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What American Idol Taught Me

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A blog by Mrs. Tiye, founder of The Broken Brown Egg, August 11, 2010

It was about 8 p.m. here in Chicago, when my phone rang. I never would have expected my cousin to make the request she did. She wanted me to get up at 5 a.m. and drive her and my sister to Milwaukee for American Idol auditions.

Now, the fact that I was not about to sleep anytime soon, was irrelevant. Why on Earth would I want to get up from my comfy “writing chair” just to drive 90 minutes east for these two chicks to register? Not even audition, just register!? Um, no, I thought, but of course I agreed.

Being Supportive

Driving them to registration soon morphed into being the chaperone for an unexpected overnight stay. From there I became referee of two over-emotional 20-year-olds, vocal coach and shopping consultant, as they chose their “audition outfits.” While I was actually beginning to enjoy myself and adopt their excitement, I secretly began kicking myself for not bringing my laptop and getting more “infertility work” accomplished. However, sometime before dawn, as I sat with them on the ground in a line circling Milwaukee’s Bradley center, I began to see where this mini-vacation was important to my work as an advocate.

For those unfamiliar with American Idol procedure, here’s a brief e-course. First, you register with the producers and get a wristband. This wristband certifies you a spot in the auditions and any guests you want to hang out with you must also get a wristband of a different color to allow their entry into the building. The next day, you and your supporter(s) come back and get in line at the crack of dawn to get into the venue. For the next two to 12 hours, you wait for your chance to audition with the producers. As I looked around at the other gray “supporter” wristbands around me, I was totally fired up about my work in infertility.

A Metaphor for Infertility

Though most of us know that Idol is really a search rather than a contest, and therefore an area where the good guys don’t always win, for that one person who sings to live, this show is a chance at greatness. Much like most of us dealing with infertility feel when we keep pushing for a chance at parenthood. These brave souls put everything on the line to audition for a chance at their dreams. Very similar to how we put ourselves through these trials just to achieve something that others get often without trying.

Sitting with them on the ground, in the line and cheering from the stands is the support system. A great example of what we infertility advocates do every day: They shout, “YOU CAN DO THIS!” We make it plain, “I’VE GOT YOUR BACK!” And just like when people who really can sing lose their spot to someone who instead decided to show up dressed like a giant toothbrush, we boo when someone’s insensitive comment or “oops pregnancy” announcement crushes feelings.

Though my cousin and sister didn’t get a “golden ticket,” I’m glad I could be there with them to cheer them on and offer encouragement. Lord knows, I’m glad I have this amazing infertility community to support me when my golden ticket passes by each month.

Who is your support system? How do you support the infertility community?

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