Sunday, 7 August 2011

Stealth Infertility

You know that special moment when, for a bit of escapism, you are watching a film or reading a book and you suddenly realise the author has slipped in an infertility story-line. It isn't a major part of the story, it certainly wasn't flagged by the trailer voiceover or the book jacket blurb.

The author probably thought it added depth and authenticity to a character.

But suddenly your distraction from your inability to breed, comes back and gives you a big old poke in the ribs.


Indulge me whilst I share my top five infertility blinders.


This list does include spoilers, but because the infertility isn't a main topic these revelations shouldn't ruin your enjoyment (in Notting Hill the script manages that all by itself):

The Time Travellers' Wife

One Day

Notting Hill

Hellboy Two


Special mention: Ice Age - Not infertility exactly but I had no idea there was going to be a lost baby in it.


Couple's Retreat

The Moon's A Balloon



As you can see I have high-brow taste in books and flicks.

Have you guys come across any other instances of stealth infertility?


  1. Ahhhh, UP. I was looking through some DVDs a few days ago for something to watch after another horrible beta, I nearly lost it just looking at the cover. Dang that undercover infertility.

  2. Yeah, since my miscarriages there are some things I avoid like the plague because of this. UP being one of them. Also - several episodes of Dr. Who, the first few seasons of Lost, and of course the Time Traveler's wife, which is one of my favorite books (ignoring the existence of the movie). Stupid writers and their stupid attempts to add depth to characters! Urgh.

  3. Apparently Marley & Me also has something about a miscarriage in it. I haven't watched it because of that. I still like Up, even though I cry every time I watch the opening.

    And we just watched Ice Age the other day, and I had forgotten about the lost baby/wife part.

  4. The Help threw in some recurrent miscarriaes just to screw with my head, I think, when I read it about a month after my loss (on the recommendation of my mother who didn't even mention the m/c). I was reading it in an airport at the time and all the blood drained from my face.

    I love time travelers wife (book, refuse to see the movie) but it kills me for the same reason.

    I also love Up but can't watch it without bawling. Which was a problem last week when I got trapped in the back seat of my brother in law's car when he put it in for his kids and ALL we watched was the first 15 minutes! I blamed the chlorine from the pool for my bright red eyes.

  5. I'm with Rebecca - The Help threw me for a loop. I knew instantly where that story line was going. Then I read Jazz by Toni Morrison which also had a minor recurrent loss theme. And I bawled in the movie Julie & Julia at the brief but heartbreaking infertility scene.

  6. Just read Mary Kay Andrews Summer Rental and There's Cake in My Future by Kim Gruenenfelder ... Both "infertility blinders."

    Time Traveler's Wife is also one of my favorites. Have you read Her Fearful Symmetry also by Audrey Niffenegger? Loved it as well!

  7. On the Marley & Me I loved the movie and finally read the book - you don't want to hear his comments on people suffering infertility.....

  8. Yup, in "Marley and Me" the wife has a miscarriage. Also, "Did You Hear About the Morgans" also has some stealth infertility thrown in... as you can see, I have high brow tastes as well. ;-)

  9. Ah, but Did You Hear About the Morgans has the unrealistic happy ending as well.

    UP always makes me cry, sob even. Love the movie though. I was sidestruck by the Time Traveller's Wife, but love dthe book anyway. I never did watch the movie.

    I second Her Fearful Symmetry. I read it last summer and loved it. I'd offer to loan you the book, but my sister has absconded with it and I'm across the pond so that would make getting it to you a bit difficult.

  10. UP hit me so unexpectedly I started blogging...
    Simon Armitage's "The White Stuff" claims to have an infertility theme and then sneaks in such an unrealistic surprise adoption that it's just as well the book stops there.

  11. Blimey, yeah. And soaps! They are surely the worst offenders - surrogacy, infertility, infant mortality, stolen babies, switched babies, whackadoo adoptions: the whole shooting match. Not that I ever watch-
    - oh.

  12. Reading "Sarah's Key" right now and not only is it hard from a historical perspective...but there is some infertility/recurrent loss thrown in as well. BUT...a very good book.

    Yes...just read "The Help" a few weeks ago. My heart broke for that girl. All I kept thinking was that I was soooo happy all my issues were not happening in the early 60's as there would have been no recourse for me...yay for time and modern medicine to give hope to the hopeless!!!!

  13. Damn Pixar. The sobbing went on forever. Well, until the giant bird hit the old man on the head. Then I admit I cracked up.

  14. Sandy in Florida9 August 2011 at 04:39

    Julia & Julia got me too, I was in the midst of so many things and most of all not able to get pregnant. That scene still gets to me.

  15. Yep.
    Grief blind-sides me in movies and songs on a regular basis.
    Both infertility and grief are heartless bitches.

  16. Up absolutely levelled me. I hadn't been expecting it and then, very suddenly, I was on our sofa sobbing. I thought it was beautifully done and I told my husband, "Whoever handled that understood very well what they were talking about..."

    There have been several times that I've been blindsided. It's strange, when it's done well I don't mind it. But when I feel like the subject is being exploited as a narrative twist...that really annoys the shit out of me.

    Loss plays a part in Jane Gardam's book "Queen of the Tambourine". But it was so beautifully and skillfully done that I actually ended up appreciating it. (And, anyway, she's brilliant so I'd pretty much allow her anything).

  17. I have been taking refuge in fluffy romances, and while I know enough to avoid the "surprise baby" ones ( there is a lot of accidentally falling on an erect penis in romance) I have been blindsided unexpected torylines.
    Just read a Julia Quinn novel, she is now on the not to be read until pregnant list as a result of the multiple miscarriage/death in childbirth beginning, plus hero who pretends he is infertile plotline.

  18. I cried like a loon during . Now on the other side of infertility (IVF baby) I watched Marley and Me recently and was quite impressed by the bit in it where J Anniston's character loses a baby.

  19. Add the book "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet" to that list to avoid. me.

  20. Many movies have pointed pins into my poor soft infertile facade. For instance the one that got me bawling a few years' back (and it was meant to be a comedy!) was 'Knocked Up'! (yes I have a high brow taste in movies too). While everyone else was heehawing about this teenage pregnancy movie, I was sobbing my heart out for my missed chances at getting pregnant when I was really young (if only I had started when I was 16 instead of waiting until I was 36!)

  21. UP is very touching and unexpected.

  22. Hellboy Two made me scream with rage. Seriously? Only reason to go on living? Pass me the effin' hemlock, then.

    I loved UP. Made me cry, but should be mandatory watching for certain people.

    Did anyone watch Doctor Who tonight? The 'Night Terrors' episode. Scared me witless, but I actually liked how the infertility thing was handled. The infertile characters as normal, decent, loving, accepting and good, rather than neurotic and creepy and needy and ick. But it still made me twitch and feel anxsty, just in case the script-writer made a mess of it at the last minute and did something crass.


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