While drawing on themes of pregnancy and womanhood, the concept of tending produce began with a visual exploration of the baby size food chart – a popular visual aid used by pregnant women during the average 40-week gestation period. Usually in the form of a mobile app, the chart helps women envision fetal development using various fruits and vegetables as comparisons. Beginning at week two and continuing every two weeks until week forty, each collage in this 20-piece grid contains a careful selection of imagery, mimicking how a baby grows while gradually filling more and more physical and mental space within the body. Interspersed throughout the piece are quotations from a variety of sources that have influenced me throughout this intimate and profound female experience. The inclusion of written and spoken words represents my attempt to understand what is happening to my body, and how pregnancy is viewed and understood by society. tending produce is simultaneously a personal visual journal and an homage to other women who are familiar with pregnancy. The piece not only engages with the concept of gathering through the acts of collecting paper material and information, it also engages with the concept of gathering because it evokes a sense of community and shared experience.

tending produce is part of the exhibition Gatherers at Gallery 101 in Ottawa, ON. On view from March 23 until April 20, 2019

Endnotes

¹ My thoughts.

² My feelings.

³ My experience.

What most moms I know tell me.

Angela Garbes, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy (New York: Harper Wave, 2018), 5.

Susan Magee, The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2012), 21.

Angela Garbes, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy (New York: Harper Wave, 2018), 7.

The Birthful Podcast, ep. 199, “The Identity Shift of Becoming a Mom,” Adriana Lozada, https://www.birthful.com/category/podcast/.

Emily Oster, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), 152.

¹Susan Magee, The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2012), 4.

¹¹ Emily Oster, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), 39.

¹² What my husband, Derek, said to me after we found out that we are having a girl.

¹³ Emily Oster, Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – and What You Really Need to Know (New York: Penguin Books, 2014), xx.

¹⁴ Ibid, xi.

¹⁵ The Birthful Podcast, ep. 180, “The Purpose of Childbirth Pain,” Rhea Dempsey, https://www.birthful.com/category/podcast/.

¹⁶ Susan Magee, The Pregnancy Countdown Book: Nine Months of Practical Tips, Useful Advice, and Uncensored Truths (Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2012), 16.

¹⁷ Angela Garbes, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy (New York: Harper Wave, 2018), 29.

¹⁸ Ibid, 185.

¹⁹ Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist: Essays, (New York: Harper Perennial, 2014), 269.

²⁰ Angela Garbes, Like a Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy (New York: Harper Wave, 2018), 229.