Sunday, June 27, 2010

Juxtaposed: Ripe Fruit and the Miscarriage Diaries

Today I had a visitor from New York, a photographer named Megan Joplin working on a project called The Miscarriage Diaries (I hope she doesn't mind me linking to it here, since it's already been posted elsewhere on the internet).  She hopes, through the project, to make miscarriage something more public, something we can talk about out loud, by someday having a gallery show, but also to help women to commemorate their losses.  She lost four pregnancies before having her own son, so it is something she understands all too well.  I found out about her project through a link on a website one day, and emailed her to tell her how much I admired her for doing this important work; somehow, we decided that I would participate, and we'd been trying to find a date to get together ever since.  It was amazing to finally meet her, and she was everything I'd suspected her to be: smart, funny, warm, thoughtful, compassionate.  We spent the morning walking to the farmers' market and talking.  I confessed to her that I am pregnant, and she understood immediately how that felt; how it was both happy but not entirely real, how it might not even really be real until I held a live baby in my hands.  I told her about being in the ob/gyn office, and we wondered together why health professionals don't seem to be trained to talk about pregnancy loss.

She took some pictures of me alone and with Ian (a few even with a Polariod camera) by our barn and our garden, and at the farmer's market.  I held my son, a tomato, and a colander of just-picked raspberries.  It was funny, thinking about myself this way, with the barns in the pictures behind me: how I've become part of the landscape of Hunterdon County, and how growing things and appreciating growing things now defines me, and in some ways defines my relationship to pregnancy, almost chronicles my own journey.  She's clearly a talented photographer; the Polariods were really lovely, I felt completely at ease, and I felt like doing this really meant something.  Like I was bearing witness, and asking the world to bear witness with me.

We made her stay for lunch (I couldn't send her back to Manhattan without feeding her, especially since she made a pilgrimage to Butterlane for me), and threw together a salad with roasted beets that we'd gotten in our CSA box this morning (thank you, Megan, for helping us with our little leafy greens problem).  For dessert, of course, there was fresh raspberry pie.

I've now made three raspberry pies, we've eaten countless berries for breakfasts and snacks and desserts, and given away a few pints, and still the bushes are producing.  I'm no longer picking two quarts per night, but there's enough to do something more with than simply eating.  I'm almost out of muffins for my grab-and-go sort-of-queasy breakfasts, so I made some raspberry muffins that I could freeze (unfortunately, the picture doesn't do them justice like my photographs usually do). Though I didn't force muffins on Megan as she made her way out the door (I'd already given her lettuce and a small container of berries), I hope that her project, too, bears fruit in the way that our bushes have this year: that her photographs are on the minds and lips of many people, long after the growing season is over.

Raspberry Muffins

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
3 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. nutmeg or mace
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/3 c. agave nectar
3/4 cup milk (minus 2 T. or so to account for the agave)
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
Top with sugar (optional; I didn't do this)

Heat oven to 375 F. Grease bottoms only of 12 muffins cups or line with paper baking cups. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and lemon peel; mix well. Add raspberries - mix gently with a fork. In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, milk, oil, vanilla and egg; blend well. Add to dry ingredients; stir gently just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill greased muffins cups 2/3 full.  Sprinkle with a little bit of extra sugar if you're going to do so.  Bake for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from muffin cups. Serve warm.
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  1. What a fantastic idea for a project. I hope you get some healing by participating in it. I am going to check the link out.

  2. That's great, totally reminds me of the Grieve Out Loud project.

  3. Thanks for the link, K! And thanks, Cristen ... though for me it was less about healing and more about raising consciousness. Women (and men!) need to be able to talk about infertility and loss without being stigmatized; our world needs to figure out how we can all be most supportive to each other. Interesting, for example, that women don't get any bereavement time away from work for pregnancy loss. And that ultrasounds, while covered during pregnancy, are usually NOT covered under insurance if they're checking on the progress of a miscarriage (which can actually have a significant impact on a woman's health).


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