Do you ever feel invisible?
One of the difficult things about the festive season is feeling completely invisible around people whose sole focus is family and children. Don’t get me wrong – I love all things ‘family’ for the most part. But put me in a room of ‘family’ where there are a bunch of kids and a bunch of, let’s be honest, insensitive people, then before long all discussion revolves around the kids, what they got from Santa, who got what, who wants what, whose gift is the best.
Now I know I don’t need to tell you what this feels like because I know you have been there!
And this Christmas has been no different. No matter how prepared we may be, there is always the possibility of what I call the ‘unsolicited attacks’ where being childless renders us completely invisible and hurting. A lot.
Again, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about because you have been there too. This is classic involuntary childlessness, yes?
Why Our Awareness Ribbons are so important
This is the reason why our awareness ribbons are SO important! These ribbons are kind of like a signal to the world that we matter, that our feelings count, that invisibility is oftentimes, a product of extreme insensitivity. Our ribbons say to the world what is on our mind and tip-of-tongue but neatly packaged into something polite.
Our awareness ribbons help to reinforce at a symbolic level first and foremost our ‘shared grief and silent bond,’ our sisterhood, and it makes what is hidden into something visible.
What the Orange Infertility Awareness Ribbon Means
In the following post, Not So Mommy… Founder and PLICA Ambassador Extraordinaire Brandi Lytle shares her reflections on the power in the colour of the infertility awareness ribbon, which is orange, and how this colour has been a central and powerful theme throughout her journey through infertility and involuntary childlessness as she moves through grief and learns how to find joy in her life once again.
Awareness Ribbons for the Childless Community: Infertility
By: Brandi Lytle, of Not So Mommy...
POSSIBLE TRIGGERS: Discussion of Christmas, failed treatments, family photos, and more...
I adore the PLICA emblem, which incorporates three different awareness ribbons--one of them, the orange Infertility Awareness Ribbon. I also adore the color orange. Truly, I love orange so much that it is a featured color on my Christmas tree. No, I'm not kidding. No red and green for me. Ornaments in burnt orange, chartreuse green, and chocolate brown adorn my tree. But I digress...
I got to pondering why I love the color orange so much. And I think it goes back to our infertility battle. After our first failed treatment, my hubby sent me flowers, an orange cross, and a card that promised, "It will happen for us!" I didn't realize it at the time, but my love of orange began then.
Isn't that strange? When I think back on that difficult and heartbreaking moment, I don't feel the pain, but rather the love. And all because of an orange cross...
Years later, after starting Not So Mommy... (my blog), I learned that the Infertility Awareness Ribbon is orange. And the cross my husband gave me so many years ago became even more special. At the time, he had no idea orange represented infertility awareness. He chose the cross simply because he thought I'd like it. Learning the symbolism of its color... Well, I call that a "God Thing."
That orange cross still hangs in our home. It's actually in what we lovingly call our "snug." (My husband and I adore England and borrowed this term from our friends across the pond!) The cross is displayed on the same wall as photos of our exchange daughter, nieces, nephews, fur babies, parents, grandparents, friends, and more... In the center of those black and white photos is one in color that says, "Happily Ever After."
When I received the orange cross (two years into a ten-year infertility battle), my husband's note promised, "It will happen for us!" Well, it did happen for us! Just not how I expected. But as I've accepted, embraced, and redefined, I've found joy despite...
A devastating moment.
An orange cross.
A symbolic color.
Infertility is a complex journey indeed. And one that does not always end with a little. But that doesn't automatically mean we don't get the "happily ever after." It just means we must change perspective in order to discover our joy...
Read more in the “Awareness Ribbons for the Childless Community” Series by clicking below...
The next post in the "Awareness Ribbons for the Childless Community" Series will be published March 2021.
Brandi Lytle, founder & owner of Not So Mommy... and creator of the olive green Childless Not By Choice Awareness Ribbon, is a wife, dog mom, aunt, host mom, infertile woman living an imperfectly perfect life in South Carolina, USA with her husband, Dane, and fur baby, Maddie. She is redefining what momhood means to her and strives to focus on the bright sides of being childless. Her hope is to inspire others to accept, embrace, and redefine—discovering a Plan B that brings them joy!
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