This post is one of many that you will find throughout the week on No Ordinary Homestead about infertility, because this blog has been dedicated to National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24-30). This is being done to raise awareness on behalf of the millions of people, male and female, who have ever been infertile or are considered infertile today. If you or someone you know is dealing with fertility problems, you might enjoy Navigating the Land of IF — you can win a copy here this week.
Hubby and I met when we were 21 and 19, I am the cradle robber. It was love at first sight and we have been together since that first date. We waited 10 years before getting married, and another two years before sitting down and talking about how we wanted to become parents. Once we decided, we opened the doors and waited for that positive pregnancy test. In the first year we dealt with my body booby-trapping our plans. The second year we were fighting off the doctors trying to remove my reproductive system. The third year we were trying to simply have a life outside a doctor’s office and then the fourth and fifth years we experienced our miscarriages. Now we are in our sixth year and we are painfully aware that we are not going to become parents as we had hoped.
In the third year of our infertility journey, I started focusing my artwork on our struggle. As an artist, I turn to my work as a means to process life, and this was one the most complex times in our lives. At first I made the work as a way to comfort myself; I kept the images close and shared them with no one, much like a visual journal. After the first few images were made, something shifted and I started seeing images in my mind all day and in my dreams at night. The comfort became an obsession and a race to capture these feelings and emotions visually.
In October of 2010 I had a public exhibition of my infertility images.
BARREN: life on infertile soil is a collection of 26 images, and two mixed media pieces. The inspiration for the show was not only the discovery of my own infertility, but the silence surrounding it. Infertility carries a longstanding stigma of shame that has created a silent tribe of women. I examine the quiet reflections of a life without children, in a child-centric world and what it means to navigate daily in those constraints.
Since the opening, I have received so many kind emails and comments about the show; so many people poured their hearts out to me and shared stories of their own personal losses. It has been humbling and amazing.
My desire is that this show will continue to travel, as infertility is a topic that touches many lives in many different ways. By introducing communities to infertility thru empathic conversations we can dissolve the longstanding myths and solitude.
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share my story and my images with you.
To visit the exhibit online please visit: http://monicawiesblott.zenfolio.com/p464274583
About Monica Wiesblott
Visiting museums and perusing National Geographic magazines as a child created some of her earliest memories; the allure of far off places. Born in Los Angeles, by the age of seven Monica was handed a 110 camera and so began the journey into image-making. Inspired by the work of social documentary photographers she realized that recording culture is what fueled her passion and set her wandering; she has studied studio art and art history in Europe and Asia and completed a “round the world trip” beginning in Nepal. When she is not making art, you will find Monica at the community garden growing organic food. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and two spoiled cats. To keep up to date on her work or musings visit: www.monicawiesblott.com