“We Are the One in Eight” – Sue Johnston’s ArtPrize Exhibit

by Brandi Lytle
Featured Photo on We are the One In Eight: Sue Johnston's ArtPrize Exhibit, a Good Things Blog on Not So Mommy..., a childless blog

I met Sue Johnston, of The In-fertility Advocate, about six months ago.  We had a lovely phone chat, she kindly allowed me to share my story on her blogsite, and she graciously shared her Good Things Story on Not So Mommy…  Since then, we have stayed connected via social media and the occasional email.  (Isn’t modern technology wonderful?!)

We Are the One in Eight

Good Thing#1: Being featured at ArtPrize

It was through one of those emails that I learned that Sue had written a poem, entitled “We Are the One in Eight,”  in an effort to raise infertility awareness.  And Sue’s poem, along with an entire exhibit she was creating, were going to be displayed at ArtPrize 2018!

Now, for those of you who don’t know, ArtPrize is legit!  It’s a yearly competition in which professional artists enter their work, competing for the top honor, which includes $500,000 in prizes!  Woah…

In one of her blogs, Sue states, “I am NOT an artist. I will admit that I have a creative flare, but I have never in my life entered any kind of art competition, let alone the largest competition in the world.”

So, the fact that Sue’s poem was accepted to ArtPrize and a venue agreed to display her artwork is such a good thing!

Good Thing #2: Photos and voice recordings of those who suffered infertility
Photos of Brandi Lytle, of Not So Mommy..., displayed in Sue Johnston's "We are the one in eight" ArtPrize 2018 Exhibit

My photos in Sue’s Exhibit

What I believe is an even better thing is that Sue decided to display her poem along with photos and voice recordings of those who have suffered infertility.  Remember that email where Sue told me her poem had been accepted?  Well, she also asked me to send her some photos and a recording to be included in her display.  What an honor!

I found several photos and did a one-take recording (in the hopes that it would be more authentic and represent my true feelings about infertility and being childless not by choice).  I sent them off to Sue and looked forward to seeing photos of her finished product…

(To listen to my voice recording for Sue’s exhibit, click here…)

Good Thing #3: Including the childless not by choice

The other good thing that I must mention is that Sue, who did ultimately get the desired outcome of a little (a son who is now grown and living in New York City), has not forgotten the struggle.  And she knows that not everyone gets their desired ending.  She understands that many of us end up being childless not by choice.  The fact that she included not only miracle stories, but also our childless stories, in her exhibit is beyond a good thing…

Good Thing #4: Our community…

I am so grateful that I connected with Sue, and that the infertility community is talking about all sides of this medical condition, raising awareness and supporting one another as we navigate this complex journey…

Yes, our community–the infertile, trying to conceive, parenting after infertility, and childless not by choice community–is definitely a good thing.

Sue’s Poem

*Shared with permission

*Trigger Warning: Sue’s poem shares real, deep, raw emotions about the infertility battle.  If you are feeling particularly vulnerable today, you may not want to read her poem, as it will undoubtedly stir deep emotions…

“We Are the One in Eight”

Trying… crying… dying to conceive a baby. Biological clocks ticking, needles sticking, and we are left licking our wounds after another BIG FAT NEGATIVE.

Many friends are pregnant or have already completed their families. We cry out to humanity that it’s just a fallacy to relax and we’ll conceive. Oh, the brutalities we face looking for abnormalities through medical analyses to determine the possibilities of what may be wrong with our bodies.

We are the one in eight

Photo of Sue Johnston and her husband in front of her ArtPrize 2018 Exhibit, "We Are the One in Eight"

Sue Johnston’s ArtPrize Exhibit, “We Are the One in Eight”

who wait…
and wait…..
and wait…

Minutes drag like hours, too painful to attend showers with pink and blue flowers that adorn cakes.

We are powerless and our world is colorless when we have so much love to give.
How can we live without a child?

We are the one in eight.

If babies are a gift from God, then why do drug addicts get pregnant? Are they more deserving of this extraordinary gift? It’s repugnant to think that God allows abusers to harm their descendants or a woman who is expectant. Why can those without a remnant of love become parents? And those who’d make great parents, can’t… no matter how hard they try. It makes us want to cry out to God… WHY?

Infertility affects her ability to fulfill the very essence of what’s the most natural and womanly thing. Admittedly, she feels less than acceptability within her circle of friends and even her family because of the possibility that she cannot create life…
the one thing that her body was created to do!

Each month the bloody reminder of failure doesn’t stop her from being a crusader with assisted reproductive purveyors. We forge onward against all odds because nothing… not
thing in the world
is as important to us as family.

We are the one in eight.

A man questions his virility and his ability to offer stability for the woman he loves. He is compelled to be strong for the love of his life because she needs him now more than ever. His seeds are studied for abnormality, morphology and motility. His results are shared clinically and impersonally. He’s reduced statistically. How difficult this must be.

Let’s not forget to mention the cost of medical intervention can be far greater than one can imagine. What can possibly cause more spoliation than when liquid nitrogen tanks malfunction? Cries of devastation rang out across our nation with the destruction of the cryopreservation of embryos. The promise of life… obliterated.

Infertility takes its toll

We are the one in eight.

The cost is even greater for those whose bodies have been ripped apart by war. They serve our country and face adversity that leaves them scarred for life. And what is the answer for our youth battling cancer? They query how to preserve their fertility? They are young and haven’t even found love. How can treatment be considered elective when injury or disease leaves them defective?

There are atypical options such as adoption, childfree living, or third-party reproduction. These actions don’t come without losses and heartfelt emotions. And for most, these don’t fit their lifelong aspiration. Some are not legitimate choices, as they are cost prohibitive for those with limited resources.

Consider this…
Abortions are covered twice as often as fertility treatments.

this picture?

How do we resolve the disease that affects one in eight?
We must give our all. Get involved to dissolve the stigma surrounding this overwhelming disease. Infertility must evolve from the shadows of shame. We must make our government officials listen to us and put a face to the injustice of infertility. We must talk and share with others who care about the dysfunction of the most basic of all our bodily functions… reproduction.

Even more importantly, we must offer reprieve for those who mourn their losses and grieve their misconceived or miscarried or stillborn babies. We must open our arms, our hearts and our souls to provide a safe place to share our stories. We are warriors who lend ourselves to fellow warriors, listening with compassion to others who are asking for support.

For at the end of the day…
we are the one in eight
who congregate, articulate and incorporate hope into each new day as we continue
to wait …
and wait…
and wait…

~by Sue Johnston


To learn more about Sue’s journey to ArtPrize, click here…

Fabulous ones, if anything Sue or I wrote resonates with you, we’d love to hear about it in the comments…

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Featured Photo:  Created by Brandi Lytle of Not So Mommy…, using Canva.com

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1 comment

Sorry Stout October 16, 2018 - 9:58 am



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