This IVF Blog is about Meirav’s journey with fertility. She tells how she was able to use humour and turn a negative into a positive, which greatly impacted her struggles trying to conceive and how she values her experiences today. Infertility is by no means funny, but Meirav does an excellent job in making light of some of those awkward moments.
Sometimes it seems like there’s nothing more unifying amongst women than finding common ground when it comes to reproductive health. We can chat endlessly and bond over our awkward yet necessary gynaecological visits, menstrual products, and our hormones. However, when it comes to struggling to conceive, it’s been this secret club nobody ever talks about, nobody would ever want to be part of. But once they discover others that have dealt with this all-consuming, psychological tough roller-coaster of infertility, and it’s not just you needing fertility help, there’s an immediate understanding and inexplicable bond.
A Diagnosis of Unexplained Infertility
My husband and I experienced unexplained infertility (a.k.a WTF?) and unexplained secondary infertility (a.k.a WTF — The Revenge) whilst trying to conceive, for a total of over twelve years, including IUI, IVF, miscarriages, braving the 2WW (two week wait), and countless medical personnel who’ve seen my vagina. Nobody around us had spoken about conception problems, and we didn’t either. Besides the constant feelings of shame, guilt, and frustration (to name a few), I didn’t want us to deal with being labeled as “that couple that fails at sex.” I didn’t want our daughter getting that vibe from anyone, either. Everything became a covert mission, like we were some secret agents. Extremely unglamorous, sexually frustrated, fertility-obsessed and volatile secret agents.
Following a particularly emotional miscarriage a few years ago, I was finally ready to start talking about my years of fertility experiences. Infertility is anything but funny, but those situations can be so surreal and absurd that they can be pretty amusing. And as an actress who loves comedy, I figured that’s what worked for me. I soon found out it worked for others, too.
Humor was a great way to break the ice on this still-taboo topic.
After about a year of development, I premiered my live solo comedy show, basically my true fertility experiences told through humor. I’ve had the privilege of performing this show numerous times internationally, at national theatres, Off-Broadway, private events, support groups, and on virtual platforms. It’s been like “Edutaining” group therapy laugh sessions. Audiences and reviews have been wonderful, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many different people around the world throughout this show’s inconceivable journey.
‘That Funny Infertile’
Back when I was deep in fertility treatments, it became all-consuming. The schedules, fertility specialist appointments, lifestyle, EVERYTHING revolved around fertility help, and it became a strain on me, my relationship with my husband, and on our family and friendships. So, when I was “done” with fertility-related experiences, I was out of that all-consuming fertility bubble. I didn’t have to think about it. And then when I was working on my infertility comedy show, which included writing, reliving fertility experiences, my struggles trying to conceive, rehearsing, performing, interviewing, and marketing— I was basically going deep into infertility experiences once again (and now everybody knew about it). Although with some perspective and with a tone of humor, I was once again in some sort of fertility-focused bubble. This time however, I was helping others cope or get educated about it all. I was once again That Infertile, maybe this time That Funny Infertile.
Over the last few months, when everything around the world has been paused and there’s been time and space for perspective, I’ve been pondering about it all. Am I forever That infertile? Am I labelled as that girl who does infertility humor…and that’s it? Would people even think to look past that and see that I can do other things? Wait a minute, CAN I do other things? I love making people laugh and helping people, but can I do that without including content about vaginas, wandas, or semen samples? People need to laugh, but what if I make jokes about other things? Would they even be funny? Am I abandoning some people or disappointing others? Oh, the self-doubt, the imposter syndrome, the contemplation…..
I guess that’s why many people don’t open up about many things, especially infertility struggleswhen trying to conceive. We don’t want to be labelled, or judged, or get those gazes of pity from people who don’t even really understand. I know that what others think of me is none of my business and definitely out of my control, but sometimes it can get in the way of the day-to-day. We must constantly remind ourselves to disregard all of that and just shake it off.
Deep down it seems like I know the answer. If you’re reading this IVF Blog and possibly relating in any way, maybe this will even make some sense. Yes, people will label me. People label other people all the time, probably a natural and common human flaw. I am Meirav (may-RAHV), and I am that infertile who can’t have more children but can laugh about it. I have a whole social media presence about it, but it’ll never be a bigger priority than my family or my self-care. It’s ok if I take breaks from it.
But guess what? I’m ALSO That Vegan Novice, That Socially Awkward Girl, That Writer, That Performer, That Producer, That Director, That Messy Organizer, That Improviser, That Teacher, That Weirdo, That Artist, That Way-Off-Key-But-Knows-All-The-Lyrics Singer, and a bunch of other labels I may not even know I have. And that’s ok. We may have labels, but we can have many labels. They can change constantly, and we can even not care about them altogether. And it’s ok if I needed fertility help, it’s okay if I do infertility comedy, it’s ok if I do other types of comedy, it’s ok if I don’t do comedy at all or if I can’t make some people laugh, and it’s ok if I pursue many different things, even at the same time. It’s ok if I can’t end this piece with a joke, either. It’s ok! IT’S OK.
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