The History of Infertility's Common Thread
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.
Paz also created a write up that people could place on blogs, bulletin boards, and email forwards:
For anyone who has ever had a miscarriage, struggled with pregnancy, and all things infertile…there is a movement upon us that you might want to join. It’s rather simple actually: a discreet ribbon on your right wrist to signal to others that they are not alone in their struggles.
As someone who has had 5 m/c but am currently 5 months pregnant (YEAH), I wonder who looks at my big belly with sadness because they are in the month-to-month struggle. I mentioned to a friend that I wished there was some secret nod or international sign as if to say, this belly was hardwon. Well, she posted this quandary on her blog (http://www.stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/) and the response has been quite overwhelming…and a movement has been born!
The pomegranate-colored 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 any means, natural or A.R.T., families created through adoption or surrogacy, or couples trying to conceive during infertility or secondary 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 purchasingthis 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. Just thought I would pass the word along!
Lastly, we have a graphic people can add to their side bars in order to get the word out (and create a link to this post or a similar one so people understand what Infertility’s Common Thread is about). Feel free to take and place on your blog or create your own in order to get the word out to others:
and please add a link back to this post: http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/2006/09/history-of-infertilitys-common-thread.html.
Read more about the brainstorming that went on to create Infertility’s Common Thread and the many people who brought it to fruition through comments, discussion, and write-ups:
The Secret Handshake
Raise Your Right Hand
Common Thread Project