It’s my very good fortune to know lots and lots of remarkably diverse, interesting, erudite, opinionated, amusing people. My very good fortune, indeed. So, why not share the wealth? I sent out a request and many responded in kind (and if I haven’t hit you up for the favor yet, it doesn’t mean I won’t). Writing isn’t for everyone. Putting thoughts down on paper isn’t for everyone. But for some people, it is and we’re all the better for it. Each month, a new voice will be heard from. Welcome to The Guest Blog.
| December 3, 2015
The most healing piece of art I ever made was a portrait of my unborn child.
The first time I was pregnant, I miscarried. I found out I was pregnant just before Christmas and the holiday season was magical. But on New Year’s Day, I began to lose the baby. At a time when most people are filled with hope and expectations of the New Year, my whole world was lost.
Whenever I revisit that day, I never stay too long.
I remember the exact moment when “it’s probably nothing” turned into something. My hope decreased as the pain increased. It wasn’t the physical pain that hurt the most, but knowing that there would be no prize at the end.
I remember experiencing the final stages of my miscarriage in the bathroom of the emergency room. It seemed like such an undignified resting place for my unborn child; so, I said a prayer before flushing the toilet.
I remember reporting to a receptionist, two nurses, a doctor, and an ultrasound technician, and desperately wanting just one of them to look me in the eye and say, “I’m so sorry that this is happening.” Instead the doctor told me that my pregnancy was “never viable”. Please file this under “things you should never say to a woman who has just had a miscarriage”.
I remember the long and quiet drive home from the hospital in a snowstorm, empty-handed.
These moments were full of pain and heartache, but at least they were full of something. It was the emptiness of the days to follow that would be the most difficult. I could not move on after my womb discarded my sense of purpose; so, I reached for new purpose through art. Buried beneath every tragedy there is hope, and God graced me with the gift of art to help me dig for it.
I wanted to honor the child I had lost with a portrait, and the only image reference I had was my memory of the sonogram. The first image that I had of my child had also become my last. As soon as I finished the drawing, I wept over it. I finally had something tangible to mourn, and it was healing.
Spring brought new hope when I discovered that I was pregnant again. The due date would be the one-year anniversary of my miscarriage. There was God’s grace again. I didn’t make much art when I was pregnant with my daughter because it is hard to create when you are holding your breath. But my daughter’s birth breathed purpose back into my soul, and the art began to pour out of me again.
It took a friend’s observation of how motherhood had changed my art to realize that I had traded oils for watercolors and monochromatic themes for multitudes of color. Another friend introduced me to the term “rainbow baby” for the child who is born after a miscarriage. It is meant to represent the hope that follows a storm. I guess it makes sense that I paint with all of the colors of the rainbow now, because that is the thing about art…it heals, but it also rejoices.
“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” – Elbert Hubbard
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