Trying to conceive can be an isolating and emotional process for anyone affected by infertility.
A woman in Rockville, Maryland, says she found power and purpose in a tool that caused her pain too: a sterile needle used in the in vitro fertilization process.
Jamie Kushner Blicher found solace in her art studio as she struggled for three years to start a family, undergoing multiple rounds of IVF with heartbreaking results.
“The first one I transferred, it ended up being twin boys, and I miscarried them. The second did not work. The third was a miscarriage,” she said. “Just knowing that my body couldn’t do the one thing that it was supposed to do was sad.”
Blicher pushed through her pain with paint. As a way to take back some control of her life, she began to paint using the type of sterile needles she used to give herself hormone injections.
“This needle has caused me pain, frustration, anger, right? It has made me feel alone. It’s a tool that I know, I hope, in the future will bring me happiness,” Blicher said. “But for right now, I’m going to take back to the power. I’m going to take control from this needle and make something beautiful out of it.”
Blicher said she found it therapeutic to see ink move through the needle and onto the canvas. She began sharing her work on social media.
“I was so surprised with the response,” she said. “I didn’t really know anyone who was going through infertility, or so I thought.”
She said women from across the country began reaching out and sharing their stories and struggles. Orders for commissioned pieces started pouring in too.
One in eight American couples deals with infertility, and one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage.
Blicher said she found comfort in knowing she wasn’t alone.
And after years of trying to conceive, she and her husband got the miracle they hoped for.
“The doctor didn’t think either were going to work. And those are my 3-and-a-half-year-old twin boys, Ethan and Bennett,” she said. “They’re two cute, little redheads, one with straight hair and one with curly hair.”
Blicher’s path to parenthood wasn’t easy, but she said she hopes her artwork can help shatter the stigma about infertility and open new conversation about pain that is so often private.
“We actually put art in Shady Grove Fertility in Rockville,” she said. “When I sat there for so long, I was always looking for a sign. I was always looking for something. And I think that having art in Shady Grove Fertility is going to be people’s sign that it’s OK. We’re all in this together.”
Blicher has been busy; she created 60 commissioned pieces last year and is on track to do the same this year. Not only does she create custom artwork using sterile IVF needles, she also sells prints, headbands and pillows. It’s all on her website and on Instagram.