Birth Art and Mind-Body Birthing
Birth art is one of the mediums I use to explore birth and it's possibilities. On occasion, women are not interested in drawing pictures of themselves because they consider it childish or because they feel they can better express themselves in words. The majority of women though are curious and excited about birth art. The reason I like to use birth art (in the form of drawing, clay, dance and acting for example) is that it has been very helpful in discovering the more intuitive, mind/body birthing strength in each woman and partner.
In the first drawing above, I asked the woman to draw her fears. She said she had none and didn't know what to draw. I suggested that she draw a self-portrait while keeping in mind the word fear. The large heart represents her and the little one represents her unborn daughter. They are both happy and connected. Green is the colour she feels strongest about it also represents assertiveness. Both mother and child are in the same colour, sharing a connection that they are in this together. The green lines around the mother and child represent the mother's radiating strength of body and mind. It is unbroken and surrounds her. The blue swirls around the outside of the drawing represent infinite protection of the birthing mothers strength. I asked this mother if her fear was that something would come and break this infinite protection of strength. She said no, because it is infinite and unbreakable.
The second illustration is a drawing of the mother in the birth environment during labour/delivery. I asked her to make a self-portrait of the birth room. She said it was similar to the first drawing in that it was about her and her daughter surrounded by an infinite amount of strength and protection. She said there was no one else in the room, no material objects or presence other than of her and her child. This is because no matter what happened, if she was on a bed or the floor, if there were doctors she didn't like, they were irrelevant to her. She felt that she had sufficient support from her connection to her child, and the strength of her mind to get her through her birth. This was her experience and no one could touch it.
During her labour in the delivery room, she squatted on the bed (it was in an L shape and she hugged the upper part of it) and her self-portrait was tapped to the wall in front of her. It helped her to remember the mental strength she knew she had and helped her have the strength to believe in the infinite protection.
This woman had incredible power in her birth experience. Her birth art helped her express her birth vision and supported her through her delivery. It also helped me (her doula) be aware of where her strength came from so that I could help her use it as a focal point to get through the pain and discomfort of labour. Her birth art was a source of power in keeping her on top of the pain. She had a natural labour with no interventions (not even an IV, no drugs).
Every time an intervention was recommended, I was able to remind her of her strength and she was able to avoid the intervention, rather than become discouraged and disempowered. The birth art made us both aware and served as a reminder to be aware of her infinite strength and protection.