I feel that art helps me express and articulate some of the most inexplicable and intangible thoughts, ideas and feelings. Thoughts that even I may not be aware of. Feelings that may not be able to surface with the help of words. Those expressions present at the subconscious level float up when I express with paint and brush. Or, a mere gel pen – to doodle.
And, I’ve never felt the force of art more powerfully than during my pregnancy. Right from the first trimester when I started pottery and painted my dozens of clay creations to avid Zentangle doodling to the 30-day Leaf Art Challenge during the eighth month.
And then, just a week before Sufiana’s birth - some more leaf art – this time art on leaves itself. And, affirmations. This is something I haven’t shared with you yet. And, I thought, this Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to share these artful creations that I made with tremendous love for my baby – to welcome her in and with overflowing positivity.
Birth Art – A Meditative Process to Heal and Connect
I’ve found that art during pregnancy and close to birth (as part of childbirth preparation) can heal like nothing else can. It can help you express your fears, your innermost desires, doubts and beliefs.
But then, I also feel that it’s important to approach this art as a tool to express and heal and connect with your inner self rather than as an art project.
That’s what I did for all the art that I made when pregnant – I never tried to make the best art or strive for perfection. I just listened to the feelings rise within me and allowed my pen/paint brush to do the talking.
So, here’s another collection of art that I made as the count-down (to my baby’s arrival) began!
Leaf Art and Affirmations – Merely Days Before Birth
It was Oct 23 – about 10 days before Sufiana’s birth. We’d reserved three days of stay at a resort (Club Mahindra) in Goa.
The first day that we were there, we headed to the nearest beach and I collected hundreds of shells for hours and doodled on the shore…
Making art on wet sand feels so tranquil.
As I allowed that twig to express my feelings, I was simultaneously talking to my Sufi baby in my womb (placing hands on my belly) and telling her how much she means to me, and to her father and sister who’re bubbling with love for their little one – venting out all that energy and enthusiasm by cycling the entire stretch of the shore back and forth…
A Rendezvous with Leaves (Again)!
And, the next morning, right after breakfast, I went out for a nature walk and sweated it out. Literally so (talk about the October Goa heat)! It was still raining in Goa on and off – up until Mid October. But, that specific day was unbearably hot and humid. Yet, there was no stopping me.
That brick-laden path I took went all the way down to the beach. And, on the way I collected heaps of fallen leaves in beautiful colours and shapes. Folks going up and down the path couldn’t help staring at me in bewilderment. A fully pregnant woman, squatting every now and then to collect fallen leaves! I agree, it seems out of place. Insane, may be. But, what the heck! haha!
So, here’s a picture of my nature collection.
Once back to our room, I wiped the leaves thoroughly to get rid off any dust and grime. And then, got going – with a few doodling pens (black and other colours).
From the moment I started, there was no stopping. I took a few breaks just to snack, drink water and pace around so as not to get swollen feet.
By evening, I was done.
Art, affirmations, leaf collage!
Some of the affirmations that I wrote on these leaves:
Sufi baby, My Womb is a temple of joy because of you!
All doubts are put aside as I look forward to your birth.
I am the artist and the artwork.
I see you lil Sufi baby cradled in my arms.
It’s safe to be who I am.
Sufi baby, I look forward to your birth with such joy!
Exhausted but satisfied, I headed to the swimming pool.
All this while, Pari and Avie went to the beach to cycle once more. And, when they got back, Pari joined me. Avie wrote an affirmation, too, for our Sufi baby.
If you’re wondering, we used these Sakura Gel Ink Moonlight Pens to doodle.
Here’s Something For You to Explore
Are you going to be a mother for the first time? Or, once more?
I strongly suggest that you try your hand (actually heart!) at making birth art to discover your self-image, your beliefs, your dreams and desires.
For those of you who have given birth to your baby/babies and may not have another child – nothing stops you from making your birth art. You can still make it as an exploration of your motherhood (or your own birth – talk to your mother about it). You can actually take the help of birth art to heal any physical, emotional trauma that you may have gone through during your pregnancy and baby’s birth.
Some tips and suggestions on how to make your birth art:
(This is the ‘pregnant self-portrait‘ I’d made as part of my 30-day leaf art challenge – back in Sept. 2013. See the whole 30-day series here.)
Visualize your pregnant image and draw or paint whatever comes up – any past/present fears, doubts, grudges. Or, stories that you may have heard about your own birth – from your mother. Any pleasant, unpleasant memories. Go with the flow. Stay with those feelings. Get curious and see what it conveys – whatever you’ve drawn. Don’t try to be artistic. It’s not the art per se that matters but what it conveys to you.
So, we don’t have to have an artistic hand to make birth art. Doesn’t that feel liberating!
Happy Valentine’s Day love from my heart to yours!