Thumbs and Ovaries

Thumbs and Ovaries

By a childless, short-thumbed woman in the USA

Dear Me,

As you already know, we have short, stubby thumbs. We “won the genetic lottery” (ha!) and inherited the family trait of short (or length-challenged?) thumbs. This is not news to you. You have only known life with short thumbs. It doesn’t bother you because you don’t know any differently. Sure, sometimes people make comments wondering if our thumbs were cut off (umm…no?!). We are aware of our limitations too, accepting that we will always lose in thumb wars (long thumbs = unfair advantage!), struggle to make a heart with our hands, and some signs in sign language will always not look right. It’s life.

In the same way, infertility is also the life we were born into. It is just the way we were created. We didn’t choose to have stubby thumbs or to have a non-working reproductive system. We are not broken, but uniquely made.

(Who knew our thumbs and ovaries would be closely related?!) 

Just because our body is not broken doesn’t make it easy though! Infertility is unbelievably soul-shattering. It is painful and a deep grief that will continue to come up unexpectedly for the rest of our life. It is something that the majority of the population doesn’t understand. Yes, I agree it feels unfair too. 


When the feelings of inadequacy and shame come up, let’s remind ourselves to look at our thumbs and remember our truth. We were uniquely created and are different than others. Yes, it may have some limitations but our hands will can still function and do many good deeds. Having an inadequacy in one part (thumb) doesn’t negate the abilities of the whole (hand). Having an inadequacy (unable to conceive) doesn’t negate my worth and abilities as a whole person.

Let’s not be at odds any more. I forgive you, body, for not working like I wanted you to. You are not broken.

It’s time to forgive myself. It’s time to stop wondering “what if” and to accept the beautiful, full life we currently have as a family of two (and a dog).   

We can also accept that there will be moments of sadness or triggers of grief. This is normal! When it happens, let’s allow ourselves to cry and feel the emotions, then find forgiveness, grace and comfort. I will remind myself of the truth – I am not defined by my reproductive abilities (or lack thereof). I am worthy! I will embrace my stubby thumbs as well as my physical limitations.  

Thumbs up!

Love, Me

Author’s short thumb is shown on the left, next to husband’s normal-size thumb (right). Ovaries not pictured.

Author’s short thumb is shown on the left, next to husband’s normal-size thumb (right). Ovaries not pictured.