This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the word ‘infertile’. For years it wasn’t a word I wanted to be seen in the same room as. But of late I’ve rather grown to like it. In fact, me and infertile now go for out dinner regularly when we’re not at home on the sofa with a takeaway watching X Factor on a Saturday night.
I mentioned in a previous blog that I’ve recently become a trustee of Infertility Network UK. There’s the word again. However, at our board meeting last week there was a lot of discussion about whether the charity should change its name and, in particular, whether it should ditch the ‘in’ in infertile. The charity’s mission is to provide support and information to those who are having or have had difficulty conceiving. Surely it’s wrong to intimate that all such people are ‘infertile’ and I don’t suppose anyone trying to conceive wants to believe it’s true. I know I didn’t. And even though me and infertile seem to have become good friends these days, I can’t say that we’re really one and the same thing. I have been pregnant. Several times. I’ve just not been able to carry a baby to term. You could call me ‘unlucky’ but ‘infertile’ doesn’t really cover it.
It just goes to show that reappropriation is a complex thing. Whether you’re black, homosexual or childless you have to approach the reclaimation of words with caution. Just listen to this wonderful poem by Dean Atta – I am Nobody’s Nigger – to see what I mean. And then tell me, are you happy to be anybody’s infertile?