Not an artist? Think you don’t have a creative bone in your body? Don’t worry – you don’t need that to be able to get some healing and comfort from creative expression. In fact, it’s a very powerful tool for many women as they prepare for birth and want to face any fears they may have, or as they reflect on their birth, and process what may not have worked out as they had hoped.
Art therapy, whether guided in a group environment or done on your own, may help you explore and express the dreams, concerns and hopes – or sadness, grief and anger – that may be part of your own journey into motherhood. It can be a process of self-discovery and spiritual growth, and of healing and release.
A creative outlet can be beneficial to your overall health. Some people paint, draw, knit, quilt, sew, bead, sculpt, write, sketch, create collages or vision boards… I photograph and scrapbook.
I enjoy scrapbooking but I often don’t finish pages. I have many I still need to title, journal and even date. There’s no rhyme or reason to the order in which I scrapbook and I am nowhere near being “caught up” – whatever that means! I can see many flaws in my own pages, but I do it because my kids love seeing these albums all about them and us. It gives me joy to see them turning through our scrapbooks and remembering the special moments or events that we’ve shared. And I love paper and embellishments.
Soon after my third pregnancy ended in early miscarriage in July 2005, I decided to put my feelings down in a simple scrapbook layout. Setting aside all my self-critique, I simply pasted onto paper some of the special photos that reminded me of what helped me as I allowed my body to process this loss in its own time, and what filled my heart with gratitude. Both the process and the product helped me heal and move forward, and feel as though I was honoring that pregnancy in some small way.
Here is the product of my own little creative art therapy and expression:
And the journaling that was part of the process:
“Birth art doesn’t have to be pretty, colorful or carefully planned. It is as raw, honest and spontaneous as birth itself.
It is important to notice how you approach making art, because it is a metaphor for how you approach doing things in your life, especially things you are unfamiliar with, such as birthing. Do you say, “I don’t know how to do this!” and hesitate, or give up altogether (leaving it up to “the professionals”)? Do you find yourself comparing yourself and competing with others? Or can you be curious and say, “Let’s see what I can do!”?
Your art, like your labor, doesn’t have to be perfect. Just give it your best effort.”
Excerpted from the book, Birthing From Within
Have you used art therapy of some sort to prepare for or heal from pregnancy or birth?