The Handmaid’s Tale & Infertility


Can we talk about my most recent TV bender? The Handmaid’s Tale is making me ugly cry on the daily and I need to get it out.


Spoiler Alert: I’m writing about Episode 2.


I don’t get much non-mommy time. But for the last week, when the littles go down for their naps, I am OBSESSED with this show. The first episode was okay. The Mister was out. I had the TV all to myself and thought why not. I could appreciate the new-age adaptation and marveled at the world the writers had built. Having nothing better to do, I let those precious ten seconds slide away and dove right into episode two.


And holy shit. I lost my shit.


The second episode with (SPOILER ALERT) Janine’s baby had so many emotional triggers for me I wound up in a sitting fetal position by the end. If you’ve read any of my blogs you know about my struggle with infertility. Obviously, this makes me relate to the Commander’s wives (evil as some of them are). Infertility is a soul crushing kind of heart break. A defeat that knocks the wind right out of you. I feel for them.


But I also related to the handmaids because, let’s be honest, their lives SUCK. Like some of them, I have also prayed for healthy pregnancies and babies. Agonized over deliveries. And then had that moment of overwhelming relief when my baby cried and I held a perfect pink bundle in my arms. Like the dystopian civilization of Gilead, unexplained infertility makes you second guess EVERY DETAIL about something the female body was created to do.


To have that baby taken away – I can’t even imagine.


And as I sat there watching crazy-ass Janine, a character I hadn’t really identified with at all, I suddenly found myself wanting to hold her in my arms and pray for her.


And THAT is the magic of this series. There is not a single wasted character. Not a single second of storyline that doesn’t bear fruit – sometimes several episodes away. As a writer, I constantly stand in awe of stories that accomplish this.


As a survivor of infertility, I love that, even in a world as bleak as their’s, the show is able to give Handmaid’s and the Commander’s Wives hope. In the form of a precious, perfect baby. In my (admittedly overly emotional) mind, that is the other genius at work. While I usually have a hard time relating to futuristic storylines, the symbol of hope for these characters – as well as for me – is the gift of new life.


There’s a lot wrong with our world. But as a mom – or even someone still traveling their path to motherhood – we can take comfort in the fact that we are the lucky ones. Because we have the chance to make our babies better.


Blessed Be the Fruit.