I just had this epiphany. This morning I read a piece of celebrity news that irked me. Or rather it wasn't the news itself -- producer/songwriter Kara DioGuardi, formerly of American Idol, is trying to conceive -- but the way it was reported.
At a book signing for DioGuardi's recent memoir, Access Hollywood asked her what she hopes to accomplish next. "I’d like to have a baby," she said. "I don’t know, I've been having a lot of sex, but it's not working. I'd like to succeed at that, if my damn body would get with the program."
Yeah, if only; in this memoir, DioGuardi reveals that she's undergone three unsuccessful IVFs so far. So naturally the story about her attempts to get pregnant begins...
"Kara DioGuardi appears to be having a good time while she and her husband try to grow their family!"
Yeah, boy, Access Hollywood, you sure picked up on the salient point there. Infertility sex is a blast. Nothing more frolicsome than getting it on by the calendar, and sometimes even the clock, and if you're really far gone, the stopwatch. What a romp it is, gazing lovingly into your partner's eyes and whispering throatily, "I know you're tired and need to get up early and have that thing going on with your neck, so you can just lie there while I do all the work"! I mean, what could be better than doing it solely because not doing it is going to make you cry?
My point is, it's hard to think of anything less fun than the sex associated with hardcore infertility, as compulsorily frequent as it is. I don't know, a colonscopy? Performed by a swarm of live bees? While listening to Jack Johnson?
Yet that's what Access Hollywood takes away from it: She sure is hitting it regular. Woooo!
And I was fuming about this when it suddenly hit me. I've been frustrated in the past when celebrities were, oh, let's say less than forthcoming about the fertility challenges they might have faced. (I totally said might, y'all. Progress!) Let me be clear: I don't think anyone has some automatic sacred right to know about anyone else's personal business. When anyone does share, I think it's a gift, so that's not what I'm suggesting. No, what's disappointed me in the past was rather the missed opportunity, the actively declined opportunity, to do a very specific kind of good in the world, one that I know has enormous benefits to people I care about: Be open. Fight the stigma. Disprove the myths, simply by being who you are and owning it.
I don't think we're owed it, but I still wish people would do it, and for that I thank Kara DioGuardi, Carefree Avid Sex-Haver. But reading that article this morning, something new occurred to me, and it gave me an enhanced compassion for people in the public eye who deal with infertility. It was this:
For every one person who says something stupid to one of us plain old normals, there are fifty saying it to the famous. On camera and in print, with headlines like, "Kara DioGuardi Having a Lot of Sex in Hopes of Getting Pregnant." Today for the first time I was moved to imagine what it would be like to open a magazine and read, "Julie Robichaux, After Three Failed IVFs, Is Having the Goddamn Time of Her Life."
That...that's not such a pleasing thought, and inspires in me a new understanding for why some public figures stay quiet. Because it's one thing to hear it from your dumb brother-in-law -- "We want a baby, but we're having trouble." "Well, at least you get to have fun trying," complete with a waggle of the eyebrows and a leer that makes me want to slap him, God, I mean, I'm sorry, I don't care how much money he's loaned you; I've always hated your brother-in-law -- and another thing entirely, I suspect, to hear it from UsStarPeopleToday.com. Plus your brother-in-law. And probably Jack Johnson. And bees.
I didn't exactly bust a myth here (and may even have promulgated one myself, since surely there are couples who do somehow manage to stay matrimonially freeea-kaaay during a long slog through infertility, although, ahem, video or it didn't happen), but in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week a bunch of other brilliant bloggers have. If you're not in the know about infertility, why not find out more?