TTC = a Heart with a Hole

Posted in Infertility on June 28, 2011 by Gail Sexton Anderson

As I prepared my last blog post, I was searching on iStockphoto for the perfect picture to symbolize the stages of mourning intended parents must go through when they are dealing with infertility.  I decided to key in the word "infertility" in the search box to see what might come up.

What I saw was not infertility graphically displayed in photos but, ironically, all of the photos were of pregnant bellies, anatomically correct human eggs being fertilized by sperm beautifully amplified under a microscope’s lens, as well as many other signs of fertility.  The closest thing to a depiction of infertility might have been a photo of a thin woman's belly.

It seems that there is no way to visually depict infertility.  Or is there?  Is there no way to show the absence of fertility?  Is there no null sign that represents those who are desperately trying to conceive, commonly referred to in infertility circles as TTC?  I tried keying in the letters TTC.  What I found was pictures of transportation via trains and subways with lots of long empty terminals.

In some ways those photos may represent infertility fairly accurately in that most of the pictures were long, lonely looking terminal benches with trains whizzing by in a blur. A few shots had single individuals passing through alone and anonymous much like many intended parents may feel at one time or another on their road to building a family.

I finally decided to find my own way of depicting what infertility looks like.  I couldn't post a collage of the hundreds of intended parents I have worked with over the years in their various stages of mourning to acceptance through their journey to parenthood. So, I chose a heart with a hole in it.  That is how most intended parents feel at one time or another.  But I also looked up hope and saw a light at the end of a tunnel. This seems to fit well with the subway terminals. The good news is infertility is not terminal and there are many ways to fill that hole and to reach the end what may feel like an endless tunnel.  But everyone has to walk through that tunnel to get to the other side and find what brings light into their world.

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