Periodically I return to my fascination with pregnancy and the gorgeousness of pregnant women. As an artist, I love creating all the beautiful volumes. As a woman and as a mother, I love the sacredness of pregnancy. I love remembering being pregnant and how it felt. I love thinking about the women who are my models and the experiences they have gone through. There is so much love in the world. Pregnancy is generally a time it makes itself felt beautifully.
Scene 1: December 5, 1986, Sandusky Ohio, hospital room. A young woman attached to a fetal heart monitor lies in bed, passes out between contractions as Darvon pushes away all consciousness and Pitocin-induced pain. Admonishments from the nurses that her cries are scaring the other women force her to stifle her voice and to be quiet. Two hours of pushing pass as she waits for the doctor to be available to deliver her baby. Her beautiful baby boy crowns and is born without complications. Love blows her mind as her son is placed in her arms.
Scene 2: August 31, 1989, Richmond, VA, home. The same young woman wanders peacefully around her backyard feeling the waves of contractions. She sits on her back steps and contemplates the opening of a rose, comparing it to her cervix. Transition finds her on a toilet, bearing down, groaning, focused, remembering that the pain is her power. She squats to deliver her daughter, roaring for all the world to hear. This is the most empowering moment of her life as love once again blows her away.
Scene 3: March 25, 1992, Richmond, VA, home. Same woman, now beginning to feel her years and the stress of life. Stomach flu, diarrhea take over her body all night. It’s hard to kneel, hard to propel the vomit over her huge belly.
Scene 4: March 26, 1992, Richmond, VA, home. As morning comes, so, too, do the now familiar contractions. She sits in the warm tub water encouraging the baby to delay his arrival, but he is insistent. Exhausted, she lies down to gather her strength. As she waits for the midwife, a friend soothes her with kind words and chicken soup. The midwife arrives. The woman affirms she has all the energy and stamina she needs to birth her baby. She gyrates her hips, belly dancing as millions have done before her, finds her way through the day, delivers her son - another precious and oh-so-welcome life - with joy and relief.
Scene 5: 1996. The woman is now a single mom sharing custody of her three precious children, trying to constructively fill the time when they are gone to help her bear the agony of their absence. She begins to do art. Her first drawings are of herself when she was pregnant. They teach her to love her body, to have compassion for herself, to love the woman gazing at her from the photos. And they lead her to become the artist she is today.
Scene 6: Feb 11, 2015, Germantown, MD, Dayspring Retreat Center, Silent Retreat. In meditation she receives a leading to create a book of Birth Affirmations combined with the many drawings of pregnant nudes and babies she’s done over the years. She returns home filled with a longing to create this gift for young women ready to give birth and to raise their own precious children.
Scene 7: July 7, 2015, Richmond, VA, home. The woman, no longer so young, anxiously awaits the arrival of her new baby, her book Birth Affirmations. 2000 copies are delivered by a kind driver who recognizes her excitement and watches her delight as she unpacks the very first book and gazes into it for the very first time. Immediately she begins offering the book to the world, arms wide open, heart bursting with joy.
Scene 8: April 21-24, 2016, New York City, Bond Conference. Still filled with excitement and desire to share her creation, the woman arrives at the Paper Factory Hotel, full of anticipation, excited to meet others whose share her passion for birth and babies and raising sane children in a sometimes-challenging world. She gives each participant a copy of Birth Affirmations, hoping they will love it as she does and will share it with their circles. She so wants this little book to make a difference in the lives of mothers, babies, fathers, and care providers. She wants women to feel their own strength and power, to trust their own truth, to love their babies with a ferocity that conquers all fear. And she hopes her book will help them do that.
You can reach this mother, artist, writer, friend, Susan Singer, at SusanSingerArt@msn.com and can learn more about her book Birth Affirmations at www.BirthAffirmationsBook.com. Susan Singer is delighted to create commissioned artwork of the precious moments of your life, to provide you with copies of Birth Affirmations, to speak with your groups about the power of affirmations, or to lead art workshops for your community. She would love to fill your life with art and empowerment!
Gentlemen, are you looking for the perfect gift for the mother of your baby? Look no further...Read More
There are times when I learn about something and simply know it's something I need to take part in. The BOND Conference is one of those. Taking place April 21-24 in New York City, the conference is "for anyone who works with infants and their families, and for anyone interested in promoting healthy family bonding." There will be over 250 professionals gathered who care deeply about babies and helping them grow into fabulous people. I can't imagine a better place to share Birth Affirmations!
As with any event, there is lots I have to do to get myself and my books there, one of which is to send in a logo. A LOGO? Uh-oh! I don't (didn't!) have a logo. It never actually occurred to me that that was something I'd need! I know - I'm a business, I need a logo, but it just hadn't occurred to me!
So two nights ago I went to sleep asking my muse to to wake me up with an idea. The next morning I rolled over, grabbed my journal/sketchbook, and began to sketch out ideas. At this stage in the process, I like to draw whatever comes into my head without restrictions or editing - all that comes later. Here's what one of those four pages looked like:
That afternoon I came into the studio to tweak it then to try to create a digital copy. That meant remembering how to use Adobe Illustrator! I took a class in it last year, but my mind just doesn't hold onto the Adobe programs unless I use them all the time, so I had to re-watch video tutorials (thank goodness for YouTube!). This morning I finished the process of transferring my idea then playing with various options to make it as beautiful as I knew how.
I am aware that the logo I ultimately came up with doesn't look like any of the drawings in Birth Affirmations, and it isn't overtly about birth. Many of my sketches were somewhat graphic, looking like a baby's head crowning or a pregnant woman, for example. The one I finally chose, to me, connotes and evokes many things. It's based on hearts, so of course, it references love. The center spiral evokes a baby's head crowning as well as the eternal, infinite nature of time. The outside, upside down heart references enfolding arms. If you look at it upside down, it looks like two adults gazing lovingly on their baby in the center.
I had never designed a logo before, so I've been captivated by the process. Now I just hope folks will be captivated enough by the design to explore this website and learn more about Birth Affirmations!
Fecundity: "fruitfulness and fertility, the ability to produce abundant healthy growth or offspring."
Fecundity: the perfect description of pregnancy and the process of giving birth. In this picture, I felt the fertility of the earth growing around and even through this gorgeous woman as she grows new life within her.
Fecundity: life abundant, bursting forth all over.
Fecundity: my imagination when I'm drawing!
Contact me if you would like me to create a portrait of you or your loved ones in this manner. SusanSingerArt@msn.com
I drew this picture from a photograph my husband took when my first child was an infant. The picture wasn't very interesting in and of itself, so I decided to zoom in and crop it tightly. I decided I really liked the image as it is now with the symmetry of the fleshy forms and the asymmetry of his lips and my breast and the negative spaces. This was one of the earliest drawings I ever did, done when I was just starting to explore the possibility of creating art, in July 2000. It was in my first art show at Suitable for Framing in Richmond, VA, a now-defunct art gallery. The piece sold when it was on display in a theater where a show called Birth was being held. If you would like a copy of this image for yourself, prints are available for $50 in the Gallery.
When I was writing Birth Affirmations and decided to include my drawings of babies and mamas in the book, I realized I needed more images than I already had. I don't have friends who are pregnant these days so I put out a call on Facebook asking if anyone had pictures of themselves giving birth or of their babies or pregnant selves. Women were so generous! I got many pictures of women's most precious moments. I wasn't able to use all of them, but I feel so honored by each woman who shared with me.
The picture shown here, "It's OK to rest" came from a high school friend of mine, Sue. It's a picture of her daughter and grandbaby. She said she realized it was a little bit strange since her daughter is wearing a mask - apparently that was how they would nap - mama would rest anytime baby did. Sue said she was really glad her daughter realized "It's OK to rest."
I didn't think I would want to draw the picture since it is a little bit odd, but the image stuck with me. As I was writing affirmations for the postpartum period, I realized that saying "It's OK to rest." is a great affirmation! I don't think I gave myself that permission, but I wish I had! Now it's one of my favorite affirmations and drawings. I evoke it for myself frequently and hope that mothers everywhere will allow themselves that gift - rest when they are tired. Everyone feels better when Mama is rested and feeling good.