Nov 242014

I have been cross-stitching my uterus for the past week.

I lost my own over a year ago, thanks to my beautiful baby girl and I know you think it’s a silly thing to do. I thought so too, at first, but it was kind of a fun gag kit I bought from an old friend of mine.

I began with the uterus itself, a 3-inch muscle that can expand to contain up to eight babies. Such a small thing has affected every single person on the planet. It is Rosewood Dark, a deep red shiny floss and it is the simplest part of the female reproductive system to cross stitch. It is also the organ that nearly cost me my life and has cost millions of other women theirs and here I sit, making little x’s back and forth, creating my own uterus outside of my body.

Next I worked on the fallopian tubes with their giant arms and little hands cradling those precious ovaries with their million miniscule eggs (Tangerine Light and Yellow Medium). Remarkable, isn’t it, that out of those million eggs, a woman will waste the vast majority of them and normally only use between one and ten of them?

There are the pale blue ovarian ligaments, holding the ovaries in place next to the body of the uterine muscles and then the light pink fundus and the maroon cervical canal. Mostly these are fill-in details next to the bigger picture but they all do their part to maintain the delicate balance of life.

I have worked on this project while watching Call the Midwife. and I’m not sure if it’s a product of the stage of life I’m in, but I tear up at some point during every episode. The people who wrote that show understand the beauty and simplicity of bringing new people into the world and the tenderness, infectious joy, and sometimes grief that they can bring with them. A woman will never be uglier than when she is pushing out a baby and she will never feel more beautiful than when she gets to hold it for the first time and all of this (and I do mean all, as far as us humans are concerned) begins in this Rosewood Dark uterus, with its Tangerine Light egglings.

This female reproductive system, to me, is one of the most amazing features of the human body, this tiny organ and its environs that wait for life to begin and then hold tight to it until it is ready. It grows and changes to fit time and circumstance and is often the most punishing part of a woman’s body, yet it also takes some of the greatest punishment. This thing that controls us and changes lives, it turns out, can also be very beautiful…


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