From Da Vinci to Rembrandt and from Jackson Pollock to Jean-Michel Basquiat visual art has helped express emotions and feelings that are often too hard to share in words. Sometimes art expresses sadness and joy and sometimes captures very special and small moments in our lives that have big meaning.
ART, or assisted reproductive technology, is a broad term for a wide number of different fertility treatments from IUI, IVF, and PGT-A that help patients get pregnant or stay pregnant. Though not “art” by definition, ART requires immense creativity and, when done successfully, results in the most beautiful piece of work. So, it’s no surprise that visual art and ART would eventually find a way to come together to help ease pain and celebrate happiness.
Local Saint Louis artist and STL Fertility patient Roxy Jenkins, knows firsthand what it’s like to go through ART and shared her story this weekend with the Saint Louis Dispatch. After five long years, and some assistance with ART, Roxy is now the proud mom to Cora. During Roxy’s final, and ultimately successful, fertility cycle, she carried around a small black and white photo of the embryo that, after nine months, eventually became Cora.
When Cora turned three, Roxy took that small black and white embryo photo out and looked at it again. This time she saw more than just the beginning of the greatest gift she would ever receive, she saw art! The formation of the cells into the embryo had a beauty to it that was more than just a cluster of cells. It depicted the heartbreak, hope, and joy that went into making her little girl. Roxy took that photo and painted it in pastel colors and hung it by Cora’s bed to celebrate and commemorate Cora’s journey into the world.
From her kitchen counter, Roxy has created thousands of pieces of artwork for customers. Some are in celebration of children who are here living happy and healthy lives, some are for those on the way, and others are for those angels that hopeful parents didn’t get to meet. These pieces of art help parents through the emotional spectrum of feelings and are customized to the specifications each parent requests. Some are done in bright vibrant colors while others are in muted tones, some incorporate graphical elements and quotes while others pull in humor and light. “When you get the picture of that babe at 5 days old, and you know you wouldn’t have that privilege otherwise, it’s the most special thing,” said Jenkins.
Drs. Molina Dayal and Maureen Schulte from STL Fertility were also interviewed for the article about Roxy’s work and shared some additional thoughts about the connection between ART and art. “Dr. Dayal offered, I’m a painter and visual artist myself. I understand Roxy’s need to create and help others at the same time. Some of my artwork is here in our office and touches on what we do every day to help hopeful patients become parents.”
“Fertility treatments are stressful, and outcomes are not always what we hope for. It’s so important for parents-to-be to keep stress levels in check for the best possible chance at a successful., Art seems to be a calming outlet for many of my patients. The more parents can channel their stress into something positive and creative, the more hopeful their outlook is, and the chances of success improve,” added Dr. Schulte.
Roxy Jenkins isn’t the only artist out there easing grief and celebrating life through artistic impression. There are many others who paint, draw, and craft memorabilia to share in the journey to parenthood. These artists share a bond with so many hopeful parents out there. The artists just want hopeful parents to know they’re not alone.
You’ll be inspired!