relating to the storyline on friends

June 2017

Eric and I are watching through Friends again–I have lost count of how many times I have watched through the series, on top of how often I just turn it on in the background while I am cooking or working on a mindless task like putting stamps on Christmas cards or folding laundry.

This might be the first time in the past couple of years that I have watched the later seasons, though. And while the majority of the episodes are light-hearted, I was struck with the weight of the episode we watched the other night–”The One With The Fertility Test.”

Obviously, this holds a weight in my heart because of our story. I may not have thought as much about it when I was in college watching it for the first time, but now it feels much more relatable.

For the rare few of you who have missed out on this show, Chandler and Monica have been trying for a year to get pregnant, unsuccessfully, so they go to get some fertility tests done. In prior episodes on the show, we saw the beginning fun of “trying”–constantly having sex, especially when she knew she was ovulating, and other funny moments ensue like Chandler testing out her ovulation prediction sticks.

As their timeline continues, you can see that their attempts to get pregnant become a stressor in their relationship, something that somewhat controlled their time, as one would pretend to not be mad at the other so that they could attempt to conceive before revealing that there was conflict that needed to be dealt with.

It’s presented in a light-hearted and funny way, true to the nature of the show, but when they find out the results of the fertility testing, the episode ends on a heavier note, and I found my own heart a little wrenched as they discover that there are issues with both of them.

The least realistic part is the comedic part of that episode, of Chandler having to collect his “specimen” in the doctor’s office. Thankfully, they let you do that at home and bring it in, so Eric and I have always done what we can to make the part more fun for him. Of course, that process can be comedic as well, as the first couple of times we did that, I brought his collected sample to the lab for him. You have to keep it body temperature as much as possible, so I drove to the doctor’s office with the plastic cup secured inside my bra, praying that there was no need for a cop to pull me over.

In the next episode, they meet with their doctor in his office and discuss their options. I always wondered if doctors actually had offices with desks and diplomas, until we ourselves met with a specialist to discuss our options and next steps. We sat across from him as he looked over digital records and images, taking notes in his computer; it was a surreal moment.

Of course, the options that their doctor gives them don’t quite make medical sense; they seem to be more created for the continuance of a humorous plot line (like considering Chandler’s work colleague played by John Stamos for a sperm donor). It is a TV show, after all, and not a documentary on infertility.

It helps to have an outside perspective and laugh at the funny moments that are a part of this journey. And it’s neat to see such a specific storyline portrayed in a TV show–I think that’s probably a huge part of the success of shows like Parenthood, but it’s more rare in a sitcom, I think.

I don’t know that we are at a place where adoption is our next step. We have another round of tests for Eric and will hopefully then be able to schedule my laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. But, if that is where the Lord leads us down the road, I am sure I will have more to write on relating to Chandler and Monica’s adoption journey.