Monday, January 4, 2010

Where the Times Finally Get It Right

2009 must have been the year that traditional media sources (aka those that we wish would know better) realized the comment-making (aka revenue producing) machines that stories about infertility, loss, adoption and assisted reproduction techniques truly are.

2009 was the year I stopped taking the New York Times seriously:

Preemie Twins Cost a Lot of Money!
All Infertile Couples Are Octomoms Just Waiting To Happen!!!!
Surrogates Are Horrible People That Will Take Your Money and Keep Your Babies!

Not the actual headlines but they might as well have been. Rather than being all the news that's fit to print, these stories played off the basest of assumptions, perpetuated fears, cultural and class stereotypes and generated the comments and controversy that have editors (and sales reps salivating.)

Why don't these people Just Adopt?!
If G*d wanted you to have a baby, you would!
It's probably better you lost your baby - he/she was probably busted anyway...
Infertiles are bitter, selfish and far too sensitive! Get over yourselves!

That's enough. You know these far too well.

Sometimes you hear people with post traumatic stress disorder talk about triggers. Things, smells, instances, sometimes even thoughts that throw them back into the throes of the trauma that altered their lives.

These stories were my triggers. Heart-racing, tear-streaming, fist-shaking, immobilizing rage inducing triggers.

But damn if I don't love a good acrostic. And the crossword, well, this is what calms us. Doing the puzzles. Together. Every night. In bed. It is our life, our routine.

So the Times Magazine still finds itself in our bag as we wave goodbye to M's parents every Sunday.

This Sunday, I was shocked. Nearly knocked off my feet. Could it be? I do believe the Times finally got it right.

And I am guessing they have no idea.

There, on the last page of the Magazine, tucked away in the last paragraph of Robin Black's charming essay about being chosen for a home repair reality TV show (and then denied), lay the truth about loss:
How did this happen? Really? There were unanticipated losses, grief that enveloped us for years. A stillbirth. A beloved child with special needs. Challenges we never imagined we’d confront. None of it amusing. Nothing like a situation comedy. We’d let go of so many easy assumptions, and in the process we let other things go as well. Gradually, we adjusted, even became stronger. But the evidence of our faltering remained, the facade of our home stubbornly unable to mend itself.
The honesty and beauty of these words take my breath away and all I can say is, yes. Yes, I know what you mean.

Somehow, this little confession tucked away in a larger piece feels more real to me than the shouting headlines, the confrontation and aggression of the comments section. It is not obvious. If you blink you just might miss it. But it is there. And in retrospect, colors the entire story in a new shade.


Mo said...

oh m, beautiful post as always. I agree on how disappointing the NYTimes has been on the subject of infertility and I also resonate with the depiction of life after loss. Thank god for the nuance of words. Sometimes,when carefully crafted, they can almost just touch at the heart of our most painful experiences.


Lani said...

awesome - we were so mad at those articles too.
we do the crosswords in bed together also! i'm addicted.
i read almost all of the mag this week and didn't finish it- had i finished it, i would have read that part too. glad you found it, it is eloquent and beautifully stated.
love you. xo

Kami said...

But the evidence of our faltering remained, the facade of our home stubbornly unable to mend itself.

Yes. Exactly.

tireegal68 said...

Right on - and so well put. :)

musicmakermomma said...

As usual you have put my angst into words. That is a beautiful piece in the NY times - whoever wrote that bit really got it right. I dismiss other people who don't know MY secret pain; but really we all have pain at some point in life. Must try some crosswords, maybe that will help!

Peaches said...

I agree-the Times was wrong, so wrong, on many levels...but how fortunate that you were able to find something good remains!! I am looking forward to 2010 with you!