuccessful stories as well. That is not to say that I wish Anna and Simon had not told their story – I am certain how many people in the infertility community it will help.
I just wish that the podcasts would have been released in real time, while the couple was enduring their journey. I understand that timing doesn’t always work out that way, and it can take many months, if not years, to produce a show. My real wish for those who continue to struggle, and for those who are involuntarily living child free, is for more resources and support. That’s all.
Maybe some day.