Those who are close to Chris and I know first hand that we are the masters of disguise. WE.LOVE.HALLOWEEN! More so, we have been known to throw a mean Halloween party and themed parties of all sorts. Being that my uterus sucks and we have been stirrup deep in the trenches of infertility, our epic parties and social life has taken back seat status. This year knowing we would soon be approaching our final and last attempt we needed to secure Halloween plans STAT to help lighten our impending whirlwind of shots and all things hormonal. We decided on dressing up as characters from the Pixar movie Up. I was Russell the Wilderness Explorer scout, and Chris was Carl the crotchety old man. When we first saw this movie about a year ago I had NO IDEA it had such an impacting theme of a couple suffering through infertility. I also didn't realize all of the other cartoons that existed that had hidden innuendos of infertility also!
Let's start with The Flintstones. Yep that's right, a cartoon we (most of us reading this) grew up watching re-runs of. In the 3rd season episode called "The Surprise" Wilma says those words I can only dream of being able to say: "We are expecting!". The episodes that follow depict the couple preparing for a baby (soon to be Pebbles) and then show the couple adjusting to being new parents. Ok so what does this have to do with infertility you ask? Keep reading I am getting there... That's where the Rubbles come into the mix. 7 months after Pebbles made her debut, season 4 covered how Barney and Betty were depressed and grasping with their struggle and inability to start a family. It even has a clip of a Tasty Sneakers moment from Fred. Sound familiar?- everyone else had or was starting a family and they were now the odds ones out. Thus making The Flintstones the first animated series in history to address the issue of infertility,though subtly). Bare in mind this season aired in 1963. Kudos to the writers for touching on this topic at a time when it was more than taboo to talk about it and more so, before IVF hit the scene. It does have a happy ending for the Rubbles, Barney and Betty like many infertile couples make a wish on a shooting star to be blessed with a baby. Low and behold they are presented with an opportunity to adopt BAM BAM the following morning. Anyone else know he was adopted? I didn't. Goes to show even a cartoon from 1963 can be a bit inspiring.
Check out the episode when you have a chance, Part 1. Season 4. Episode 3.
Dumbo is another one that portrays the immense desire that an infertile mother feels when the stork passes her by. I watched this movie so many times growing up but never thought I would be Mrs. Jumbo. This is a truly a heartbreaking scene to watch, one I have felt first hand. In the middle of the night when all of the storks are carrying their precious bundles to unsuspecting parents, Mrs. Jumbo reaches out for each stork bundle of joy only to watch it drop in someone else's arms. She waits, longing for the stork to pay her a visit. Finally, when the late stork does arrive, her bundle is not perfect in the eyes of those around her. To her though, Dumbo is everything, perfect. Truly a gift not to be taken for granted.
Bring tissues because this movie clip is tough to watch.
Finally, there is the movie "Up," which is what we based our Halloween costumes on. In it, Carl and Ellie plan their lives together, a big part of which involving having and raising children. All of this unravels in a single scene when, at the doctor's office, Ellie is crying and a young Carl is trying to comfort her. Although there is no big animated baby with a red line struck through it, the message is clear. There is no baby in their future. It changes their lives, changes their plans, and ultimately, changes Carl's demeanor towards children. Next in "Up," we are introduced to Russell who is being neglected by his father.
As we were watching it, we wanted to jump up and take Russell home. That is probably one of the most frustrating things to deal with. Seemingly neglectful or unappreciative parents. The comments of, "Are you sure that you want this?" as they point to their child. Na, we don't. We just had a ton of extra money that we couldn't figure out how to get rid of ... back to "Up."
Russell grows on Carl and ultimately, they form a close and genuine, as damn near to a parent-child relationship as you can get. Although this movie did an amazing job of portraying the emotional hardship and challenges faced by couples with fertility issues, we have not been able to bring ourselves to watch it a second time. Normally, we would watch whatever movie or show our Halloween costumes are based on to get in the spirit. Not this year. I guess the wounds are too fresh, too deep, and have been there for too long without any clear sign of resolution. If you have not seen it, it is a great movie and has very cute characters. It's sad though. Super sad! Bring Kleenex, gummy bears, vat of ice cream, whatever you need to get you through. The one incentive to watching it is that you will have a whole new appreciation for the word squirrel. Happy Halloween everyone!