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The Inevitability of Optimism by Dee Harvey

by Ethan Tussey

“It operates on a kind of faith in the fundamental goodness of life... that your perseverance will pay off.”

The philosophy of How I Met Your Mother is well-described in 'How I Met Your Mother': The Optimism Of Inevitability. The idea that everything that happens is worth it because one day it All Turned Out OK in the End.

In popular culture, this is the dominant narrative - if you want it enough, try hard enough, put yourself through enough rounds of IVF, eventually It Will All Turn Out OK - you will get your baby. Here’s a recent example from Twitter that we didn’t hear about earlier because infertility is private and people mostly don’t talk about it while going through it.

Infertility is frequently a story of ongoing uncertainty, of hope repeatedly denied. You don’t know that it’s all going to turn out OK in the end. It is not inevitable that you will have a baby.

Lewis and Hannah Vaughan-Jones told the story of their IVF treatment as it happened. Their story didn’t have an ending. The irresistible hope meant the story stopped unresolved. Their videos are powerful and emotional in dealing with the uncertainty of infertility.

In June 2019, the Optimism of Inevitability caught up with them and Hannah got pregnant. It All Turned Out OK in the end. The meaning of their videos has been changed by this new context.

I created and directed IF, a virtual reality film about infertility. The film ends, but doesn't tell you whether the couple eventually have a baby. This was crucial to telling a truthful story for me. Infertility is a story that exists in an ongoing present and that is not a story that our media currently does well.

In HIMYM Robin’s infertility Turns Out OK in the end because Ted managed to marry and have children with someone who conveniently died. She gets her children, via a dead woman who doesn’t matter except to allow Ted and Robin to have the family they were always meant to have. What could be more optimistic than that?

Our IVF Diary Ep 9

Our IVF Diary Ep 9 Lewis & Hannah Hello... This is what it's like to go through a round of IVF, in real-time, when we don't know how it will end. My husband (Lewis) and I are going through our seventh IVF round.

from Our IVF Diary Ep 9 (2018)
Creator: Hannah Vaughan Jones
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey