It all started with an a little bit of inspiration from a Call For Artists.
The wheels began to spin in my mind the next thing I knew, I was reaching out to all the AMAZING women in my life. I received responses from incredible women (my friends) who each shared a piece of their soul. The quotes appear here in this sculpture that I created for an exhibit with a theme focused on reproductive rights for women in honor of the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.
The piece includes the names of 51 women written with graphite on hand blown eggs. These eggs are set atop mirror allowing for the viewer to see themselves through a portal which includes the text "What choice did you make?" This refers to both life choices, and choices relating to legislation. Surrounding the eggs are intimate quotes from women who have made choices in their lives relating to reproduction. Each quote is pinned to the cork board with map pins symbolizing a place where one is going, has been, or is now.
A special thank you to the following women who contributed the content that made this piece possible: Amber, Amy, Angie, Anne, Asia, Audrey, Barbara, Beth, Beth, Cat, Claire, Cody, Crystal, Cynthia, Dan/Jay, Frances, Ione, Iris, Jay, Jeanne, Jennifer, Johanna, Julie, Kathleen, Katrece, Kellie, Kim, Kim, Kristi, Kristen, Laurie, Laurie, Lisa, Marsie, Mary, Mattie, May, Melissa, Michelle, Miki, Mitch, Nancy, Rachel, Robin, Sarah, Shannon, Stacy, Stephanie, Sumiko, Valerie, and Wendy.
A HUGE thank you to my husband Dave, whose carpentry skills made executing this piece possible.
“I chose not to have children because I could never see myself as a mother...a teacher, yes...a mother, no...”
"I chose adoption because I refused to let infertility rob me of my dream of becoming a mother. Adoption allowed our dreams to come true and be a forever family!"
"I chose a surrogate because her generosity allowed us the incredible experience of becoming parents from conception to birth."
"I desperately wanted to have children more than anything, to be a mom & raise a family. Unfortunately, the choice was decided for me. I was not able to conceive and we were not financially able to try IVF, traditional adoption or surrogacy. It still hurts deeply."
"I chose to have children via IVF because in my journey, spontaneously conceived pregnancies repeatedly resulted in heartbreaking miscarriages. I wanted to minimize the pain and I wanted to say that I had done everything I could to try and have children. At one point I remember thinking that if I didn't explore all of my options; I'd be giving up on my future children.”
"Choice is living the rest of our lives with the decisions that we make."
“I chose to have an abortion because at the time of conception, I was being physically abused and knew this child would have to go through the same thing. I prayed for the spirit of this child to be brought to another family. I grew from that experience.... Years later, I chose to have my child, with or without the father's consent. So I gave him "free" choice. ‘I am pregnant and I am keeping my baby.’ I told him he could walk away "free" from obligation. I didn't want him to resent me for keeping the baby and I didn't want to resent him for asking me to abort. This was really my choice.”
"I chose IUI because "lesbian" and "mother" do not define me. Love without limitation does."
"I chose to have my baby because the heart beat inside me wasn't just my own, it was hers, ours, she completed me. I don't consider being a young mother bad, I know it simply means I will have more time in my life to spend with my daughter, and I needed her more than I ever knew and wouldn't give that up for anything in the world."
"I chose to be a foster parent because I knew I didn't have to give birth to a child to love one."
“I was 16. Young, scared, and feeling very alone. I wasn't ready for a baby. If there hadn't been Planned Parenthood I would have probably done something desperate. I am thankful for my life and that choice.”
“I chose to have children even though my doctors told me that the pregnancy alone could kill me because of my health issues; I decided to take the risk.”
"I chose to have children because... I wanted to create something organic and evolving who would hopefully make decisions that would have a positive impact on our world.”
“My "choice" is to take the love God put in my soul and consider all of His children as my own (either as a teacher or a friend), regardless of age. I had no choice about my own children, but I can choose how I relate to people and not waste the kindness I am able to share with others.”
"I choose adoption for my baby because it was the right choice for me at the time when I needed a choice."
“I understand that life is 100% complicated. So in the wake of life's more stressful moments that usually consist of the unexpected and some degree of tragedy, I think a woman should have the right to make the choice that's best for HER unique circumstances.”
“I chose to have children because I love, respect and admire my husband. I wanted to express our union, commitment and love by raising our children together. By doing this we have joined our ancestral tree of life knowing that part of us lives on through our children, theirs and all others after them.”
“I chose to be a parent because we were ready for the ultimate adventure.”
“When you don’t have a choice, you don’t have freedom. I will not be anyone’s slave."
“I am an adult. I can choose to do millions of things. Why can’t I choose my fate?”
"I chose not to have children because a mother is not who I am. I chose not to have children because I was still a child myself. I chose to have an abortion because if I had not, my life as I knew it would have been over."
“I chose not to have children because I know that I am a complete adult woman and can live my life exactly the way I want to live it without making sacrifices with regards to my freedom.”
“I should have the right to choose to walk away from the pregnancy if he has the right to walk away from the child.”
“The best choice is the one you make for yourself.”
“A back alley abortion is a choice would prefer no women have to make.”
“I chose to have babies when I was just a girl. It was always my dream. Mission accomplished with three who are now in their teens, but now I wish I had focused more on who I was going to be rather than having children to define me. Knowing what I know today, I wish I had chosen to realize my own personal growth. I highly respect all women and all their choices with regards to reproductive rights.”
“I've miscarried. I've grown lives inside me. I couldn't imagine ever having to go through an abortion, just as I couldn't imagine telling a mother who's been raped or has a baby that can’t survive outside her womb that she couldn't have one. I have always believed a woman should have the right to choose.”
"I have HIV. I chose to conceive, against the odds of my child inheriting my condition, in opposition to judgment from those who decry someone in my situation potentially depriving a child of a mother. I have what I wanted: a beautiful, smart, loving, healthy kid, but that gorgeous child, my husband, and my family now will have each other, BECAUSE I was able to choose my path as a mom.”
“I chose not to have children, because I simply never felt the maternal instinct or desire to have them. If I would have had children I would have regretted it, because I would have felt oppressed by the inescapable responsibility of caring for them.”
“When my mother became aware that I was sexually active, she handed me copy of the iconic feminist book, Our Bodies, Ourselves. Armed with the photos in the book of botched, back-alley abortions, she told me stories of girls she had known of growing up in Brooklyn in the 50s and 60s who had relied on these butchers to end their pregnancies. The horror of my mother’s graphic testimony always stuck with me and later, when my own bad decisions landed me in a clinic, I was grateful that this difficult choice could be conducted in the light of a doctor’s office with well-trained and compassionate staff.”
“Every child should be a wanted child. The best way to ensure that is to make sure all women have the right to choose. I am grateful to live in an era where I have had that right.”
“I chose to have children because I love kids. I have always wanted to be a mother and have the honor of watching a part of myself grow and become their own individual. I was truly blessed to have an amazing birth experience with each of my four children. To carry life and the DNA of another individual displays a living miracle to me. It is not a choice for everyone; it was my choice and if I could I would choose to have more children.”
“Choosing not to have children - It's better to regret not having kids then having them and regretting it....But here’s the rub: I know that by making the choice to remain child-free that I am potentially giving up something totally incredible in my existence.”
“I chose not to have children, because my sister chose to have three. Being an aunt to them is just perfect for me.”
“We chose international adoption because this gave us the opportunity to reach out beyond our immediate surroundings and bring home the two sons who were meant to bring us love, joy, challenges, blessings and teach us to open our hearts to being the best parents we could be.”
“I made my choice 33 years ago. I am thankful I had a choice. I was embarrassed, ashamed, scared and one messed up kid. In my heart I knew that having a baby was not the decision I was able to make at that time. Twenty five years later I allowed myself to morn for that little one. Still, I know I made the right choice. Nine years after my abortion I found out I was pregnant again and that time I knew it was right. This little one needed to walk on the earth and I would never forgive myself if I aborted. Somehow I knew she was meant to be here. Today I am a granny with two beautiful grandchildren. Both planned births by my daughter with lives filled with love and joy and wonderful parents.”
“I chose to keep my baby out of responsibility. I remember going through a list of pro's and con's, honestly assessing what I felt I was capable of doing or providing. When it came down to it, I knew I had the resources to raise my baby and that for ME, having an abortion would be the less responsible choice. Being able to make that choice helped me grow up."
“Between my mom (divorced from my father) discouraging me from marriage and children, and me being discouraged by the experience of having had to babysit, I was very unclear on why I should have kids. It is the "popular" and "expected" thing to do among married couples in their 30s. I didn't have any biological compunction to follow that route, but I felt the social pressure to do so. Ultimately, I chose to have a child because I had over-analyzed everything, including the possibility of children.”
"I remember the same feelings of raging baby hormones very strongly at 30 or so. It's nowhere near as strong now that I can see retirement and I experience some of the "joys" of helping to raise my teenage stepchildren. I now recognize that if making a difference in the life of a child is as important as some think, it doesn't matter whether it's your child or someone else's, in the end."
"I choose to not procreate until I have the capacity to care for my offspring."
“I chose to wait to find love and stability before starting a family, and now my eggs are past their expiration date. Fortunately, my partner is willing and able to carry our baby, so we will be choosing insemination with donor sperm.”
“My mom fell in love with an older man who was in the midst of a divorce. She got pregnant even after using contraceptives. He asked her to get an abortion. He wanted to marry her once his divorce was final, but he did not want more children. She chose to not have an abortion or give me up for adoption. These choices ruined her life. She lost my father, was forced by the welfare system to be a nurse - a job she always hated, was treated like a pariah by family and community, and eventually married a horrible abusive man in order to move us out of her mother's house. Her choices brought misery to many.”
“I chose to have an abortion when I was in college and was in no position to have a child. Later, the fact that I had previously been pregnant allowed me to choose to be an ovum donor. It was not a simple or pain-free process, but to this day it brings me joy to have been a part of bringing children to people who really wanted children, who were truly ready to have children. I am grateful to have lived in a time when I could choose an abortion for myself AND choose to help others have children they couldn’t otherwise. I am also the proud mother of two boys.”
“I am choosing IUI with donor sperm because the love of my life is a woman and we can’t have a baby without some help. If the IUI isn’t successful, we will choose adoption.”
"I chose to accept that I will make mistakes. It's what I do with those mistakes that matter. I can choose to ignore the lesson or embrace it."
“At 20 I chose to get Norplant (three year birth control) my sister had just announced her pregnancy and our family freaked out! She was young, divorced and in no position to have a child - I was NOT going to be that stupid! Famous last words. Planned Parenthood tests for pregnancy before implanting Norplant. How cocky I was taking that test, and then watching with the technician in shock as the plus sign appeared. "Let's go discuss your options" the woman said. I'd already made my choice, "I don't have options, I'm having a baby" was my response. I chose to tell my sister first, on her doorstep while I cried "I'm a hypocrite!!!"
“I chose not to have children because I am too selfish. I don't want to consider another before making a decision, spending money, or any other lifestyle choice. And this is the lovely part: it's a lifestyle decision I am free to make.”
“Being a mom is the greatest gift God has and will ever give me. But, being a mom comes with great responsibility. Ensuring that my children become the best people possible and flourish is my number one goal. As I have never regretted the decision to have my two children, I have never regretted my choice to end the pregnancy of what could have been my third child. I know there are people out there that will never understand this, and I know they have their own stubborn opinions about how others should live their lives. I think that is sad. These decisions are never easy, either direction they are taken.”
“I made choices. One choice to have an abortion at age 17 because I wasn't ready to raise a child. At 27 I chose to have my child despite my pregnancy being a surprise. They were both the best choices for me and I don't regret either of them.”
"I was 19 years old, dating and pregnant. We chose to have an abortion because we were not ready for a family. Years later, we got married and had two beautiful boys. I've never told anyone my story, but felt inspired to tell it here."
“I personally chose not to become a parent because I wanted to make sure that if I ever did, I could provide more for a child than what I had. I have chosen a profession that allows me to be a nurturer and caregiver, much like a parent. I enjoy helping the sick and maintaining the health of those who are not. Much like a parent, I look out for and advocate the well being of those who may not have the tools to do it for themselves.”