The task of raising children is not for the faint of heart. It takes guts, will power, and the ability to look failure in the face and still get up the next morning. Children consume your time, your energy, your money, your love. Hours of frustration are stitched alongside moments of joy. However, if you have a child diagnosed on the Spectrum, child rearing is a bit more complicated.
Relationships once held dear give way to constant therapy appointments, learning routines, and coping mechanisms. Educating the world on how to treat your child can be draining, stressful, and feel like a vicious cycle and never-ending process. Life isn’t always predictable, but it can still be rewarding. In the field of medicine, a residency is a time of growth in knowledge and professional development—quite similar to the lifelong task of motherhood.
Residency in Motherhood was inspired by the work of Grete Stern, Imogen Cunningham, and Hannah Hoch. It is a limited edition series featuring images of my children layered with the range of emotions I feel as a mother. My emotions are made visible by the deep Prussian blues of the cyanotype process. Brushing emulsion onto the paper, I exposed it with a CO2 laser as the light source. The ending result is a new image that is half cyanotype and half burnt paper. The act of burning the paper equates to the brevity of childhood; a reminder to cherish all moments, even the difficult ones. Post rinsing and drying, colored pencil and gold watercolor paint was added to symbolize strength and endurance, playing off the tones of blue.
As with most things in life, there is a fine line to walk and a delicate balance to maintain in order to succeed. Creating these images was both cathartic and rewarding. And, it is my hope that over time, my Residency in Motherhood will be deemed triumphant in the end.