We're still Showing and Telling below. The list is always open through Tuesday, so keep checking back on the list or add your own entry.
Deathstar wrote on Pamela Jeanne's blog a week or two ago something that I've been tossing about in my head for a bit:
"Cancer can kill you, infertility just makes you wish you were dead."
Cancer often comes up as a debate with infertility. It's a strange connection since one disease is life-threatening and the other disease is life-style threatening. One does not trump the other in my head--I don't see a huge advantage to being alive if you wish you were dead--though I can see the problems with the comparison. You can live with infertility without treating it. The same cannot be said for most cancers.
There is so much cancer floating through the infertility blogosphere at the moment, this idea seems to be at the front of my mind.
Infertility bears a stronger comparison to deafness. Deaf culture is filled with slang terms utilized by insiders, etiquette rules, and fine art. Deafness, in and of itself, can be experienced as both a detriment and loss as well as a gain (and frankly, while I wish I weren't infertile, think of how much I wouldn't have life-lesson-wise and friendship-wise without infertility). One can live with deafness without working around it--it is certainly not life-threatening. But it is life-style threatening if a person doesn't find a means to communicate.
And there is controversy within the community too--those who opt for cochlear implants, those who don't. Those who choose to lip read and speak, those who don't. There is both hierarchy and leveled community at the same time--shades of deafness (and who hasn't wondered if they're "infertile enough" to be called infertile even with a diagnosis in hand) and also the common bond of deafness trumping the hierarchy of deafness.
I've spent a decent amount of time at Gallaudet--the only deaf college in America. My cousin went to graduate school there and even after she graduated, I kept going back because it's a space I like to visit. It made me wonder if there could ever be an emotional equivalent. OB and midwife practices that are solely for those pregnant after infertility (Gallaudet, at least back when my cousin was there, had a rule that all undergraduates had to have some hearing loss). Child-free amusement parks (it looks like Disney World, it smells like Disney World but you don't have to stare at the sleeping baby that inevitably ends up in front of you while you're waiting in line). Is there a need for a collective space like that? Is our collective space the fertility clinic or the adoption seminar? The Resolve meeting?
It's an interesting thing--need vs. want. Does Deaf culture need its own university? I would say yes. Does ALI (adoption, loss, infertility) need its own space and can we agree that ALI has its own culture--it's own internal slang, etiquette rules, expression in fine art: elements of culture?