Welcome Mothers, Fathers, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Friends and anyone else who needs an ear...Please come with an open heart.

This is a place for anyone who has felt the loss of a child. Treat this as a communication haven regardless of how or when you felt your loss. My definition of loss: miscarriage at any stage, still birth regardless of week gestation, infant death at any month, and loss of a child even if your child was all grown up. For me they all hold the same root of devestation. None are more profound or more "easily" dealt with than another.

Please cry if you need to.
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Please email me if you feel led to
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Please tell your story

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Broken Thread

This post is long overdue, like the library is demanding money kind of long.

I read Ms. Monkey's post this morning. Don't know her? She's new round these parts, sadly. Go on over and say "Hello, so sad your here". And, that is exactly what her post is all about - the instant induction all us dbm's receive in the club noone wants to join. She also addressed our lack of status via a secret handshake or some other visually recognizeable symbol.

Reading it reminded me of two things. First, THIS post I wrote just after Halloween. Basically, I was saying the same thing - feeling the same thing - craving a way to recognize a fellow suffer. I just focused more intenstly on how we recognize each other. The questions resonated with me so long that Signs and Symbols was in my list for Creme-a-la Creme.

The need for contact, even a smile and a nod of recognition, led me to email the great and all-knowing Mel. Who, using her greatness and all-knowingness, gently showed me that the scarlet mark (as it were - as it is scarlet in nature) already existed. She shared with me this post, "The History of the Common Thread".
And - the symbol above. In her post she describes its purpose.

"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!"

Kudos to all who where involved in the creation of the subtle indicator so conversations may begin and connections be made. I can't even begin to imagine how many have been touched by this small and inexpensive addition to your wardrobe.

However - the more I thought about it the more I wondered about people like me? I never struggled with infertility. I can't wear this thread. For a gentle glance and tentative question, "How long did it take you?" would meet a sheepish answer from me, "Um..well..we weren't even really trying the first time." I don't know which would sting more to the woman hearing these words, the "not trying" part or the "first time" part - indicating that there were more easily conceived either live children or angels in my life.

No - fertility isn't my issue, but loss - deep and tragic loss, the kind that never leaves the marrow of your bones; that is my issue. The fact that life forced me to sit upright in a hospital bed, still bleeding from delivery, and hold a still, dead child - that is the gentle, subtle message I wish to send. To invite other women to open the conversation with a gentle glance and a tentative question, "Who did you lose?" Without hesitation or a non-grammatic filler, I would reply, "Emma Grace. My first. At forty weeks. You?"

So, I am going to pose a question. (**praying intensely that I do not offend or upset any of my TTC friends!**) Could we, the loss parents, wear a modified version of this symbol, to signify loss? I entitled this post, "The Broken Thread", but of course that is more a metaphor than a reality, for if we broke the thread then it would fall of our wrist and we would - once again - be bare wristed - showing the world -well...absolutly nothing.

No, instead I through out a suggestion. What if we picked a thread color to represent loss? Again - small, simple and cost effective and NOT re-creating the wheel! (Oh how I hate recreating that wheel!)

The Pomegranate thread can be worn independently to signal struggles with infertility.

The other thread, I vote for pale lilac* - you?, can be worn independently to signal the loss of a child, at any time during pregnancy.

Or - wear them together and we will know your dual struggle.

I don't want to divide our ALI community. The way we support and love each other's struggles even if we haven't lived through that particular shot, drug, or kind of loss is astounding.

Some suggestions that have already been made are:

1. Pick two colors that go better together.

2. Expand the write-up for the pomegranate thread to explictly include loss.

So - PLEASE comment with your own ideas, suggestions, and feelings. And PLEASE pass this link on to others so THEY can weigh in.


* - "purple lilacs symbolize death"


Martha said...

This so beautiful and touching, words just seem insufficient to express my appreciation for this post. I am in the same situation as you, a "LBD" without IF. I like and support the idea of a lilac thread intertwined with any other color if desired. Thank you Cara Mia.

Hope's Mama said...

Cara I have often had these thoughts. I feel like this is a big pool for me to be swimming in, when the only thing that applies to me is like you, full term loss of my first. Hope was conceived easily on our first try as well. And while after five months I'm not preg again yet, I don't expect it to be TOO hard. I also don't feel right wearing the infertile tag, as it hasn't applied to me yet and I hate to offend anyone it does apply to. I always felt grateful how easy it was to conceive and carry Hope to term and I hope to do it all vey easily again. But like you, just because there are no IF issues, that does not mean I don't feel like I need to wear a badge so the world knows what I've been through. I have been smacked down, kicked and abused. Birthed an 8 pound dead baby, five days past her due date after the most magical and healthy pregnancy. And I lost her because some nurses made some bad decisions, basically. I don't feel like I belong here, but I'm here and there is not much I can do about it. So in a roundabout kinda way, I'm here to say I second the idea for lilac!

N said...

I've wondered that myself, recently, feeling at the same time so at home, and so not, in this community that Mel has so wonderfully helped craft (along with the help of everybody).

I wonder if the infertility mark can be stretched to cover those who were pregnant, but have no living child to show for it, or if that would somehow lessen it for those who never became pregnant, which I certainly wouldn't wish to do.

Michelle said...

This is a great idea Cara. I have often wondered about not only showing my common thread of IF but also if the profound losses I have suffered. I like the lilac. Again you are always so thoughtful.

Ms. Monkey said...


Ahhh...what an intense post. Thank you for your insights and thoughts, and kind words linking you to me (and your blog to my blog).

I'm not comfortable wearing the pomegranate thread, because according to my records, I am not "infertile". I'm RPL, so the idea of "loss" applies to all of us. However, I love the intertwined idea, and I could (excuse the pun) wrap my head (and heart) and that.

Liddy said...

Cara, beautiful idea. I love the lilac color. While, I have never lost a child I can see where your point. HUGS to you and thanks for the comment.

Here from ICLW...No. 3
The Unfair Struggle (male-factor IF, friendship, life on the ice)

Amy said...

As always, thought provoking and thoughtful! I like the idea of the lilac thread...maybe it's something I could work on for our support groups!

Elize said...

I like the idea of a lilac thread. It will go very well with the pomegranite one. Great Idea!

Barbara said...

That's a tough one and I've been thinking about it for a while.

I think I like the idea of us all being in it together. Whether we've suffered through stillbirth late or early miscarriage, several losses or are undergoing fertility treatment in the hope of those two wonderful lines.

You could split the categories into infinity.

In the end it all comes down to the same thing. Motherhood. Our desire for it, our need for it and our road towards it.

So I vote for one colour of thread for all of us who need each other.


Cara said...

Thanks to all of your for your opinions, feeling and insights regarding this question.

As I have said to some of you in email replies, I will be putting up a voting widget sometime today, so PLEASE - come back and vote. If you are reading this thread for the first time - vote.

That said, the "majority" will not necessarily be what we decided to do. This is a philospical matter of many joined hearts, not a democratic vote.

Mel will post on LFCA early next week and we will see what other opinions come our way.

Really - the idea is just to open our minds and hearts to keeping this ALI community WHOLE, while recognizing each other's struggles.

xoxo to all of you

Barbara said...

Thanks for your email Cara and I just wanted to point out to everyone that when I said it was all about motherhoodI went and forgot half of the whole equation: the MEN! Pfsht.

It's all about parenthood.


Kara said...

Wow, great ideas. I happen to be a member of both loss and infertility - lucky me :-(.

I have been thinking of doing the pomegrante thread with a little wheel or metal thingy that we could add a name or date to. BTW, I am not- I repeat-NOT crafty at all so just throwing ideas out there. I have zero talent with being crafty. I also love the lilac color thread and think the two colors go nicely together.

Cassandra said...

I like the idea of intertwining the threads if both IF and loss apply to you, but using only one of the threads if only one applies or if you relate more to one than the other.

Julia said...

I love this question. I am myself subfertile (will likely be called in- by the time we get around to trying again-- my conditions is a progressive one and appears to be moving freight-train style) and a bereaved mother. I vowed to get a pomegranate thread for my subsequent pg, so as to not make anyone's pain worse walking around in the world. It turned out that by the time I was really visibly pg, I ended up on bedrest, and I never did get around to getting the thread. BUT. Since then I got this: designed and made by one of our own. It's kinda expensive now, but I am wondering if it wouldn't become much cheaper if she was to sort of mass-produce them (and now they are also used to fund her cycle, so there may be a bit of a price cushion in that). I asked Chance to put A's name on the underside, and I love how it came out. I actually just blogged it:
The first picture in the post is the underside, and you can see the way the name is written. The other two pics have the front side up, and you can see how that looks.
I was so thrilled when I saw Chance's design, both because it was the first thing I ever wanted my son's name on and because it had the pomegranate string incorporated in.

Please email me if you want to talk more about this. I probably sound like a commercial here, but I am not. I just love that necklace.

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