Part Four

Maternal Embodiment (during IVF)

"The Infertile Maternal and Platitudes of Embodied Emptiness…"
This looks at maternal embodiment from an infertile perspective; considering the process of becoming a maternal subject, and a pregnant body in the first instance.

During infertility you form a very close relationship to the wanting maternal body, an empty craving maternal body. You become a sort of void, an sub-maternal; entering a never-ending process of becoming, hovering somewhere between the biological and the cultural. You exist amongst social ideas of the maternal and an individually embodied experience that is embroiled secretively in the labouring practices of making it happen through a routine of ritual and repetition. Yet you are precluded from the sphere of the conventional maternal subject and are without the embodied shapes and contours of the pregnant figure, but with all the hormones telling your body to permit it and your mind making this its sole purpose.

“As a process that occurs within a woman’s body, pregnancy is structurally located in the personal and private sphere, but it is always public property….the [sub]maternal body is constructed as a site for regulation and control through medical practices and reproductive technologies.” (Betterton). Your body is not quite your own, but without the visual of a pregnant belly to question, touch and admire, you enter an embodied state of disavowal of the maternal, a negation of its usual properties, whilst actually being fully engaged in every step of the inaugurate process. You endure an sub-maternal existence.

You either continue in private with nothing for others to see and therefore know, or you engage them in knowledge of the process, sharing your intimate embodiment of emptiness. Many use a platitude to keep you hopeful, or make you feel better in eventual acceptance of the sub-maternal embodied state from which you may never recover. There is never quite the right response to the feelings of loss of something that has never been, and the platitudes remain banal and monotonous in their own embodied emptiness.