True friendships can be invaluable to patients undergoing fertility treatments, and the overall shared experience can often result in strengthening these essential bonds. Recently, two Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-area friends created a special and heartfelt way to honor those who are struggling with infertility issues.
Over the past year, Monica Brodovsky, a lifestyle photographer and graphic designer, has been working on an art-inspired project with her close friend of over thirteen years, Aleksandra Ahn,
who has been dealing with infertility due to endometriosis. Her only option of conceiving a child with her husband, Jeff, was through in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Aleksandra asked Monica to photo document her journey through the process, in hopes of sharing her story with others going through infertility, in the hope of helping those in similar situations not to feel isolated. Originally, their plan was to post the photographs on social media, but they eventually decided that an event would be more impactful. It’s called, the The One in Eight event and is scheduled for November 9, 2019 in Philadelphia. (The name refers to the statistic that one in eight couples struggle with fertility).
Aleksandra reveals that the decision to start IVF didn’t come lightly to her, and deciding to document the process through photography was a major decision for the couple.
She said, “When my husband and I finally decided to try IVF, it was a huge milestone. I didn’t know what would become of these photos, but I knew I wanted to capture this huge process we were about to undertake. For us, these photos would commemorate how hard we fought to start our family, and proof that we gave it our all — even if it didn’t work. I mostly suffered in silence, but I hoped that one day I would be brave enough to share our story.”
Monica explained, “Our goal is for this art-inspired event to raise the awareness of infertility while showcasing the touching — and sometimes heartbreaking — photos of my dear friend’s journey.”
Aleksandra revealed that she embraced the project wholeheartedly and found it to be therapeutic. “There’s so much waiting during fertility treatments. Throughout my whole infertility journey, I remember spending hours every day obsessing over statistics, reading countless medical studies and pouring over message boards. Every waking moment I had fertility treatments on my mind and thought about trying new supplements, new diets and comparing protocols. So honestly, having a side project to focus on was a great distraction from the daunting IVF process.”
She continued, “Having Monica join me and Jeff for our scheduled shots and appointments was also an amazing form of support. It made the process less lonely. Jeff and I were completely overwhelmed, but the three of us shared moments of laughter and lightheartedness that I know wouldn’t have happened without her there.”
Monica added, “Watching my close friend go through her journey of IVF was an extremely emotional experience. There were times I wasn’t sure what to say, or how to support her in the best way possible. So, I used my art to help connect because every journey is different. I wanted to focus on how friends and family of those going through infertility can gain a better understanding so that they can support the people they love.”
This event is unique because it’s for everyone – not only for those struggling, but their friends and family as well. Monica said, “Visual awareness can impact how we understand and feel about issues as important as infertility. The documented photo series allows people to actually feel what Alex and her husband are going through.”
The women are optimistic about the upcoming The One in Eight event and hope it will attract those who are seeking to learn more about infertility. They are looking forward to meeting others dealing with similar issues. The event will feature Cristina DiBartolomeo, a licensed professional counselor who works with patients going through IVF and infertility. Attendees will have access to a list of infertility resources such as podcasts, books, therapists, online blogs, support groups and more.
Brodovsky said, “I’m especially proud that the event has a face-to-face component. The impact is stronger and more meaningful when you gather people together rather than seeing or reading something on a computer screen. Our mission is to create relationships and allow others to find a caring community.”
For more information:
Date and time:
Sat, November 9, 2019
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM EST
Kismet Cowork – Chestnut Hill
12 West Willow Grove Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118