When I was a kid I remember reading a book where there was a ‘birthing room’ in the house. I’ve long forgotten the book, but the idea of a special room, set aside just for birth, always fascinated me and stuck in my mind. How special, i thought, to have a room just for this momentous occasion, where generations of family members came into the world.
That concept, and the happy deluge of little babies and expected babies I am so thrilled to see coming into the world inspired this latest painting, “Born At Home.” The feeling behind this piece is one of happiness, joy, and the sanctuary of home. I love how, even if our babies arent actually born literally at home, the concept of simplicity and family environment has started making such a comeback in our culture. There is a push back against making pregnancy and birth seem like an illness and something to view in a clinical light. I love the concept of raising a family naturally, simply, without a lot of fuss and pressure.
Those feelings, and the images of home birth, the powerful tenderness of the mother, the skill of another wise woman alongside her to help guide her, and the active support of her spouse and even other children— that is what this painting is all about.
I often think back to my own ancestors when I think about my own life as a mother in these modern times— which are in many ways easier, and in other ways harder, than what they experienced. I’m only a couple of generations removed from women who were birthing and raising babies in little cabins in the Ozarks without running water. I decided to use the names of these women in the community quilt that I have laid on the bed of the scene—- Mary Jane was only about 15 when she had her first child on New Years Eve in the early 1900s. Emma Delilah, her daughter, gave birth to a baby, my grandma, who was so little that the midwife wrapped her in a blanket and sat her in a pot to warm in the oven. Minnie Fayetta and Pansy Lenora, whose names are a bit hidden, were also strong and lively women who had daughters at home. Minnie finally got a son after 5 daughters— and his name was Robert!
Of course, my hope is that when people see this painting, they create their own story for it. Often times, when I paint, things just come to me. Like the Annunciation painting above the bed– that wasnt planned until it was basically coming off the paint brush. It seemed so fitting though. Perhaps it will speak to someone in a way I can’t even imagine.
This original painting is now in my etsy shop. If you’re looking for a unique gift for mother’s day, or perhaps for a midwife, I think this would be pretty perfect!~ Im sure I’ll do prints later as well.
Thanks for coming to visit me today!~ Have a great week, and Blessed Holy Week to my Orthodox Friends!~