Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Listening to the Words: Laura Bush and Carly Rae Jepsen

If you've ever read an infertility blog, you are most likely familiar with the following quote from Laura Bush:

The English language lacks the words to mourn an absence. For the loss of a parent, grandparent, spouse, child or friend, we have all manner of words and phrases, some helpful some not. Still we are conditioned to say something, even if it is only “I’m sorry for your loss.” But for an absence, for someone who was never there at all, we are wordless to capture that particular emptiness. For those who deeply want children and are denied them, those missing babies hover like silent ephemeral shadows over their lives. Who can describe the feel of a tiny hand that is never held?

If you ever listened to the radio in 2012, you are certainly familiar with the song "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen.

I realized this week when I heard "Call Me Maybe" for the millionth time that she highlights in her lyrics the same problem that Mrs. Bush points out so eloquently. This is incredibly silly, but stick with me here. She sings, "Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad, you should know that I missed you so, so bad." That phrasing bothers me everytime I hear it, because before someone came into your life, how could you "miss" them? You didn't know them yet!

For the first time, though, it struck me that Carly Rae is just a victim of the same problem that Laura Bush describes. There's no word that works properly in that sentence, and "missing" someone is as close as it gets.

Thanks, pop radio, for that insight into infertility and language. I shall now sing "Call Me Maybe" in my car with slightly less shame and irritation. :)



  1. I started to leave you a very long comment, but I think it should be it's own post. So, I will say, yes, I agree (and yes, I too now feel much less guilt about loving that song).

  2. DH and I tried to analyze that song when we heard it one time and we thought the same thing! Now I understand it and will explain it to my DH so he can let me listen to the cheesy song :)

  3. Soo...this is incredibly embarrassing but by the time I woke up from baby stupor this summer this song was in full force. And I would sing it to Sam, precisely because of this line. And my husband thought I was ridiculous. But I loved this line and Sam reacted well to me singing it so, I totally loves this post :-)

  4. I don't know if I've ever heard that song (I ignore it a lot; not because I don't like it but it's the kind of song that gets stuck in your head and I hate that) but I love that line, and I know exactly what it means.