A Reflection on Birth

I’m entering my third month of motherhood and I’ve been feeling this deep need to write about my birthing experience. It keeps coming up in my head and it’s like I want to talk about it. I’ve always been drawn to artists who can take their life experiences and turn them into art—Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite examples of this—but for me to do it personally has always been difficult. With the age of the internet, there’s a fine line between sharing and oversharing and I tend to avoid sharing personal life stories. But this feels different. I think that writing about the birth will actually help me move forward and in that process, I’ll find some truths to take with me on my creative journey. Does that make sense?


As I had mentioned on IG, I had to have a c-section and honestly, it’s the best thing that could’ve happened to me. While pregnant, I was terrified of the actual labor part and the thought of trying to have a natural birth for 20+ hours just seemed unbearable. The hospital I went to really advocates natural births and when I was taking the labor class, they made c-sections sound like it was a last-resort option. I just never considered it as something that I’d go through but when I went into the hospital, it’s like my conscience and my body were actually in tune because I had the fastest delivery imaginable; my baby was out in the world in 50 minutes.


It all happened so quickly that the event itself feels like it didn’t occur to me. I didn’t have time to get scared or upset or to cry or to think it all the way through. I checked into the hospital, they hooked me up to a few machines and then suddenly there were 10 nurses in the room with me. I knew that something was serious. I was lying down on my side and a doctor appeared in my face and said I needed the c-section and was asking for my verbal consent. As they were carting me down the hall to the operating room, a nurse was telling me that everything was going to be ok but then she also had to tell me that the operation could be fatal.


Did she have to use that f-word?


When she dropped the word ‘fatal,’ I kind of turned off to what was going on and questioned whether I wanted to cry. My own voice replied, “no, not now” and I just blocked it out of my mind as they stripped me down and transferred my body to another bed. In the operating room, there had to be about 15 people working in there at once. They were rushing all over the place, and I distinctly remember this man giving orders and laying out a fresh supply of tools on a metal table. Someone told me to lay my arms out in a T shape and my first thought was of a crucifixion. Why did my mind have to go straight to that? I silently chuckled to myself because it felt reassuring to have my sense of humor with me while everything else was outside of my control.


The epidural went in and they literally had me sign some paperwork as the needle was going into my spine. My husband came in, the lights overhead were super bright above and a curtain came down to block our view of the surgery. I could feel my body being tugged this way and that, like my hips were being jostled between the whole crew of doctors and nurses on the other side of that curtain. I imagined that the bottom half of my body was moving around like one of those roadside air dancer tubes. I couldn’t tell when my baby came out of my body but I did hear her cries and my husband poked his head from out of the curtain and just said, “oh my god, she’s here!”


Before I knew it, they brought her to me and it was kind of like I already knew her. It wasn’t surreal or emotional for me the way most mothers describe it. She just was this part of me that I already had met or grown to know over the months. What’s interesting is that during my pregnancy, I had made the Vanitas Collection. I was starting to feel a deeper connection with intuition because I was thinking of myself as a mother and who I wanted to become. That intuition spilled into my creative process and it felt like I knew what I wanted to make so the Vanitas Collection felt very different from my previous bodies of work. I was working with her and learning from her even before she was born, and because creativity is how I communicate when I say that I already knew her, that’s why. Meeting her and seeing her for the first time felt very normal and natural.


I think the quick labor and c-section are symbolic of our personalities. I absolutely do not enjoy having my time wasted and tend to strive for efficiency. She is already showing signs of someone who knows exactly what she likes or doesn’t like and does not have time for anything else. I know that her confidence will be something that I learn from and will ultimately shape how I create pieces in the future. Is that weird to feel that way already? Maybe because I love how motherhood, or even major life events, push artists to connect more with their art. When something big like this happens, they learn from it and absorb it until it becomes their art.