Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Common Thread

It's something that every "infertile" person deals with. Seeing or talking to a pregnant person. With their cute little belly and their whining about all of the things that go along with pregnancy. But some of those people, statistically, must have had some problems getting pregnant. Right? Miscarriage(s), medications, years of trying, etc...

Thinking along these lines, Mel and her crew at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters came up with wonderful idea for an infertility "secret handshake" so that we could identify and be happy for one another. (Not that I'm not happy for all of the easily pregnant women out there. I would never wish for those who breeze through baby making to deal with the pain some of us deal with. It just stings when they're so whiney and condecending toward me.) Here's a copy/paste from Mel's Blog about the Common Thread Bracelet.

For anyone who has experienced infertility or who is currently experiencing infertility. For anyone who has suffered through pregnancy loss. For those who have conceived naturally, utilized treatments, adopted, used third-party reproduction, or chose to live child-free: a movement.

It all began when Paz lamented that there should be a secret handshake for those who have experienced or are currently experiencing infertility. She was finally pregnant after multiple miscarriages and she wanted infertile women to know when looking at her pregnant belly that she was one of them still--in heart and mind. She was open to questions and to passing along any information she had obtained along the way.This led to a lengthy discussion about a signal we could give one another as well as a tangible object that would invite questions and subsequently discussion about infertility. The conversation jumped from idea to idea--a pomegranate-shaped charm, a Livestrong-esque bracelet--until it finally settled on a simple thread.

With the idea being that it was an item that was easy to obtain no matter where you lived. It posed a minimal cost. It could be ornamented or braided any way the wearer chose. It could be sent through the mail. It was simple. It was discreet. We picked the embroidery floss #814 because it was the colour of pomegranates. Which was one of the fertility symbols considered along the way.

Royalyne stepped forward and got the ball rolling with a write up that we tweaked until it became this statement:

Pomegranates, a longstanding symbol of fertility, serve as a strong analogy to those suffering through infertility. Though each pomegranate skin is unique in colour and texture, the seeds inside are remarkably similar from fruit to fruit. Though our diagnosis is unique—endometriosis, low sperm count, luteal phase defect, or causes unknown—the emotions, those seeds on the inside, are the same from person to person. Infertility creates frustration, anger, depression, guilt, and loneliness. Compounding these emotions is the shame that drives people suffering from infertility to retreat into silence.

In addition, the seeds represent the multitude of ways one can build their family: natural conception, treatments, adoption, third-party reproduction, or even choosing to live child-free.The pomegranate thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through A.R.T., families created through adoption, or couples trying to conceive during infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility.Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware.

Join us in starting this conversation about infertility by purchasing this pomegranate-coloured thread (#814 by DMC) at any craft, knitting, or variety store such as Walmart or Target. Tie it on your right wrist. Notice it on others.

So, I got my bracelet today. My friend Jacki (yet another person I have met throughout this struggle) made it and sent it to me. I immediately tied it on and am hoping to start noticing it on others as well. Thanks Jacki.

cd18=CBEFM still high. Can we just get this show on the road already?!


v said...

Hey. I'm almost coherent. Anyway, can I post the pasted part on my blog? I know that I am not going through what you and others are, but I can help spread the meaning of the thread.

v said...

Holy way to pay attention. This whole time I've been posting, I've been doing it under "Edit HTML" instead of under "Compose." Okay, now I'm excited that I can play with this. I was wondering why things were so difficult. Thanks for the tech support. Also, thanks for the moral support. Friends keep reminding me that I can always get a teaching credential and teach high school or junior high English. I'm still going to apply for the Masters in England no matter what and see how that goes. (How do you like the lack of paragraph structure? I start teaching again in two days. Watch out, students!)

v said...

It just gets more and more exciting! I can change font and font size from "Compose." Why even have "Edit HTML" when all of those choices are under "Compose"? I guess I'll see the difference the next time I post.

v said...

I just realized there's a little cake picture when I comment. This is after realizing that there's a little you picture when you comment. I must have realized at some point before that profile pictures are included with comments, no?

v said...

I was avoiding pictures of me. Not a big fan.

Anonymous said...

You've chosen the perfect fruit in the pomegranate, its physical structure, its varieties (well over 1000 in different parts of the world) and also it's double-edged, joy to sorrow mythic meanings, the famous being Persephone and her dark journey into the underworld where perhaps you wait until that life-force brings you back, and maybe that's where you can focus as you wait for a child. You might add to your reading list a book about the ruby fruit, "Pomegranate Roads: A Soviet Botanist's Exile from Eden" by Dr. Gregory Levin, published by Floreant Press. It's full of beauty and lore and botanical knowledge. Best to all of you, Barbara Baer, Forestville, CA.

R said...

Thank you for the information. What a brilliant idea. Heading to the store tomorrow to buy the thread and make a small bracelet. I will post it on line when it is done.