Thoughtful Thursday: Publicity
June 18, 2009
On the heels of my previous post about revealing my infertility to a crowd of people, let’s think about revealing on a bigger scale — because it’s come up in my own life.
Remember the Thoughtful Thursday a few weeks ago when, to illustrate my husband’s penchant for civility, I described his professional behavior. I happened to use a metaphor that my husband was actually Kirk Cameron circa 1986. Continuing the metaphor, let’s pretend that Kirk has proposed a Very Special Episode of Growing Pains all about infertility, closing with Kirk talking directly to the camera: “Infertility affects millions of people, including me. My wife and I have spent the past 7 years dealing with fertility treatments, miscarriage, and heartache. To learn more about infertility, visit your local library.”
My husband is not actually Kirk Cameron, but he does have a job in the public eye. He would like to use his platform to discuss infertility publicly, using our experiences as an illustration. Part of his motivation is that so many people are so secretive, especially us, and he wants to bring this too-common experience into the spotlight. He also thinks it would be nice to make some money off of something that has eaten all of our disposable income and most of our savings. My husband is particularly enthusiastic about this project, and it seems to mean a lot to him.
So far, I have said that he can look into the feasibility of a project and see if it’s something that might actually happen, but I have reserved my actual approval until a later date.
To be honest, the idea makes me quite uncomfortable.
Part of the problem is my blog. I’ve minimized identifying information, but I’ve given all sorts of specific details about infertility because no one in real life knows these details. If the details (such as conceiving on Perfunctory IUI #7) are highlighted on the Very Special Episode of Growing Pains, it might become too easy for people IRL to find my blog. Will I have to redact information from past blog posts? Or perhaps password protect a bunch of posts? I wouldn’t take down this blog completely; it’s too important to me, and there’s got to be a way around things. But, I think that my blog would have to change in some way after the Very Special Episode.
We realize that the project would “out” us to all of our families and friends, and we’re both okay with that but know that it will cause some conflicts.
Probably the biggest problem? The assholes. Articles like the New York Times piece on Pamela Jeanne tend to get all sorts of negative reactions in addition to the neutral and positive reactions. Announcements such as celebrities expecting via surrogate lead to accusations that they just didn’t want to mess up their bodies. I just can’t see myself finding the energy to deal with ignorance and vitriol — from anonymous strangers and loved ones alike.
Many people in the blogosphere use real names, and some have gone even more public than that, appearing as the subject of newspaper articles or television programs, or even writing their own books. Others don’t use real names, usually for a reason. Whatever your current status, what would you do if someone wanted to make you famous for being infertile? What if the person trying to publicize your story was the person you love most in the world?