Below is a description that I included with the artwork on my art Instagram page. It is a deeply personal piece, and I wanted to share it with others. I found that people resonated with the experience, and it made me realize that my network of moms expands well beyond my current location.
This artwork visually represents some of my emotions and sensations through recent experiences in breastfeeding. I visualized aspects of this piece several weeks ago, and I felt compelled to create a final artwork. It all began in the hospital, just hours after I had given birth to my son. Like many new mothers, I anticipated a seamless transition into feeding my child. I thought, “It’s a natural process, how hard could it be?” However, I had some challenges including shallow nipples, and my son had a slight tongue-tie that made it a little difficult for him to latch properly. I was sore, sleep deprived, and anxious with every hunger cry that came from my new baby. I also cried. With some guidance from lactation consultants and my own persistence, I left the hospital with more confidence to breastfeed successfully.
Fast-forward to the first days at home with a newborn. I was a bit in shock when my milk had come in and I woke up thinking, “Whoa. My boobs are huge!” I practiced the different tips and techniques that the lactation nurses explained to me, and things were going well. Little did I know that my hormones would cause me to cry over small things or seemingly nothing at all… happy tears, sad tears, and tears of frustration. I recall the first time using a breast pump: fumbling around with the pieces and cursing at the idea of pumping both sides at once. (How the f*#! did people keep the flanges from falling down while trying to turn the thing on?) I was so frustrated by the time I figured things out, and then the mechanical sound just set me off. Cue the tears again. I felt like a cow… or a milk machine. Regardless, I didn’t feel like myself, or that I had much control over what was happening to my body.
This series illustrates three significant milestones during each trimester. The first image repeats three pregnancy tests, one of which indicates a positive. This positive test marked the beginning of the pregnancy journey.
The second image is a replication of the ultrasound photo from my 20-week appointment, aka the anatomy scan. Though it is not seen in the image, the most fascinating aspect of the scan was seeing the four chambers of the heart! I was blown away. This ultrasound was the only one that actually resembled a baby (previous images looked like a blob and a dinosaur).
The third image in the series represents stretch marks and Linea Nigra. I was a little disappointed at first to see stretch marks forming on my abdomen on either side just below my bellybutton. However, I have grown to appreciate them as a rite of passage into motherhood.
This drawing illustrates the beauty and intricacy of creating a human being. I included a repetition of symbols in abstraction that reminded me of the process.
During the 2018-2019 school year, I began to do weekly drawings for students based on their suggestions (examples shown below). Click on individual images to see larger versions. Scroll down for other artworks.