Barren is an A6, handwritten black and white zine about infertility, gardening, and the mysteries of growing life.
I knew I would get a lot from reading this zine, but I didn’t expect to be so immediately and completely focused on the writing that I didn’t want to stop reading even just to write review notes.
Avery writes about the impact of suddenly finding out they are infertile and the subsequent attempts at fertility treatment. They share their feelings of sadness and shame, of envy of their friends’ pregnancy news, and around the IVF process. They also examine some of the language used around fertility – how it’s so often called a journey while Avery relates more to the metaphor of being stuck in place.
There is so much in this zine that grabs my heart. So very much. Avery has found words to express their feeling around infertility that have helped me so much in processing my own. I had many ‘I feel the same’ moments while reading this zine. I appreciated the nuance of the topic and the ways Avery found strength as well as the moments of knowing that some things are up to the mysterious lottery of the universe.
This is obviously a zine on a very specific topic – a topic that effects my life and, by extension, my feelings. But you of someone you know is dealing with infertility, I can speak firsthand that this zine could be a comfort because it was and is to me.