ONE MORE SHOT with The ART of Infertility in LA! Chatting with director Noah Moskin, aka my Hubs

Today we have a special guest blog post from Maya Grobel. Read a bit about Maya’s conversation with her husband Noah and learn why they decided to pick a camera and film their modern family building journey. Remember to join us this Saturday, June 9th at Venice Arts where Noah and Maya will screen their film and host a panel on making modern families starting at 3pm. 

In honor of the upcoming Men’s Health week (June 11-17) and the Los Angeles screening of our film, One More Shot, with The ART of Infertility exhibit, Reimagining Reproduction, I decided to do a Q&A with my man, director/producer/subject of our film and overall awesome husband.

Panel discussion with Maya (center) after a screening of the film, One More Shot, in Salt Lake City this February. Photo by Steven Vargo.

Noah and I spent half a decade, half our marriage really, trying to make a baby. We spent about the same amount of time trying to make a movie. I’m not sure which was harder (or more expensive) but I’m grateful that we are on the other side of both efforts and that we are able to be a part of something like the ART of Infertilty exhibit, where we can share our story, connect to others with a similar experience, and instill hope that there are different ways a baby can be made. One of our main goals with this film is to decrease the stigma and shame often associated with infertility, and normalize the different ways babies can come into this world. On June 9th, we are excited to be screening the film with the ART of IF at Venice Arts in Marina Del Rey, LA, which is not just our home town, but literally, the gallery and our home are on the same street! We’d love to invite any local folks who are interested in checking out the film, the panel that will follow, and the gallery reception to GET FREE TKTS by clicking on the link.

If you like this mini interview with Noah, aka Hubs, then you’ll love seeing more of him and many others who have been some how impacted by infertility.

Noah and Maya at home during their interview with Elizabeth in December of 2014.

M: We are showing our film, One More Shot, with the ART of IF— What does it mean to have this film included as part of this art exhibit that displays different aspects of the infertility struggle through artistic means?

N: I always like being a part of Art of IF. I don’t believe you need to make a feature length film to say something about infertility. ART of IF features all kinds of media and mediums. I think it’s so important because you can tell that every piece is so important to the artist. It’s them throwing their hearts and pain and wishes into these pieces. You can really feel how much the pieces mean to those that created them. And that’s the whole point. Get it out.

M: Why was it important for you to have this creative outlet in making and editing and producing this film while we were going through years of infertility treatments?

N: I’m not the best at expressing my feelings in conversation. It was tough for me when it felt like we were having the same conversations daily. I didn’t really know what to do with all of that. But I can tell a story. I can make a show. I can make film. So throwing myself into that not only gave me something constructive to do with my energies but it also helped me process what we were going through.

M: How did making this film help or hurt our relationship?

N: I don’t think it hurt our relationship. I think it helped. It was an opportunity for us to do a creative project together and have a focus that wasn’t about the next IVF procedure or scheduling meds. Instead, we were able to focus on making a movie and all the things that come with that. We were doing something together other than staying up late and crying about our situation. It helped us and it kept us sane.

M: Our fertility struggles were because of issues I had with my ovaries. If we had male factor infertility, do you think you would have been as open documenting and sharing our reality?

N: I don’t think the process of making the film would have been as straight forward for me if it would have been male factor. There was still some distance for me in making it that allowed me to be a bit more objective. Personally, the longer it took for us to make the film the easier it was for me to talk about the whole thing. If the problem had been male factor I think I probably would have internalized a lot more of it. I don’t think I would be the best person to represent the male factor story. I hope somebody does make a male factor take on all of this. It would be really interesting and brave. For One More Shot, I really think this film works so well because of you and your voice and the way you were so open throughout.

M: What is one thing you would encourage any husband/partner to do to both support their partner and also support themselves emotionally through the process?

N: I would suggest a two-prong attack. First and foremost you need to talk about it, probably more than you want to. The more you discuss it with your partner, the easier it will be to discuss it in the real world, and that’s very important. It’s not important in the sense that you have to be a voice for the community – that’s great if you feel empowered – but it’s important because the more you discuss it the less shame you will feel. It will no longer feel like a reflection of you as a person. Second, you need an outlet. You need a way to blow off steam. As much as talking about it is important, you need to feel like you aren’t defined by infertility. You need to do things that allow you NOT to think about what you’re going through. For me, it was travel, creative projects, and taking up rock climbing. Trying not to fall off a giant slab of rock is a great way to avoid thinking about infertility.

M: And lastly, why should anyone is LA on June 9th come see our film, join us for a panel discussion about making modern families and have a drink with us and the fabulous folks at The ART of Infertility exhibit?

N: This is a fun opportunity even if you’ve already seen the movie. I’m really excited for the panel discussion and to see some of the people we interviewed talk about their experiences and connections with the film. I always jump at the chance to see a filmmaker speak about a movie I like. You get a more in depth understanding of what it took to make a film like this. Also, we’re all awesome people and the ART of IF team is great so why wouldn’t you want to come out to the Westside and make some friends?

Urban Arts Gallery, Salt Lake City. Arches in Perspective: The ART of Infertility in Utah was displayed here and at Art Access. Photo by Sarah Arnoff.

How ART of IF Intern Kristen Mahan will #FlipTheScript this Men’s Health Month

As most of you already know, we The ART of Infertility will be in Los Angeles during the month of June for Men’s Health Month. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Dr. Paul Turek of The Turek Clinics and to have Men’s Health Network as a Media Sponsor. Throughout the next few weeks, we will have a series of announcements sharing specific programming we will be hosting in conjunction with the exhibit. Here is our first “mini announcement”: we got a grant!

Maria, left, with Kristen at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Throughout this year, The ART of Infertility has been working with Kristen, our undergraduate intern who is majoring in marketing at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Kristen worked with Maria to design a research project that studies how social media campaigns can be better targeted at men with experiences of infertility. This work represents a new direction The ART of IF is embracing — mentoring young students about infertility and engaging in small research projects to provide an educational experience that responds to real, world issues in the fertility world.

We will have a lot to learn in this process but are excited and hope that we can #FlipTheScript to learn how to better include men in conversations of reproductive loss. Read more about the research project and Kristen’s take on it.

What is this grant?

With the help of Maria Novotny, I have been awarded the 2018/2019 Undergraduate Student/Faculty Collaborative Research Program grant. The research grant through the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will allow me to travel to Los Angeles with the project and learn about the challenges men face when experiencing infertility. As a young college student, I really do not know much about this experience. But working with the project for a few months, I have become more acutely aware that even if I’m not infertile — a friend or family member in the future most likely will share in this experience.

What is my research project?

Because The ART of Infertility tries to support marginalized populations experiencing infertility and that the Los Angeles event is held in conjunction with Men’s Health Month, my research project is focused on men.  Meaning, I am researching what educational resources men are in need of when experiencing infertility. We know one issue is a lack of male-focused infertility support. So, my research as a digital marketing student is interested in using social media as a way to foster a sense of support and community for infertile men. I plan to create a social media campaign, run that campaign after the opening of the LA exhibit, and then test the effectiveness of that campaign through a targeted survey. This means, that I need participants! So guys, this means I need you!

Why focus on social media?

A 2010 study found that media campaigns can greatly produce positive changes and prevent negative changes in health-related behaviors. I hope that my social media design and survey results will illuminate a series of findings and recommendations that describe methods of how to improve health-related resources for infertile men. Thus, reducing the isolating, stressful, emasculating, and stigmatized experience of male infertility.

What I’m looking forward to:

As a newer member to The ART of IF team, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity this grant from UW Oshkosh is allowing me to experience. Finally being able to see one of the exhibits that Maria and Liz put so much time and energy into will help me grow as a communications intern for ART of IF as well as a marketing/digital major in general. Throughout the first few months of interning with ART of IF, I have mostly seen women share their experiences with infertility. Having the chance to shift gears towards what males experience as well will be beneficial for my learning of the topic of infertility.

 

Kickstarter – Help us take the ART of IF to Washington, D.C.

As I began writing this, Maria was somewhere up in the sky or enjoying her layover in Minneapolis and I was about to board my flight to LAX. The past month has been a whirlwind prepping for our exhibit in Iowa City last weekend and Los Angeles County, this Saturday. I can only imagine that the next few weeks will fly by as well!

RESOLVE’s Advocacy Day is May 14th and Maria and I, along with Maria’s husband, Kevin, and my mother, Judy, will be on Capitol Hill in Washington, lobbying for legislation to help those with infertility build their families.

The ART of Infertility is heading to Washington, D.C. with a pop-up exhibit and workshops on May 15.

The ART of Infertility is heading to Washington, D.C. with a pop-up exhibit and workshops on May 15.

On Friday May 15th, we’re holding a pop-up art exhibit and writing and art workshops at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K in Washington, D.C. from 3 – 7 pm. The event is free and open to the public. We have artwork coming in from around the country (we’re still accepting art entries if you’d like yours included, click here.) and will be displaying local artwork, as well as a selection of the portraits and stories we’ve collected over the past year. Marissa McClure Sweeny will be teaching an art workshop and Jenny Rough, who you heard from on our blog yesterday, will lead a writing workshop. Registration is required for the workshops so please contact us if you’d like to attend. These community art events are powerful tools for raising awareness about infertility and building a network of support for those living with the disease.

The event in DC will be our 13th in a little over a year. (Is that possible? I had to check it 4 times to believe it was right!) We’ve been almost completely self-funded until very recently and, if the project is going to be sustainable and allow us to provide a creative outlet to more people in more cities, we know we can’t continue that trend. It’s been suggested by those who like what we are doing that we launch a Kickstarter campaign to allow people to easily contribute to the cause.

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A screen shot of the Kickstarter campaign we hope will help take the exhibit to Washington, D.C.

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, here’s how it works. You have an opportunity to contribute to a project, in this case, our pop-up exhibit and workshops in D.C. and get a little something from the project in return.  We have some cool ART of IF swag featuring art from the project as rewards for contributing (ART of IF T-shirt, journal, or messenger bag, anyone?), as well as opportunities to get framed artwork from the show and a digital version of the exhibit we put together for D.C. We set a goal of $3500 and only receive money if our funding goal is reached. We don’t make it to $3500, we don’t get a thing. We only have 20 days to reach our goal! So, we’re asking for your help in funding this show in our nation’s capitol. Will you please join us in supporting the men and women with infertility in the DC area and those traveling in from around the country for Advocacy Day by contributing to our campaign? Here’s the link! ART of IF in DC Kickstarter Campaign.

Thank you!

Elizabeth