Monday, October 4, 2010

On the importance of underwear

This post speaks to my European roots.  It has to do with clothing, not so much with the fashion behind clothing, but rather with the spirit behind our daily action of "putting something on".  And, of course, like everything else in my life, it has to do with infertility and loss.  If it seems like I am not concentrating properly, it is because I have three birds pecking at my computer.  This one here is Gracie, a very neurotic albino cockatiel.  She has an anxiety disorder.  It took her one year to come close to my computer, so I don't have the heart to chase her away.  

Underwear is special in that most of the time, it is not seen by the large public, the way boots or hats are. A nice thong will be hidden from view for anyone other than yourself and your significant other.  A lot like our souls, I like to think.  Only those very intimate with us can really get to see them, touch them, appreciate them.  Not to mention that, for most people, there will be many, many days when there is no one else out there to notice either thoughts or lingerie.  

In the infertile woman's soul, there are a lot of negative voices that speak volumes about the sense of being feminine, of being sexy, of belonging to the female half of the race.  I know for myself, when I was not getting pregnant and the whole village was, including my friend's cat, I heard the Voice (you remember the Voice) telling me that I perhaps should reconsider my gender identity, since duh, real women get pregnant and have babies.  Even real female cats do.  When I lost Adrian, I got another strong background chanting session from the Voice, who let me know that look, it is absolutely confirmed and without a doubt that I WAS NOT A REAL WOMAN!  

Poor MrH had to fight the Voice if he wanted to have his cute feminine wife back, because I had strong urges to wear ugly pants with granny underwear that did not match my bra.  I even bought granny underwear from Wall Mart, because I felt a strong need to match the briefs with the critical paragraphs in my head.  I don't need to tell anyone here what this kind of attitude does to one's sex life.  

After years of failing month after month at doing what the cat had no trouble doing in one night of feline passion, I have decided that I wanted the old me back, the feminine, elegant me.  I went back to my previous sexy lingerie and made myself wear it whether I felt like it or not.   I refused to leave the house if my bottoms and my bra did not match.  I insisted on wearing skirts and boots, a much more feminine look than the good old pants and loafers.  I accessorized.  I ironed.  I religiously put make up on even if I was planning on spending a whole Sunday in bed.  And every single day, I did my hair.  

Does this work?  It worked for me, and I suspect it would work for anybody.  How can a simple piece of fabric change the way we feel about ourselves?  It is there, at all times, as a reminder that no matter what the Voice might say at that particular time, there is one part, however small, that still believes that we are feminine, that we are worth taking the effort to give ourselves the best.  

For anyone who has had a recent negative test result, a failed IVF, a miscarriage, or who is struggling with the critical Voice comparing her to the cat, the cow or the pregnant sister in law, please take my advice, at least for a few days:  Wake up before noon.  Take a shower.  Do your hair.  Put mascara on.  Cover your dark circles with some concealer.  Spritz on some perfume if you wear it.  And by all means, wear the best, sexiest, most comfortable, most divine pair of underwear.  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Mrs H, you have definitely found your calling. Amongst your sadness and frustration, you are managing to see some of it with humour. I think this is a great thing. If you are on bed rest at some point down the line, you will have to make this a daily ritual. I'm sure your blogs will be fewer and far between once you're back at work. Take care and have a FABULOUS day :)

  3. I went through the same underwear stage too. I figured, "well, the rest of me is defective, so why should I even try?". I have just recently (after counseling sessions with my husband) realize the effect it has on him and how it makes him feel, and now I "dole" myself up daily (for him) even if I don't feel like it.

  4. for him? for you? is there a difference anyway?

  5. Wonderful post and a topic that I think a lot of us don't talk about, but all experience. I too am just getting back into the sexy underwear and it does seem to make me feel a bit better. BTW, love your neurotic cockatiel, very cute!

  6. This is great advice. I hate feeling like I cannot relate to the majority of women. I am an adoptive mother and will never understand breast feeding, etc. blah blah. But amazingly I still feel feminine. I wish my body would work but I have come to terms with the fact that my ovaries and uterus are simply collecting dust. wElcome to blogging.

  7. Here from Creme:

    I will agree wholeheartedly that the amount of effort we put into looking like a "human" can go a long ways. There have been days and weeks where I just...didn't care, didn't feel good, blah blah blah. Hop in and take a shower - and suddenly feel human again! They have amazing recuperative abilities. I have yet to get beyond the point of "I feel like crap, going to shower" to "I should wear sexy stuff and do my hair and makeup" but...maybe someday!

  8. After my first miscarriage, I attempted to go this route. I had some retail therapy. I went to get my hair cut and dyed at an expensive salon. I tried to be something I wasn't (I'm not really very girly, in general). It didn't even work - the expensive stylist didn't do anything particularly interesting to my hair. I couldn't find anything good to buy. Sigh...but the thought is right on. Making the effort is usually helpful.

  9. I did this when I miscarried in 2009.
    I started getting my hair done every six weeks, joined a gym, and bought a new wardrobe. I made sure i was the sexiest infertile woman walking down the street. I didn't feel much better on the inside, but damn I looked good.
    Even if no one saw the inside, I made sure they appreciated the outside. And I think i did feel a little better here and there.

    (from the creme)

  10. thank you this! i love the idea and plan to implement it tomorrow (mall is already closed tonight to by new matching garments, or i'd do it immediately). something has to change this go around and this is something that i can change that the husband would appreciate i'm sure. (floated over here from creme de la creme)

  11. Great post, love the advice. Definitely worth a try!


  12. Now that you mention it, it does show in my clothing how down I am about IF.

    I'm sorry for your devastating loss.
    Best wishes to you for an entirely different story this time around.

    (Arrived from the crème de la crème list)

  13. Love this post. I've been trying to get pregnant for 5 years and these days I'm having a hard time wearing anything but jeans and T-shirts, and I used to have so much fun with's all starting to make sense now...

  14. I am here from the Creme (albeit a little late)

    Great post! I might just take that advice!