Tuesday, August 6, 2013
In 1986, I was pregnant for the first time.
I was 23.
I gave birth that year to a beautiful baby girl.
That beautiful baby girl is now pregnant with her 2nd baby.
I remember when I was pregnant.
The enlarging belly was considered something that made us "glow" but was to be covered.
All of the choices for maternity clothes were large and tent-like -
billowing out just below the breast line.
And if we were lucky - you might be able to find something that did not include a large bow tied around the neck.
Maybe that was meant to "move the eye upward" so that the belly was not the focal point.
All I know is that our options were quite ugly.
Society had us thinking that our expanding belly was unattractive.
That we were fat.
That we were frumpy.
Or worse - that, although a baby was the ultimate reward, that belly was a reminder to all that we had engaged in ....dare I say it? ...sex.
I remember several years earlier, when I was a teenager -
my sister in law was pregnant.
She had the audacity (according to the older matrons of the family) to show up at a family function during a hot summer day and wear a bikini.
Now mind you - it was 90 degrees and we were by a large lake.
But how could any self-respecting woman put that large belly out there for everyone to see?
The whispers went on for days after.
When I was pregnant with my oldest, I was anxious to jump into the rite of passage and wear the obligatory maternity clothes.
The irony was - that until I was almost 7 months along,
you could barely tell that I was pregnant.
I was so disappointed that people weren't asking me when I was due.
But beneath the tent of fabric, my tight, compact belly was not even visible.
Oh how things have changed.
I have always thought that the female form, when filled with life, is exquisite.
To watch a belly grow.
To touch it.
To feel the life inside.
What is more miraculous and beautiful than that?
I am so happy that we no longer insist on it being hidden in the name of "dignity".
A few nights ago, my daughter came for a brief visit.
I had been working in the studio on "have-tos".
Orders and such.
I wasn't ready to put away the art supplies for the night,
but I was ready for a change.
I looked at my daughter and her growing tummy.
I had just been laying my hands on her to feel the movement of my granddaughter.
My box filled with markers were just a few feet away on the floor.
A smile began to emerge.
I asked her to lie down and pulled out the markers.
And I doodled.
It was quick.
It was mindless.
It was free.
And we marked the passage of this portion of her pregnancy.
Another art session will occur in late October as she nears her due date.
Perhaps with some henna next time so that it can be a part of her as she labors.
And I must say that this was truly the most beautiful canvas I have ever worked on.
Thank you JuJu for humoring this grandma.