Now, I'm not one to wear my heart on my sleeve, or my infertility on my clothing. I prefer to share it subtly: by the occasional phlebotomy bruises on my inner elbow, the inexorable widening of my sweatpanted ass, the sudden noisy hiccuping sobs when I'm told someone else is pregnant. But a quick sally into the shops at CaféPress tells me many people feel differently. A search for infertility turns up 269 designs, and while some of them are frankly appalling, some of them are clever and even perhaps appealing, if you don't think your feral snarl upon being asked, "When are you going to make your husband a daddy?" is enough.
I spent the most time at a shop called BabyTalkin'. The products there, say the site's founder, who suffered from infertility herself, are "designed to keep women who are trying to conceive positive and motivated while they’re trying to conceive." With designs from BabyTalkin', "women struggling with fertility issues can focus on a positive state of mind which is so important while trying to get pregnant — especially under difficult circumstances."
I think it's a nice idea. The designs are certainly full of positive messages, I'll give you that. There's "It Only Takes One." "Fertile Thoughts." "Not Yet, But Soon." Then, to my relief, I found a few that dip a cautious toe into snarkiness: "Stop Looking at My Belly," and "Not Yet (But I'll Keep You Posted)." And predictably, because I am, as ever, a cranky, cranky bitch, there are a few that make me shudder: "Baby Dancer"? The only dancing any infertile women I know does entails hopping angrily around the room when her partner hits her sciatic nerve with a goddamned IM needle. "Pre-MILF"? Yeah, what with all the charts and thermometers and ovulation predictor kits and Clomid and catheters and needles and suppositories and bloating, why, every infertile "pre-M" is simply wild about F'ing, you C-sucking son-of-a-B. And "Preheating the Oven"? I will refrain from comment, except to say that the placement of that design and its big red arrow on CaféPress's standard thong is...unfortunate.
It is that design that inspired me — oh, come on, now, don't make that face; you knew this was coming — to create my own designs. While I appreciate and even share the expressed intent of BabyTalkin', to help women "stay motivated and upbeat while on this sometimes bumpy road to conception," I tend to go about it a little bit differently.
Item 1. Snowball's Chance
Frozen embryo, meet uterus. See you in two weeks!
Item 2. Infertile Thoughts
Maybe, just maybe, possibly, theoretically, I wonder, could I be...nnnno.
Item 3. Not Pregnant
Grease stains from drinking salad dressing straight from the bottle sold separately.
4. Everybody Dance Now
Sound effects: breaking glass, low animalistic moan, Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back"
Item 5. Stop in the Name of Love, Before I Break Your Nose
Let's not forget the men, who hurt just like the women do, and presumably are every bit as eager to advertise their own inadequacies.
Item 6. It Only Takes One
Credit cards, or mortgages, or Xanax.
So I worked through these, but then I started to feel somewhat limited by CaféPress's standard offerings. I decided it was time to think big. Why not...
...cheerful, motivational specimen cups, to show how much you care?
...Or giant cotton underpants, just right for those days when you're feeling...you know, not so fresh. (Sold in handy multi-packs.)
...Or even helpful custom-knit informational socks, so that when you're up in the stirrups your health care professional can refresh his memory of you with the quickest flicker of a glance:
I have to say I'm pretty excited about all this. Now who wants to model the thong?