Sunday, October 16, 2011

Birth Art

This week Cam and I have started doing "birth art." I have been reading Birthing from Within by Pam England, who did her thesis research on art produced by pregnant women. She found that women often have an easier time expressing their concerns/fears about pregnancy and labor through art than through words, as well as their hope and their excitement. I'm not sure I'm uninhibited enough in my artwork for her to read anything in it that I couldn't say aloud, but I have really enjoyed the process!

Here's why I've loved doing this so far:
  • Each project has given me a couple of hours in which I simply sketch, color, and meditate on my pregnancy. I have not taken enough time for such meditation up until now and it has been very relaxing and welcome. Thinking back on coloring time, my mind was engaged in little else than the colors and lines. How rarely do I give it such an opportunity to wind down!
  • I did actually learn about the way I view my pregnancy. For one who was not settled about her pregnancy in the beginning at all, and really not through the whole first trimester, I have most happily discovered that I am perfectly at peace now --- and more. I know where I fit into this picture.
  • Cam and I were able to learn about each other in the process, and the way we each understand how our life together is changing. I think it gave him the same kind of opportunity for expression and meditation that we so rarely take time for.

In her book, England gives a list of 12 topics that can form a Birth Art series for an expectant couple. This week we did the first two:

Pregnant Woman: How do you see yourself (or your partner) as Pregnant Woman?

"Pregnant Woman" by Meredith
(Forgive the nudity--- it tends to come with birth art). I have come to see myself as a growing thing --- and not just in the physical sense! Pregnancy is a time of spiritual stretching. I am suddenly playing an important role in the ages of the human race, linking its roots to its branches. My mother and my three older sisters are also in this picture, who have gone before me as mothers.

"Pregnant Woman" by Cameron
I really love this one --- Cam is a master of color and motion. He says the central section is the womb, with light radiating outward. The green circles resembling eyes are the onlookers, watching the womb develop.

Being Pregnant: What is being pregnant like for you? (a physical experience, a spiritual feeling, a thought or even an abstract image.)

"Being Pregnant" by Meredith
I sat for a long time before beginning to sketch this one. I thought of all kinds of adjectives that I feel describe my "state" of being pregnant, which I'm not sure are traditionally associated with pregnancy. Keep in mind it's my second trimester! I will probably change my mind in a couple of months. But right now I feel stable, strong, full of unusual energy, and at the same time more delicate and more beautiful than usual. So I drew a star, with "stained glass" as my medium.

Cam is still working on his second one. I hope to post it when it's finished!

Though I'm not always the "get in touch with your innermost self" type, I really enjoyed this exercise. England makes the strong point that you don't have to consider yourself an artist or even spend a lot of time. But it was time my baby and I are glad I spent.


  1. Wow, I totally skipped that part of the book. You let it inspire you and in turn inspired me. Thanks for sharing your insightful artwork, both of you. It does seem like a fun thing to do together. Maybe we'll try it next time around (I'd be curious to see what Keenan would come up with).

  2. Meredith, your art is truly lovely. I love you picture of the woman in the tree. I was just going to write the same thing Nonie wrote. I think I'm going to try this next time.

  3. I think your art displays an inner boldness of character; even just to try it, and put it out there for all to see. But also because the beauty of the artwork is truly expressive and touching. All of them are wonderful.

    I'd love to have a copy of the the "family trees". Beautiful.