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Earlier this week on her new daytime TV talk show "FABLife," an unexpectedly teary Tyra Banks made a balls-out, bold statement about pregnancy and babies: She asserted that having babies, or not having babies, is no one's business unless who you're asking such a question to invites you to make it your business.
Testify, woman. With you here. Thank God someone famous has shouted it on national TV and we seem to be listening. (I guess I tried with my own small effort last week, but I ain't nothin' compared to Tyra.)
"You have no idea what people are going through,'" she said. "Why am I crying? You just have no idea what people are going through, so when you ask Chrissy that or me that or anybody that, it is none of your frigging business, OK?"
Yes, talking about infertility in an open and honest forum is educating and therapeutic for the thousands of women that must face it, but the bottom line remains: Babies are no one's business. I mean, let's make this personal to us here. How many times have you (as a mom) been asked, "So when are you having your third?" or "Do you want to have more kids?" or "You only have one child?" As for myself, I get "Are you going to go for a little boy?" pretty much all the time.
I'll decide if I want to tell you or not, unsolicited.
My answer—just so we have it on record—is no. I'm cool with my two wild angel ladies. We're good. And if I wanted to go for a third (you know, to "get" a boy), I'll decide if I want to tell you or not, unsolicited, depending on how well I know you in the first place. And I've got Tyra to back me up on this. So there.
Photograph by Instagram
Seriously though, my rant here has less to do with Tyra's powerful words and impressive emotional fortitude and more with my own longtime peeves about pregnancy and modern social privacy. I've always cringed at how casually folks like to toss questions about impending pregnancies nowadays. I don't even ask some of my closest friends and family members about wanting babies or trying to become pregnant because, guess what, these kinds of things are private. Anything that involves vaginas and internal organs is private. Period. (And yes, periods are private too, which I guess relates to the whole pregnancy thing in the first place.)
People have struggles. People have issues. People have emotionally difficult things to face in life. Just because a woman might have one child, it doesn't necessarily mean she can have another. Just because a woman seems put-together on the outside, doesn't mean she's not undergoing painful treatments behind closed doors at her doctor's office. All these things are private matters, no matter how harmlessly you might ask. Privacy matters.
Seeing Tyra get emotional like that on television was eye-opening and soul-wrenching. I've never dealt with infertility, but I sat there crying, watching her.
Ah. Privacy. Remember that? It's that thing that we've somehow forgotten existed in this must-tell-all, gossip-driven age of ultra-competitive nonstop breaking news cycles and obsessive social media. I fear we're losing our decency as human beings FAST on account of being desensitized to invading people's privacy. Women, babies and families of all kinds deserve some share of privacy, no matter how much they might work in the public eye. Let's check ourselves. All of us. Me included. Because I miss privacy. (The irony of my perspective almost kills me, considering what I used to do and what I now do for work.)
Seeing Tyra get emotional like that on television was eye-opening and soul-wrenching. I've never dealt with infertility, but I sat there crying, watching her. Nevermind that she's a supermodel mogul businesswoman. She's a woman. Shouldn't we give each other breaks?
The one good thing about Tyra telling us off? We're talking honestly—as women. We're talking about fertility issues. We're talking about privacy. We're talking about how all women face painful chapters in life no matter how unbelievably gorgeous and vivacious they happen to appear on TV. So now that we've talked frankly and openly, let's now remember when it's time to shut up.
Because having babies, or not having babies, is no one's business. Thank you for telling us all off, Ms. Banks. We needed it. And this woman's listening.