Back in December, I had the opportunity to spend some time with Tamsin in her home in Marin County, CA. The road to her house was a winding drive lined with moss covered trees. It had rained earlier and when I stepped out of my car to unload my camera equipment, I was overwhelmed with the warmth and humidity, the smell of the earth and the trees. It was a nice change from the bitter cold I had come from in Michigan.
Tamsin has been using poetry and photography to deal with some of the emotions surrounding her infertility and read a few of her poems for me. By the time she had finished the third, we were both overcome with emotion and the tissues had to be passed around. You can listen to the first poem she shared with me below, it’s titled, “Just Shut Up”.
Here’s some more of Tamsin’s story with portraits of her from our time together.
“I got pregnant on the honeymoon. So, right from as soon as the baby thing could possible have started it started. I’ve had two tubal pregnancies. It just makes what should be a really personal joyous time into something that’s more about doctors and scientists and labs and money and worry and so it’s not really as romantic a start to marriage as it could have been.”
“We don’t have insurance coverage for infertility. It’s added stress and guilt that my body is costing us so much money. We moved here with my husband’s work and I’m trying to get licensure as a marriage and family therapist so I’m doing unpaid hours at the moment. That’s a strain because we only have one income. That makes me feel bad that I’m 38 and not earning money. Then, on top of that, it’s my body that has the issues so that’s tens of thousands of dollars that we’re paying out. It just seems like my fault because my husband is working and his body is working as it should be. I feel like I take a lot of it on myself really.”
“This year I had a lot of time off work so I got my website up and running and did some photography and some poetry and just kind of surprised myself with all of the creativity that was coming out. My therapist kind of likened it to birthing my artistic self. It’s been quite a big thing. It’s been really helpful, I think. Even more so with the poetry. I’ve been writing not just about the infertility but stuff that’s happened in my life and my childhood and friends and I think it’s just brought up so much emotion that’s been cleared out that I didn’t even realize was there to be cleansed so that was really good.”
“We plan our lives so carefully but you can’t plan for this.”