Friday, May 14, 2010
The Art/Body Connection
Well, my due date is tomorrow and . . . no baby! I have never been THIS pregnant. All my other kids were born early.
With my previous pregnancies the last month was the hardest. The depression usually set in around 35 weeks and it was a slow slide into Unhappy Land. Not so this time. This last month has actually been fun. A little crazy, but fun. Maybe it's because I was so busy during the rest of the pregnancy that these last few weeks have been my only chance to really think about this new little person that's been gestating inside me.
To be honest, though, last Monday was a terrible day. I didn't sleep well. I woke up exhausted. I had no patience with my children and no motivation to do anything but lay on the couch. My children watched movies for the bulk of the day and I stared at the wall. I was beginning to wonder if it wasn't time to break out my antidepressants.
But things turned around for me Tuesday. I think that's because, well, Monday was a bad day and people have those occasionally without actually being depressed. I forget that sometimes. Also, I think Tuesday was a better day because I had something to look forward to--and it's something I would heartily recommend to other mommies nearing the end of pregnancy--Belly Painting!
A friend of mine, Julia Cameron Damon, is multi-faceted, multi-talented woman who specializes in the art of body painting and photography. I've seen a lot of her portfolio and have found her work at turns whimsical, confrontational, enchanting, and instructive. So when she approached me about painting my extremely pregnant belly I wasn't sure what to say, but I decided this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I might as well experience it.
It was so fun! I was surprised by how relaxing it was and how much I enjoyed the process. I'm the kind of gal who likes to invest meaning in things so Cam and I approached things from an Earth Mother/all creations point to the Great Creator vibe. Because one thing I love about pregnancy is the connection it creates between me as a creative being and Heavenly Father as a creative being. As Elder Uchtdorf said, "But to what end were we created? We were created with the express purpose and potential of experiencing a fulness of joy. Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness. One of the ways we find this is by creating things. If you are a mother, you participate with God in His work of creation—not only by providing physical bodies for your children but also by teaching and nurturing them."
Cam did a beautiful job by starting with earth tones and layering in some beautiful jeweled branches to reflect the eternal growth that my new baby's mortality is a part of.
The truly surprising thing, though, about all this was how after awhile the meaning became secondary to the product. The meaning behind it all was beautiful for me, but after staring at my resplendent belly in the mirror and seeing the photos I couldn't get over how pretty it all was. That I was pretty. That even in my incredibly bulbous and swollen state, I was doing something beautiful. Those feelings pointed me back to the mystery that is pregnancy and birth and filled me with positive emotions. The paint served to accent the beauty of human life and our connections to the eternities. It's like, God made magnolia trees and kingfishers and mountains and clouds because they are beautiful. And for a little while, I felt like I had tapped that feeling of beauty and made it part of my own body. It was a mystical experience that still has me smiling.
All images in this post are copyrighted and are not to be used without the express permission of Julia Cameron Damon