Rhetoric, Christmas Cards, and Infertility:
A Season of Silence

Kristin L. Arola

When I first saw the call for the special issue on family rhetoric, I found myself feeling left out. While I am a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, and a wife, in spite of many years and dollars spent trying to be a mother, I am unable to do so. I do not have my own family. As I contemplated my own rhetoric of “the family,” holiday cards began to pile up. Card after card, letter after letter, all about kids—kids I do not have. Suddenly it occurred to me, I did have something to say about family rhetoric, about who gets included and excluded in our notions of family. I also realized I needed to revise my own understandings of family. This short essay is my exploration of the intersections between family, rhetoric, and infertility.

Kristin L. Arola (arola.kuurola.com) is an assistant professor of Rhetoric, Composition & Technology at Washington State University, where she directs the Digital Technology and Culture program.