(She says a week into the New Year already. Mea culpa… for New Year’s, our whole house got norovirus for four days! It was barftastic. I’m only just getting back to normal.)
Right – on to more pleasant, less barftastic things
First of all, as I seem to post here frequently: no, I have not forgotten about you! Lots of things behind the scenes, including bringing on a whole new slate of fresh voices to this site! I’m looking forward to introducing each one of them to you over the next couple of weeks, culminating in a brand new look and feel to The Infertility Voice come February 10th!
(Keep up to date on the inside scoop by signing up for my monthly-ish email newsletter.)
And now… back to the stuff that you really come here for: the writing, the stories – the heart of what’s at The Infertility Voice.
New Year’s Eve in Times Square: January 1, 2013. Photo by Keiko Zoll.
Our knees bumped into the coffee table as we held each other for a wobbly kiss, the taste of champagne still on our lips. In the background, Jenny McCarthy smothered Donnie Walhberg’s face as confetti rained down around them in Times Square. Smash cut to Ryan Seacrest: “Chelsea’s New Year’s wish is that she hopes she gets pregnant in 2014…”
I turned my face from Larry’s back to the TV screen.
Ryan went on: “Well Chelsea, maybe those baby dreams will come true with a kiss at midnight tonight.”
The creeping champagne fog evaporated instantaneously as I actually shouted out loud to the TV: “Really, Ryan Seacrest? Really?!”
“Keiko… he can’t hear you.” Larry had a point.
But it was unsettling just the same: this innocuous New Year’s wish, broadcast across the United States as each time zone ushered in 2014, a rolling midnight. What if Chelsea wasn’t just another random person on social media, tweeting her #NYEWish to @RyanSeacrest on #RockinEve?
What if Chelsea had been trying to get pregnant all of 2013? 2012? What if her #NYEWish was the same wish she’d been making for the last five years? The last ten years? What if, what if, what if… so many what ifs . But the thought lingered in the back of my mind until I went to bed that night.
“If only it were that simple,” Larry had even joked. “We’ve been doing it wrong all along. We could’ve saved ourselves $27,000 if we’d only just kissed at midnight.”
Chelsea may have been ecstatic to see that her tweet, her Facebook post, her social media whatever-it-was that got picked out of all the thousands of other hashtags – only to have the New Year’s Eve equivalent of “just relax and it’ll happen” flung right back at her. And we’ve all been there – and we all know how much it hurts. How we roll our eyes, or how we blink away the tears that threaten to spill over their banks, how we think: “If only it were that simple.”
Was New Year’s #RockinEve a platform for the infertility community? Hardly. But that seemingly innocent response, this puff-piece filler after the Ball Drop, this throwaway conversation – I can’t help but wonder, if we lived in a culture where infertility was understood with more ubiquitous compassion – would it have been different?
If it weren’t for the fact that the remote had gotten buried in the couch cushions, I might have missed that comment entirely if we’d shut off the TV right after midnight. But I know Chelsea heard it. And while I have no idea who Chelsea is, I know her wish was silently echoed by so many millions of women and men at midnight last week:
Let this year be the year. Let this year be THE year.
It’s the same wish I made in 2010. In 2011. In 2012.
(And yes, even last year, because as of New Year’s last year, I hadn’t yet reached viability.)
So as I forge ahead into 2014, as I start carving out what I really both want and need to do with this space, I think of Chelsea. I remember that Chelsea is still out there, infertile or not – and that her wish represents a collective prayer, a quiet whisper, a silent desire, a desperate shout.
“Chelsea’s New Year’s wish is that she hopes she gets pregnant in 2014…”