Mother, or not?

This one’s dedicated to new friends in the Gateway Women sisterhood! It’s (probably) the last of the short comics around this subject matter that I’ll be doing until The Facts of Life is published by Myriad Editions in 2015.

My sharing of this work has been about trying to get people thinking, if not talking, about issues around fertility, miscarriage, and non-motherhood. I think it’s important that there’s discourse about this in society, so that people who feel isolated in their suffering (due to stigma) can perhaps gain confidence to talk more openly – only if they wish. I’m hoping that comics can be part of that – a jumping-off point, if you like. So thanks to everyone who has helped to share and support the posts/ work I’ve created on the subject over the past year or so. I’ve had some long-overdue conversations; connected with women I barely know over the subject; and heard  things on the grapevine that have made me glad I’ve put it ‘out there’, despite, at times, feeling unsure about it.

MotherOrNot_PaulaKNight_p1_web

MotherorNot_PaulaKnight_p2_web

I’ll be adding ‘Mother, or not?’ to a collection of comics I’ve done about miscarriage and childlessness over the past couple of years – coming soon (if the faffing with colours for print doesn’t finish me off). For me this one represents acceptance and new things.

ps: Texture = terry towelling (the stuff that nappies are made of). In yellow, it seemed just right for the centre of a daisy.

Biological clock-up

There’s no such thing as a biological clock; it’s just a metaphor for the finite amount of time a woman has in which to procreate using her own eggs. I’ve also heard words such as ‘fertility time-bomb‘ used in relation to this, but I don’t personally know of any women who have exploded as a result of their eggs running out. It’s part of the alarmist rhetoric used to browbeat women who, for whatever reason (and there are many), end up trying for children in later life. I can’t argue that it isn’t preferable/easier, biologically-speaking, to have children earlier in life, but societal, economical, political, personal and career circumstances simply don’t afford that opportunity for everyone. This topic is too gargantuan for me to address in a teensy blog post!

This page, intended as part of my graphic memoir, is my expression of that feeling. For me, it felt like a black or white, either/or situation. Whether this was the truth is irrelevant – that was my experience.

You might notice that the figure drawing of the ‘pregnant’ me is a little off. This is because the ref. I used was a photo of me with a cushion stuffed up my jumper.

This is included in Bristol-based Bearpit zine #4 along with work by Andrew Godfrey, Emma Mould, Simon (Smoo) Moreton, Nick Soucek (Miscomp), El Sub Star, Graham Johnson and Karl Whiteley. The theme for this zine is ‘other’. It’s the first time my work has appeared in a comic, unless you count Jackie magazine circa 1983! I have a handful for sale at £2.50.

I’ll be talking about this, and other work, at Laydeez do Comics Bristol on August 8th, along with Nicola Streeten, Sarah Lightman, Katie Green, Andrew Godfrey and Emma Mould, and Simon Moreton. Do come along!

Other news: My work In Hospita(l)able was used in Amerisa Waters’ paper at the Comics and Medicine conference in Toronto. I would have loved to attend this conference but was unable, so it was a nice surprise to discover that some of my work appeared there! Sounds like it was fantastic event.

Spooky womb

It had to happen eventually. Anthropomorphising a uterus, I mean. Perhaps it’s the neglected children’s illustrator in me. (Feel free to clamp hands over ears to block out the deafening irony.) I probably won’t make a habit of it.

Anyway – I’ll be showing this and some other comics work at Comic(s) Bodies, a multidisciplinary symposium taking place at Nottingham Contemporary on 25th May. There is an exhibition alongside talks by graphic novelists Karrie Fransman, Nicola Streeten and Mary Talbot. I believe also that Thom Ferrier and Andrew Godfrey might have some work there.