in Advocacy, Hissues, Latest

Whose Line Is It Anyway?


First and foremost, a well-deserved soft hug and congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Cannon.  The pregnancy rumors were confirmed last week when Mariah revealed to Access Hollywood that she and Nick are due in the spring. If you didn’t see it…check it out below.

There are so many directions to go with this story, that I guess I’ll have to cover them all, or at least brush over them.

First and foremost, I’m pondering who decides what is and isn’t a “fertility struggle”?   Does the customary yearlong attempt stand as the primary gauge?  Does the couple or individual who is ttc have the final say on whether or not theirs was in fact a fertility battle?  As I was reading the news reports that accompanied the Access Hollywood footage, I was kicked in the stomach when at the end of the stories, the journalists all noted how the couple made reference of their having conceived naturally.  Seemed simple enough on a first-read, but after the third article, I felt myself get that old familiar advocacy hat out of the bag.

Why was it necessary for them to stress the fact that the Cannon’s conceived without the use of fertility aids?  What the hell did that mean?  Was mentioning that, their way of saying, “Oh, and don’t worry, they aren’t the weird infertile people who use their money and medicine to tilt God’s hand in their favor?”  I know, I’m being a bit extreme, but these are the things we as advocates have to pay attention to.  Stressing the fact that this pregnancy came “naturally” could be used to have an adverse effect on the couples who do need infertility treatments.

Also, contrary to belief, Mariah’s diligent use of acupuncture, which she plainly discusses in the interview, IS being considered a fertility aid by many these days, so what does that say about the “no fertility aid” stance?  Along with the acupuncture therapy, Mariah also divulges her having been prescribed Progesterone for the cycles leading up to this pregnancy as a result of complications that arose after her miscarriage.   If you are unfamiliar with what Progesterone is used for, it is a natural female reproductive hormone.  It is administered as a fertility aid when the body is not producing enough of it naturally to develop a thick uterine lining for a fertilized egg to implant.  So…that being said,…YES, the Cannon’s conceived “naturally”, but only for the most part.  Which leads me back to my original issue; who decides whether or not their two-year situation is considered infertility?

I believe it is a hard road to pave.  There are many potholes and bumps to neatly pack the entire thing away under one label.

BUT, I am adding the Cannons to our picture reel over there —->


Because she and Nick are a beautiful example of the support a couple needs from each other when dealing with the medical, physical and emotional strains of (albeit very, very mild) fertility issues.  The support that he has shown via his Twitter posts and media in defense of his wife as they walked this quiet journey should be applauded.

I recently spoke at a symposium here in Chicago.  After the panel was over, two African Americans from the audience came to speak to me.  One, a mother who was desperately trying to find a way to connect and help her daughter, who was dealing with infertility.  Another, a young man who’s first question to me was, “Do men ever speak out to you?”  His question was both sad and motivating for me.  Sad, because what he was inferring was true.  Not many men are willing to speak out about infertility in the minority community, unless they are a physician themselves.  Motivational because it reminded me of the group I desperately wish to reach.  Seeing men like Nick Cannon not only absorb the blow for his wife, but support her decisions openly and without apology was a breath of fresh air and a step of advocacy for the unheard men who are doing the very same.  So many partners take on the heartache of reproduction issues.  They stand in the gap, provide the crying shoulders and are PRESENT.  Their banner should be raised and Nick Cannon has done an excellent job of lifting it up.

“If & when my wife is ready to make ANY announcements about private matters she will do it personally.” – @NickCannon – via Twitter – Jun 2, 2010

“My heart goes out to any woman who has to deal with public scrutiny and speculation pertaining to their private life REAL TALK!” – @NickCannon via Twitter – June 2, 2010

Finally, my last impression is one that I’ve shared with The Egg before.  This idea of what is and isn’t public domain knowledge is detrimental to where we go as advocates in infertility.  There is a very, very thin line between my being grateful for Mariah and Nick finally sharing their news, so that it can reach those who need it, and my believing it was somehow our “business” or “right to know”. The push for advocacy has to walk the narrow tightrope of convincing our silent community that there is no embarrassing or stigmatic reason for their silence, while also respecting their right privacy.  “You don’t have to tell us all your business, but thanks if you do”, is the thought process I’ve been trying to navigate for a while now.

I am grateful for Mariah speaking out, ecstatic that she was forthcoming about the miscarriage and medication, but adamant that media STOP DIGGING THROUGH THE UTERI OF PUBLIC FIGURES.  Perhaps if they do, we can get more celebrities who will be willing to share and support.  Stalking celebs for the inner-workings of their fallopian tubes, and hiding in fertility clinic dumpsters for the chance to break the news to the world, is not only tacky, but it takes the fertility community far too long to bounce back from.  Give THAT a rest.  When there are constant speculations on the uses of fertility drugs or doctors, the image portrayed to the world is that using these resources should be attached to a taboo.  When we establish that, we set the stage for all types of ignorance and misunderstanding about what new millennium fertility really is.

Overall, as a site that supports and believes in the creation of strong, healthy families, I am proud to see that the Cannon’s have finally gotten their chance to have one.


Regina Townsend is the primary author and founder of TheBrokenBrownEgg. A librarian and writer, Regina’s mission is to make people aware and active about the unique concerns of reproductive health in the minority community.

1 Comment

  1. monique

    thanks for touching on this b/c it pisses me off that like jlo mariah and nick are acting like fertility treatments didnt help them conceive. why hide it wth is wrong with needing science to have a baby. ughhhhhh

    12 . Jan . 2011

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