Role Play (Woman with Cushion)

It was in 2015 when I changed my mind about undertaking IVF, following a long series of medical investigations and three miscarriages.

Although the unravelling of possible causes and solutions for infertility spanned several years the start of the process coincided with the discovery that my mother had terminal cancer.

I relocated to care for her. It was 2012 and I was attempting to piece together the simultaneous loss of my remaining parent with the dwindling possibility of becoming one myself. I tried to make work to articulate what I could find no words for, acting out the shapes of pregnancy with a cushion while wearing my grandmother’s blue dress. I considered the imminent and abrupt end of my own maternal line but found the work too upsetting and stopped.

Some weeks after my mother died at the end of that year I found two pictures I had never seen before – a pair of 5×4 transparencies taken by my father in 1975, showing my mother in the late stages of pregnancy.

Role Play (Woman with Cushion) is my response to the pictures I had found, merging with the knowledge that a future biological maternal path was not open to me.  I had abandoned my grandmother’s dress this time but continued to perform pregnancy for the camera. I pretended to be a mother while thinking of my own, trying to connect us all through stitch in my hand-marked work.