How I tried to convince my husband to have children

Olga Bushkova

2012 - Ongoing

Zurich, Switzerland; Rostov-na-Donu, Rostov, Russia

My mom was 22 when I was born. I’m 27, and I have no kids. Everybody has kids. But I don’t. My husband is the reason why I have no kids. We didn’t talk about kids before we got married. I didn’t know I’d need to convince him.

I always dreamed of becoming a mother. My husband always offered rational arguments against it. His recurring statement was that women risk turning into housewives if they become mothers before establishing themselves professionally.

But I want him to be a father. I surround him with pictures of kids. I hang them everywhere. I got old family albums from his parents. I also keep a diary. I record all discussions. I want to put everything in a book. And I will give it to him. And it will convince him.

We decided to make a playful agreement: if I manage to establish myself as a photographer, that is, by producing a photobook, then my husband would agree to have children. I attended a photographic masterclass of Magnum photographer Alex Majoli, where I chose to work on this story about my dream of becoming a mother. The work has now been completed in a form of a dummy photobook.

I use my personal notes, photos I have taken of other children and (presumably) happy families, archive photos of my and my husband’s parents, audio recordings of my personal conversations with my husband, photos of the walls of our apartment which I continuously decorated with pictures, photos of half-finished birth control pill packages etc. The project is constructed as a visual diary of a person with an obsession: to have a baby.

The love story, eventually, grows into a dramatic and complex struggle between the rational arguments and the irrational feelings and becomes a story of a relationship in a couple, its communication, boundaries, expectations and disappointments.

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