I wanted to share my story as to why I believe Birth Art is an incredible birth preparation and birth de-brief tool.
My Birth Art Journey
As my world fell about my ears on the diagnosis of my second baby’s issue, I tumbled to a dark and lonely place.
Instead of the all consuming joy of pregnancy that I felt with my first, I was in a world filled with doubt, with fear, with extreme isolation. It felt like being in a deep, dark, tangled forest of Anderson fairy tales, brambles snagging my hair and an eerie silence throughout.
I wept at night, the deep wailing howl of despair.
I had an urge to mould something out of clay, I created a beautiful, delicate fragile labyrinth and a model of Sheela na gig, all whilst watching a film that took me back to my carefree days of clubs and music.
And as I moved through my grieving for my peaceful homebirth, as I realised the futility of my fight and realised I needed to find a different way, I needed to dig deep and find me, the birth warrior a great anger overcame me. Anger with everyone, with the world, with friends, with the medical community and with myself.
I took those clay models and with a burst of uncontrollable anger I marched to our compost heap, and I broke, I smashed, I crushed, muttering primal sounds. And as they crumbled to tiny fragments I felt a deep release, a letting go, a surrendering almost to this new, frightening path I was on. I felt a glimmer of hope that I could move way out of my comfort zone and find what I needed to find to not just cope, not just survive but make this birth mine.
I found the energy to research, to find ways to create a home within a hospital room. Beautiful pictures, evocative scents, reach out to friends – blankets were made, words and pictures were sent, a necklace was made.
And then one day a new creation formed from within a delicate, new labyrinth, the labyrinth of my birth, my journey. Something to take with me into the hospital and which, although tucked away during actual labour stayed with me in my mind’s eye, I mentally walked it as the huge, awesome on the edge contractions consumed my body.
Amongst the confusion, the pain, the medical madness that surrounded the birth of my second son, even through the possibility of a caesarean section, I found that deep, secure me, even though I still hold some traumas from that birth – they weren’t of my doing, I sit here confidently knowing that despite everything I birthed my son, vaginally. And even with the flashbacks of what ‘they’ did to me, what they said to me, I hold a tiny golden star that I did it – I outdid them I had my natural birth, I felt my own power.
It makes for mixed feelings, last night I had surges of a panic attack, a deep anger of things said and things done, a deep anger that I am unheard by them. Warrior anger. But my thoughts immediately can go to how can I work through this anger, this deep pain. What tools and resources do I know I have to battle through, will I paint? Will I sculpt? Will I drum? Will I dance? I expect all of those things. Bit by bit I can release and let go. I know I can and that’s the thing, that’s what Birth Art has given me, a deep understanding of my own true strengths. An understanding that allowing this pain, fear, anger out – to give it a voice is the first step to healing.