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What Taylor Swift's Eras Tour Taught Me About Infertility

taylor swift on stage in singapore on eras tour
What Taylor Swift's Eras Tour And InfertilityAshok Kumar/TAS24 - Getty Images

Growing up five hours drive away from my dad, I'd receive an album in the mail from him most weeks. Come Friday afternoon, we would dive into discussions over the landline about the music, its history, and most enchantingly for me, the lore — tales of love triangle guitar duels, the beatnik allure of 1970s New York, sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll (the PG version, of course). I was lucky and loved enough to have most classic pop and rock CDs by the time I hit high school.

That’s where, at lunch, my friend handed me her chunky 2007-era phone. 'Look.' A video played of a singer a couple of years older than me. She had impossibly luscious curly hair and a country twang that felt a million miles from my small-town Aussie school.

In her bestseller Three Women, Lisa Taddeo wrote: 'It rarely is a big deal the first time you meet the next VIP of your life.' I’ve found that to be accurate, but I swear I just knew the moment that friend introduced me to Taylor Swift.

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'Isn’t she beautiful?' my friend breathed as we watched the 'Teardrops on my Guitar' music video. I think I probably shushed her in embarrassment at the honesty.

what taylor swift's eras tour taught me about infertility
Getty Images

Fast forward 17 years, the age of the Eras Tour and Swiftmania, I was 32 and three years into my infertility journey. This began naively, with trying to conceive naturally, before progressing to medication and, finally, 'good old-fashioned' IVF. Now a fully-fledged fan, I listened to Taylor Swift on the way to most of my appointments. AirPods stuffed into my ears, eyes disassociating. The lore was still my favourite part, especially the double meanings hidden in clever turns of phrase and motifs. It provided an escape, a way to momentarily sidestep reality. Like the legends before her—Bowie, Carol King, Fleetwood Mac—Swift's artistry feeds the emotional investment of the listener.

The Eras Tour was my moon landing, my Woodstock, my ultimate Super Bowl — all in one. A precious piece of musical history, just like I’d obsessively read about in my childhood. Yet, for all of my hours on Ticketek, I couldn't get tickets. The harder I tried, the further away they got.

'I know I’m conflating the two. This and the baby stuff, I mean,' I mumbled to my husband as if being self-aware made my distress more reasonable.

Sure, I was aware that the world, even my world, didn't revolve around this predicament — there were work deadlines, money matters, and, you know, the whole planet falling apart on the news. But I couldn’t shake off the conviction that this was a colossal deal, as if my entire existence had morphed into an epic saga over something that might seem trivial to an outsider.

How were some people getting tickets to multiple — even all of the — Australian shows? My brain drew a parallel to the people who lamented how easy it is for them to fall pregnant. 'My husband just looks at me, and I’m pregnant!' 'You can have my kids — take ‘em!' My mind boggled at sunny family bloggers on the internet with their endless broods of toothy-smiled, chubby-cheeked toddlers. How do you have seven cherubic tickets? I only want one! I'd think.

My confused loved ones comforted me with the promise of other concerts. It annoyed me more than being told to 'just relax, and it’ll happen'. 'I thought Taylor Swift was just for kids,' said my bewildered mum. This was in response to my flatly noting that missing out on the Eras Tour was making me reevaluate my life expectations.

what taylor swift's eras tour taught me about infertility
Getty Images

In truth, I felt the hollow ache of time and experience lost. Every year I’m not pregnant, my family gets older, and life moves on. I’m losing sight of a reality where my kids grow up alongside those of my friends.

I was also grappling with the loss of my girlhood, a theme Swift’s storytelling is famous for exploring. Infertility suspends you in limbo-land between the footloose and fancy-free girl and the mature, maternal woman. The IVF side effects, lifestyle changes, and shift of identity felt akin to the death of girlhood a pregnant woman might experience – all without the baby.

I tried not to lower myself to wondering if those lucky enough to get tickets deserved them. Would they be good ticket holders? Responsible concertgoers? Did they even want the tickets as much as I did? Is that person even old enough to have a ticket?! Just kidding (kind of).

Late at night, I watched clips of Swifties with their gorgeous outfits and pored over grainy livestreams of surprise songs. Coverage of the tour played on repeat on morning television in the fertility centre. I tried not to be bitter. I tried not to talk about it too much or to let it become my whole personality. People say that about infertility — don’t be bitter, and don’t let it stop you being you. So, you go to the baby showers — hell, you even throw them. You celebrate a smidge too enthusiastically when an announcement catches you by surprise. And sometimes, you discretely excuse yourself to catch your breath in a bathroom when someone’s happy news digs you in the ribs.

Did I make it to the Eras Tour? No. I watched the concert film at home on the couch with a pretty impressive cheeseboard. I wore my pyjamas over my bruised stomach instead of a sequinned outfit and Ugg boots in lieu of cowgirl boots.

My husband, mum and stepdad watched too. They had learned the lyrics, stories, and history, just like they learned the names of my fertility drugs and the ins and outs of the IVF process.

what taylor swift's eras tour taught me about infertility
Getty Images

'We don’t like Jake because he was particularly cruel,' my beautiful mum earnestly told my stepdad as 'All Too Well (10 Minute Version)' began. 'I would want to go to the concert even if she just played this one song.'

'It’s camp, but it’s meant to be. There are lots of sparkles,' I had self-consciously warned my stepdad moments before hitting play. I needn’t have worried. 'Did you know she used to be a country singer?' he asked genuinely.

We sang, cheered, laughed, and danced in our seats. My husband was the loudest. He even knew some concert chants, a cornerstone of Eras Tour participation. I cried a bit. I cried for the unfairness and FOMO, but I mainly cried for the beauty and camaraderie of feeling so understood.

It wasn’t the MCG or Accor Stadium, but for three hours, my couch was a more perfect, warm, fuzzy bubble of fandom than I could have wished for. It was rare. I was there.

I don’t know if Taylor Swift will tour again or if I’ll be fortunate enough to see her live if she does. I don’t know if I’ll be able to have kids. I don’t know if all the injections, blood tests and two-week waits will be enough, but I know connection is my lifeline. It’s my north star, whether in the form of my loved ones singing off-key on the couch, the saintlike patience of the nursing team at my fertility centre, or the intoxicating humanity of a sold-out stadium crowd.

Life isn’t always fair — neither is Ticketek. Missing out on the Eras Tour underscored the importance of finding joy amid uncertainty. Kids or no kids, tickets or no tickets, life will be wonderful. And it’ll have a Taylor Swift soundtrack.


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