germination

I came late to photography. As an introvert, I initially began my exploration of the medium via landscape photography. Over time, I’ve come to realize that the photography I am most inspired by, what draws my eye and compels me to pick up my own camera is documentary photojournalism. Stories, real stories, shared. Visually and journalistically.

But where/how to begin? I pondered this a long time. What theme? With what purpose would I venture out into the world to connect and document stories I wished to share via my lens? They say, “write what you know”. And, let me assure you, I know about the womb. I had many, many years familiarizing myself with this particular part of my anatomy. I know it inside out, one might say. And I have my own pen: this camera of mine. My eye could be the ink with which I shared stories. I could start with my own experience.

At 27, I was diagnosed with endometriosis, well before I would meet the person with whom I might attempt to pursue parenthood. So I lived for years with the prospect that I was barren; of wondering whether I might remain childless in my life. Eventually I did meet someone and our relationship involved both unplanned and planned pregnancy. But as Mick Jagger sings, “You can’t always get what you want.” And we learned that the hard way as so many couples do. Over and over. Month after month turned into year after year. I needed to learn something else and start a new path, a different path; what turned out, for me at least, to be a better path.

Like photography, I also came late to motherhood. And only after years of pursuing that dream, first with the partner I’d found and later, much later, alone. It’s not my only story, but it’s my biggest. I am a single mother after many years of infertility struggle. That’s my story. But it’s one of many and it is not all that defines me. I define myself in varied ways: woman, mother, photographer, feminist, advocate, single parent, artist, Irish, explorer, twin. In other words, this will not be a blog about parenting or parenthood. That’s just one of my own stories to do with the womb. I have several. And I assume others do, too. This blog is meant to encompass a wider scope connected to the womb. It is a textual sibling to its photographic sister on Instagram. I knew there were more stories out there: stories like mine, similar to mine, different from mine, foreign to mine. Stories I wanted to discover. For myself, if I were friends with my womb on Facebook, I would definitely be selecting “it’s complicated” as the descriptor of our relationship. And maybe there are others out there who can relate?

So began the seed of an idea of what to document in my own life and the lives of others: the many varied ways the lives of people are affected by or relate to the womb. Not a bad place to start, all things considered. It’s been, since time immemorial, the place from which most everything begins…

Do you have a complex relationship with the womb or know someone who has? Is your work related to the womb? Read about this blog and let me know if you’re interested in sharing your story. Or one of your many stories…

You can connect with me by e-mailing wombportraits@gmail.com.

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