Whitney and Spencer Blake want to make one thing clear: the "infertility announcements" they posted on their blog are supposed to be funny.
Although the topic of infertility is a sensitive one, often kept secret from even those closest to us, it's something the couple is hoping to shed a bit more light — and a few laughs — on. Before ultimately adopting two sons, Whitney and Spencer navigated the painful road of fertility treatments while watching loved ones start their own families.
"We'd been talking about how it feels to hear pregnancy announcements and thought it might be funny to create our own versions," she said of their series of side-by-side versions of the most traditional photo ops. Read on to see all six of their spoofs and to find out how the happy parents found humor in their darkest hours.
POPSUGAR: While you were struggling, what was it like to see a pregnancy announcement pop up on Facebook?
Whitney Blake: To be honest, pregnancy announcements were one of the hardest parts of infertility. 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 makes you feel ugly sometimes. You feel ugly on the inside for feeling jealous, and you feel ugly on the outside because you can't make a baby. You feel unfeminine and broken and somehow less than what you should be.
The rational side of me knew I was still a wonderful person whose worthiness isn't tied to my ability to make a baby. But the emotional side of me sometimes felt pretty defeated, especially when I was trying desperately to be happy for someone else's good news.
PS: You clearly have seen the lighter side of infertility in hindsight. What was it really like in the thick of it?
WB: Even in the midst of all of the heartache, we definitely found plenty to laugh about. In the middle of our struggle and the heart of our childless years, I made an infertility board game as a joke. I think it sums up pretty well some of the ways we used humor as a coping mechanism.
PS: How did you manage to keep a sense of humor throughout all this?
WB: I relied on Spencer a lot. He has this rare talent for listening to my struggles and validating my feelings while at the same time finding a way to make me laugh, even in the stressful or sorrowful times. I remember one time, when we had to drop off a semen sample at the doctor's office, the receptionist told us, "OK, that will be $200 for the sperm bath." Spencer very matter-of-factly replied, "What, were they dirty?" He's a funny one.
Spencer Blake: Most of the things you read online about infertility come from women's point of view — for obvious reasons — but there aren't as many men's perspectives on the subject. One of the ways I've been able to cope is being somewhat open about it, with my wife's encouragement. Not that I try to overshare or get too personal about it, but I think Whitney had a very healing idea in having us carefully share our struggles with people close to us.