Whitney and Spencer Blake really wanted a baby, and it just wasn't happening. With every thwarted attempt at becoming pregnant, the couple coped by posting "infertility announcements" in response to the myriad happy baby announcements on Facebook feeds.
Infertility is largely something couples agonize over privately, yet the Blakes were determined to eke out a silver lining. That silver lining came by way of six spoof announcements, tracking their fertility journey.
"To be honest, pregnancy announcements were one of the hardest parts of infertility," said Whitney Blake. "We tried really hard to plaster smiles on our faces and celebrate with the people we loved who were growing their families, but it was so achingly difficult to watch everyone around us receive the blessing we desired more than anything."
Infertility brought out feelings of jealousy and insecurity in the couple. Whitney describes the "ugly" feeling that comes with not being able to make a baby. "You feel unfeminine and broken and somehow less than what you should be."
In the midst of heartache and emotional upheaval, the couple decided the only way to come out the other side was to make light of the situation.
It may not be to everyone's tastes, but poking fun at infertility helped the Blakes heal. At one point, Whitney even created an "infertility board game." She credits her husband for finding ways to help her laugh through the ordeal. (And as you can imagine, sperm jokes abounded.)
To be sure, cracking jokes about infertility can come across as crass, insensitive, offensive even. Yet to many going through fertility treatments, and riding the brutal rollercoaster of hopes and disappointments, the posts have a cathartic quality to them.
The Blakes have since adopted two little boys.
"Though the infertility is still there, the struggle is mostly not," reads a disclaimer on the last announcement. "...we have not forgotten how lonely and horrible infertility can feel, which is why we thought we’d create something to connect with others who are going through what we went through."
Humour can pave the path to healing, if only we give ourselves permission to laugh.