ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
‘The Children (I Never Had)’ explores the bloody battle of infertility, of hope and loss, played out monthly by women everywhere in their fruitless quest to become mothers. Our year of reproductive discontent was poetic and confronting and bittersweet, so like the melancholy I carry for the babies I did not. These are the children I imagined would be ours, and the menstrual blood that defied us, every twenty eighth day.
I was not called to be a mother
all the years I might have been.
now there is him
and in his eyes I see them,
the children I never had.
a battle of wills
forgive me, love
my body has won.
the babies I bleed.
Kerry Payne Stailey is an Australian photographer based in New York City. She is drawn to the healing power of photography – a tool she uses for exploring and acknowledging emotions as guides to the path of happiness. Her long term project “Left Behind” probes the complicated grief facing those left behind when somebody they love dies by suicide.