AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: 04/14/16 1:53 PM
So…in my latest edition of “my life is stranger than fiction” I have a movie premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival tomorrow.
Okay…it’s not really “my” movie. I am in it, though. For a split-second…from what I’ve been told. I haven’t actually seen it yet. That’s pretty typical for me, however. I still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch an hour long show Discovery Health did about me either. That aired two years ago.
Can you tell I don’t watching myself on a screen?
Anyways, back in 2013 I was asked to serve as a judge for Sher Fertility Institute’s annual “I Believe” contest. I had judged for the contest before, and as gut-wrenching as that experience was, I agreed to do it a second time. Dr. Sher helped us conceive Reagan and Isabella. If he asks me to jump my reply will always be, “How high?”
There was a caveat for the 2013 judging session. It was going to be filmed. As a result, instead of contemplating the entries in the comfort of my own home, I had to travel to Las Vegas to take part in a judging session. In addition, I had to agree to be interviewed for the documentary. To say I had reservations would be an understatement. Sean and I have done a lot of interviewing since Logan was born. Burn out had set in. Since it was Dr. Sher asking, however, I agreed, and off to Vegas I went.
It was a good experience. The show’s producer, Amanda Micheli, and her team were awesome. As I sat for my interview I grew more and more comfortable. I guess that’s because early on in the meeting Amanda shared with me that she was struggling with infertility. I knew that she “got it”. Her motives were genuine.
She wanted to educate. To give audience members a rare look at the struggles that come with infertility. To highlight the absurdity of the mere existance of such a contest. Infertility is a disease. Insurance should cover treatment, but it doesn’t. This contest is an opportunity for a few lucky people to have a shot at parenthood– free of charge.
I’ve written before about my struggles whild being a judge for the “I Believe” contest. The submitted stories are heart wrenching. Every single entry deserves a chance. The entrant’s desperation was palpable. In a perfect world, all of these people would receive affordable treatment for their disease.
A perfect world it is not.
Then there is the backlash. As a participant in the contest, judges and contestants open themselves up to scrutiny. Without fail, all of the typical insults show themselves.
“You should just adopt.”
“You’re selfish for wanting a biological child.”
“The world is already over populated. We don’t need any more people.”
Blah, blah. blah. I honestly wish those who feel so compelled to hurl these insults at infertiles would realize how unoriginal their thoughts truly are. Their ignorance and lack of compassion are so very ordinary.
Making the experience even more of a risk, judging this contest could possibly add fuel to those who argue that ART (assisted reproductive treatment) circumvents the will of God. Infertiles are used to being accused of “playing God” when seeking medical treatment for their disease. But being a judge who plays a part in deciding which entrant gets the free cycle? Well, that could be construed as taking the “playing God” argument to a whole new level.
By accepting my role as a judge, I was setting myself up to be attacked.
Fortunately, I’ve grown a thick skin. I’ve been called selfish, greedy, careless, and sinful. I’ve been told on a very public stage that my desire to expand my family would destroy Mother Earth. In the beginning, those comments hit hard. But after seven years of seeing the same tired arguments leveled against anyone who publicly sought treatment, I learned to stop taking such ignorance personally.
Fertility treatments bring loved children into the world. There’s no evil in that.
The “I Believe” contest is a well-intentioned scholarship program. It’s goal is to bring awareness to the topic of infertility. To lift the veil on the excruciating process that one undergoes trying to do something so many can do by accident. It highlights the struggle. It educates. Most importantly, it lets the one in eight people struggling with the disease know they are not alone. There are not only people who care. There are many that understand.
And so goes the Haveababy movie.
I cannot wait to get to a screening of Amanda’s masterpiece. After having met her, I am confident it carries the right message. I am proud to have been part of the film.
HaveaBaby premiers Friday, April 14th at the Tribeca Film Festival. If you are able to attend, tickets can be purchased here.
To see the movie trailer click here.