Show the Negative: A Movement to Support the 1 in 8

My WHY: During our first few years of infertility, I felt like I could drown in negative pregnancy tests. Basically, we single-handedly supported the creator of Clearblue for several years. Not like they’re hurting without our current proceeds. . . anyways, I digress. To see negative after negative test was so incredibly disheartening. This experience is not what I saw on their commercials. You know which ones I’m talking about, too. The one where a happy and put together couple sits on the bathroom floor anxiously waiting for the pregnancy test to calibrate and give them their results. As the pretty, pampered little lady reaches for the test, she gasps and covers her mouth with tears in her eyes and a big smile upon her face. She shows the test to her husband and they share a warm intimate embrace- they’re PREGNANT!
To someone battling infertility, these commercials seem like a smack in the throat. Not even in the face, but the freaking throat. A smack in the face is something that you can quickly recover from and react appropriately. A smack to the throat will leave you speechless for a bit and you need some time to gather your thoughts before you can even stand up straight.
I hate these commercials- if you can’t already tell. But if I’m being honest with you, it’s not just the commercials. It’s the WHOLE epitome of our culture that makes women think that getting pregnant is seamless and easy. In middle school, we had sex education and they told us horror story after horror story about people contracting an STD and how dangerous it could be to have unprotected sex with multiple people. I feel like that was their focus. But what about education on infertility, miscarriages, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, etc.? Heck, it wasn’t even brought up or discussed at any of my OBGYN appointments until I brought it up to my doctor and by then, it was too little too late.
My point here is this: infertility isn’t talked about. It’s been a taboo topic for a really long time and I’m not sure why. My only reasoning comes down to the fact that previous generations liked their privacy or, in turn, didn’t want to discuss things that were “wrong.” To which, I can fully understand. Some people are not willing to share the intimate details of their life and that’s totally fine. But at the same time, I don’t think that people affected by things like infertility should suffer in silence. I believe that there should be resources, communities, and assistance available to those who endure these trials in life. Maybe if the conversation wasn’t so taboo, more people would be open to discussing their experiences.
I’ve seen a lot of shame, guilt, and loneliness associated with infertility. Heck, I've experienced ALL of that myself, and to be totally honest, it’s a sucky stigma to be a part of.
I felt shame because I felt like there was something “wrong” with me. Why couldn’t I get pregnant? It must’ve been something that I did. Why was everyone else able to get pregnant when I couldn’t? I’m the only one who is going through this.
I experienced guilt because I wasn’t able to do what I was created to do- get pregnant and provide a baby for my husband. I couldn’t give my husband the one thing that he wanted and because of my inability to get pregnant, I was failing him as a wife.
I was lonely. So incredibly lonely. No one else was going through this. No one else understood what I was going through. No one else could help me, comfort me, or give me advice. Instead, people just continued to constantly harp on the known fact that we’d been married for some time and we should be having babies. All I knew was that other people were constantly able to do what I could not and it made me feel alone and abandoned.
This is my WHY. I know these feelings deeply because I’ve been there and honestly, I’m still recovering from it. I know how it feels to be uneducated and underprepared. I would never wish this on anyone in the world, but the fact is- it’s still happening. The number of infertile couples is only continuing to rise and I cannot idly sit by and watch as others drown in the same mess of confusion and pain that I endured myself.
My WHAT: So I say all of that, but what the heck am I gonna do about it? I’m going to raise my voice and continue to come alongside those in need with unending support.
I want to create a movement called, “Show the Negative.” A movement that was sparked by seeing those very same commercials that I spoke about at the beginning of this written plan.
When I would see those commercials, something inside of me would flip and I’d shout, “SHOW THE NEGATIVE” because I was sick and tired of watching perfectly put together couples receive what I so deeply wanted. The fact that they were put together was another punch to the ego because I sure as hell never looked that way when taking a pregnancy test. I straight rolled up out of bed, dragged my sleepy butt to the bathroom, battled with the stupid test wrapper for what felt like hours because I’m simultaneously trying not to pee, and finally plopping onto the toilet to take the test. Our mirror was on the wall opposite our toilet so I had the loveliest view- a half sleepy Stephanie, sitting on the pot with saggy jammies and a night breath that could kill.
I’m sick and tired of this culture that expects perfection and when the perfection doesn’t present itself, it’s seen as a flaw. I believe that the thought of perfection is flawed because there’s just no such thing. I want to break the stigma associated with infertility. And when I say “break” I don’t mean like a small crack on your windshield from an unknown source. No, I want it to break and snap like a rubber band so that it can never be put back. I want our community to be adequately represented in society. That means in sex education, in commercials, in TV shows, in books, in ALL the things.
But for now, I’m going to start where I can and do what I can. So to start, this is what I’m wanting to do:
I want to create a t-shirt and a sweatshirt that promotes the “Show the Negative” movement.
10% of the proceeds for each shirt will be given to a charity that supports infertility in some way. Whether it be financial assistance, resources, or other forms of available help for the infertility community.
My hope and desire for this project and movement is that when someone wears their shirt out in public, it will spark a conversation. Whether it be waiting in line at the coffee shop or at the gas station. We will also encourage people to share their shirt/sweatshirt in a post on social media to help raise awareness for the #1in8 and Show the Negative Movement. Our goal here is to get the conversation GOING. By beginning the conversation and creating a space for people to feel comfortable sharing their journey, it will help create an atmosphere of acceptance.
Why a Shirt/Sweatshirt: When you’re going through infertility and you have so many appointments and you’re on so many medications, the last thing you want is to be in tight, “fancy” clothing. You want to be as comfy as you can, whenever you can. A comfy tee and sweatshirt are perfect for those days. My hope is that whenever a woman wears her item, she feels a warm embrace from a community that supports her through and through.
Also, this is stemming from who I am as a person. I am not the fancy shmancy type of girl. If the occasion allows me to wear a big tee or sweatshirt with some leggings, I’m gonna do it. It’s what I feel comfy in and I would never create or endorse a product that I wouldn’t want or use myself. Beauty is not found in the intricate design of a piece of clothing that costs $$$$$$. Beauty is found in the WOMAN and as long as she is comfortable and happy in her own skin, that is what is most important.
My point in saying all of this comes down to this: you don’t have to be fancy to make a change. You can make a change from where you are, starting with your own spherical realm of influence. Stay true to who you are and share with authenticity, that will go a lot farther than trying to dress up to be someone you’re not.
Show the Negative is a movement created to raise awareness and give back, but more importantly- it's made as a reminder to let you know that you're not alone.
From one infertility sis to another, we're in this together!