I made my first sculptures honoring the experience of cesarean birth several years ago. They were created for a special VBAC-hopeful mama. She shared a little bit of her story with me and gave me permission to share it. She experienced a traumatic cesarean following a birth-center-labor turned emergency transfer. Her baby almost died and she was still struggling to reconcile her feelings and her grief about his birth. She was very appreciative of the care from her birth center midwives and asked me if I would make a set of sculptures for them as a gift. While I previously only made sculptures for myself or for my friends, her story touched me and I agreed to make the figures. The picture I took of them ended up becoming the “famous” cake-pan lid photo that launched me into selling a whole lot of different birth art sculptures and opening up my etsy shop.
After receiving the sculptures to give as gifts, she requested I make another special set of sculptures, this time for her. Her request was to have a figure that was “wearing her scar proudly” and that would help her heal from the trauma and disempowerment of her emergency cesarean as well as prepare for a hopeful future VBAC. I was intimidated by the idea of making something to help someone else heal. I mean, wow! What a privilege and responsibility. There felt like a real risk in interpreting another woman’s experience artistically and I worried about disappointing her or not getting it. Around the same time as this request, I talked to a real-life friend about her experience with ovarian surgery during pregnancy and her feelings about her scar. After talking to her, I kept thinking, “her courage is written on her body” and I knew I wanted to include words as part of the scar.
These mamas have taken powerful birth journeys. They have laid down their bodies for their babies. They hold their experiences, they wear them, their courage, love, and hope, upon their skin. The birth experience is there, loud and clear, and yet new experiences and joys are too. She is whole.
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