Alive and Kickin’

Oh boy! (or girl).  I am feeling pretty big kicks now.  One kick was so big that one of my cats, who was

barefoot and pregnant

barefoot and pregnant

sitting on my lap last night, moved her paw involuntarily where the baby kicked.  I literally saw my belly move.  The cat wasn’t really paying any attention, though.

Allie and I have signed up for a special HypnoBirthing class which begins mid-November.  In Hypnobirthing, we will learn relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques, which will help us to eliminate fear and tension during labor.  Apparently, when a woman gives birth, she may fear the pain, which actually prolongs the labor process (because the birthing mother may go into fight-or-flight mode, which draws blood away from your womb, where you need your strength, and into your arms and legs).  Being as comfortable and as confident as possible in myself sounds good to me!  In our introductory “class”, we also learned that there will be two important breathing techniques to use during “surges” (the new word for contractions).  It all sounds very interesting, but the true test will be in the birthing room.

Allie and I were talking to his parents the other night about a special that was aired on PBS many years ago about the birthing process, culminating with the mother giving birth.  Ralph and I both thought it was made in the 70’s, but according to PBS, it was made in 1983.  I clearly remember watching this show, and how amazed I was.  I just Googled it, and wouldn’t you know, it’s available on DVD!  Not only that, but there was a sequel made in the year 2000, and you can even watch the sequel online here. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/miracle/program.html)

Before Allie and I moved from New Rochelle to Bronxville, where we are now, we were cleaning out the basement and I found some old watercolors that I did a while ago.  A number of them were birthing or fertility themed.  It’s funny to go back and look at the stuff I’d created because I was so removed from it.  I must have been really obsessed with the birthing process, even though at the time I created the paintings, I certainly was not ready to have children.  But the amazement of pregnancy and childbirth still moved me enough to create art about it.  And now I’m getting ready to create the most important work of my life (until the next kid)!

What’s really interesting to me is that for thousands, even tens of thousands of years, humans have been using art to emulate and honor fertility and childbirth.  It must be instinctive.  I found a few examples and have posted them here:

Venus of Willendorf – neolithic

Venus of Willendorf (from the Neolithic period) is a fertility goddess, showing her full, nurturing breasts and a shapely body that is pregnant-ready.

Venus of Willendorf (from the Neolithic period) is a fertility goddess, showing her full, nurturing breasts and a shapely body that is pregnant-ready.

Cybele, Roman Goddess of Fertility

Cybele, the Goddess of Fertility, the sculpture by Mihail Chemiakin, in front of Mimi Ferzt Gallery in Soho, on Prince Street. - 20th century, which closely copies the multi-breasted ancient sculptural depictions of the Roman Goddess Artemis

Cybele, the Goddess of Fertility, sculpture by Mihail Chemiakin, in front of Mimi Ferzt Gallery in Soho, on Prince Street, NYC. (20th century)

The above sculpture closely resembles the multi-breasted ancient sculptural depictions of the Roman Goddess Artemis:

Artemis, ancient Rome

Artemis (black), ancient Rome

Artemis, ancient Rome

Artemis (white), ancient Rome

Next, I found a picture of a reproduction of the awesome Sheila-na-gig, whose figure appeared all over old Irish churches before the 16th century:

Sheila-na-gig, Irish, 16th century.  Top o'the mornin' to ya.  Oh, HELLO!

Sheila-na-gig, Irish, 16th century. Top o' the mornin' to ya. Oh, HELLO!

Goddess Ixchel (Mayan) - this is a modern rendition of Ixchel, who, as a fertillity goddess, is pictured with a rabbit, another symbol of fertility.  Allie gave this sculpture to me as a present.

Goddess Ixchel (Mayan) - this is a modern rendition of Ixchel, who, as a fertility goddess, is pictured with a rabbit, another symbol of fertility. Allie gave this sculpture to me as a present.

The above is Goddess Ixchel, sacred to the ancient Mayans of Mesoamerica.

African fertility statue – This couple reminds me of me and Allie, even though our baby hasn’t come out yet:

This statue of African fertility is said to bring couples good luck in wanting to conceive.

This statue of African fertility is said to bring couples good luck in conception.

Israel rock carving, woman giving birth – located in one of the most popular archeological sites in Israel:

israel_rockcarving

Israel rock carving of a woman giving birth (Timna, Egyptian period, from the 13th to the 12th Century BCE)

Egyptian mother squatting and giving birth, assisted by two goddesses (Hathor and Taweret),from the Temple of Hathor at Dendera:

What a relief!  Ancient Egypt - Woman giving birth

What a relief! Ancient Egypt - Woman giving birth

Below is the Hindu Goddess Kali depicted as giving birth.  This is unusual because Kali is most often depicted as the Goddess of destruction and transformation.  But it does make sense because I believe that when a woman gives birth, she is between life and death, which is transformation.

Kali

Kali

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October 7, 2008. Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. Lisa replied:

    FYI-this is the film that made me want to live vicariously through others during their pregnancy..

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