I recently picked up a copy of birth from within and have been doing the birth art excercises. I am a little saddened at some of my "art" though. I started out very pleased with my pregnant woman drawing but the further I get with the art the darker it seems to be. When drawing my "fantasy of labour and birth" pictures today I was startled at how sad they are. IT is amazing the honesty that comes out of them. My first two births were at hospital and though I would like to have a homebirth this time I am frightened and not sure if I can afford it. My labour and birth picture has me tied to a monitor and IV looking pale lying on my back with mean nurses yelling at me and me crying help.
I kind of thought the picture would be something very positive but all these fears are coming out in the art.
How do I not sabatage my birth? I have very good earthy feelings about giving birth on the surface but these deeper fears concern me.
Just needed to vent.
You are putting your fears on paper.
Some people would write a story, or a poem.
You are drawing it.
Let your art cleanse your fears from your system. Your fear is laid out on paper for you to see. You are using your creative power to take it out of your subconsciousness and using your arm and eye to create on a piece of paper w/ paint (or charcoal or pencil) what you cannot discern while it is in your mind.
You can look at it from a different POV and deal w/ it more dispassionately.
Armchair psychologist at work.
I think that's the idea, according to BFW, that you work it out of your subconscious w/the art, and then it's there for you to know, and that helps ease your mind and remove the fear.
I think in BFW it says that if you can put it out there, it helps remove it, not that it makes it more ingrained in your psyche. It's not supposed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. THe author studied art as a form of expression, so I think this is what she's getting at.
I think if you keep going, you'll get to the stuff where you draw what you want to happen, and that's what will stick in your mind.
I'm also reading this now, but haven't started any art work yet. I'm discovering some things about my deeper feelings though, just reflecting on the passages and the drawings in the book. My first birth was very positive, with a wonderful midwife and nurse in the hospital. My husband and mother were there and I feel like we sailed through labor and the birth almost effortlessly. I felt such strength in myself and no one there ever doubted that I could do it.
But now I'm planning a homebirth... mostly because we don't live near that hospital anymore and I'd like to be at home with both my babies after the birth. I'm not feeling as "at ease" and confident as I did the first time around and I realized that I'm wondering how much of that confidence came from knowing that the drug safety net was right out the door at the hospital. I was very open minded about it and just told myself that I would do my best and not be disappointed if things got too hairy for me. I didn't know what to expect. Maybe this time, knowing how hard and painful pushing him out really was is making me worry.
Anyway, I guess I feel like talking about this with my midwives and working through it now will help me get to a place where I am at ease and confident with my plans and expectations for myself. At this point in time I've resolved to laboring at home and ... if things are going well, then the birth at home will just happen. If things are not going how I'd like them to or if I feel for any reason I'd be more comfortable in the hospital, then that's okay to. I feel like I've found a way to get past this issue and start focusing on other things....
We'll see what comes out in the birth art
The good thing about recoganizing your fears is that you can confront them. what are you scared of? What steps can you take to make sure it is something you don't need to worry about? Since what you drew isn't what you want, then what do you want? Do you know? How would you go about getting what you want?
Birth art is really, just like everyone else has already said, a way to actively deal with the feelings you already have. I believe the best way to work through fear is to walk through it, and its possible that if you son't deal with it now, you'll be dealing with it while you labor- causing a longer labor.
One thought I had about the picture you described is that you may find it helpful to imagine yourself as that woman on the bed, strapped down and with the mean nurses. Say to them all the things you wanted to say then, but were afraid to. Really give that woman power. Maybe you'd prefer to write a letter. You don't have to send it, probably just getting out all that emotion would be helpful.
That process has helped me through a lot of issues in my life and left me feeling powerful and without the same fears that I had before.
Thank you for all the encouragement, as I continue to explore my art and my feelings I am finding much peace and resolution. I think the "hospital " picture has been as much a distraction for me as a fear. Drawing it has helped me deal with it, and allowed me to move past it, onto other issues. After the scary hospital birth picture, I drew a family centered birth and then a home birth picture and I find looking at them really calms me. I am so glad I found this book and didn't stop making art because of one unpleasant feeling/picture.
I have been asking my 6yr dd if she would like to make birth art too and she has made some very interesting pieces. It's a wonderful way to share and get discussions started. I have even found out about a two day WS based on BFW being offered not to far from here and I am planning to call and register this afternoon. I am really excited!
Thanks again, you have been a wonderful support.
That is so neat that your dd has done birth art too!
Have you thought about what you'll do with all those pictures?
Right now I have all the pictures hanging on the wall in my home office so we can look at them whenever we want. After the baby is born I think I will put them all together in a scrapbook to tuck away with the baby books. I'd like to do some sculpting to display that on a birth alter untill the birth and then who knows, maybey over the fireplace!