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What Art has taught me about birth

February 23, 2017

As an amateur at painting —  a water-colorist to be more precise, I’ve learned that you don’tbirth belly art always get what you want.  Life ls like that too, and so it’s the expectations in life that create much of what we call happiness.  It’s the desire to make thing perfect that makes many people unhappy, and so it is with birth.

So I’ve been studying the techniques that make painting with watercolors work, and of course, as a beginner I’ve grappled with the way the paint process goes.  Sometimes there’s too much water in the mix, the watercolor paper is to dry or too wet,.  The paper bubbles at times when things are to liquid.  The masters of course get all this, and paint perfectly, but they weren’t all masters at one time.

That says a lot about childbirth.  The technical aspects like the paper quality, the amount of water, the mixing of the paints and all is like finding the write practitioner, having the birth in the right environment, and having the right support.

It’s not like you get much prep time for all that.  You can’t go out and rent a birth, pay for the experience, or generally get the opportunity to go to another birth.  “Hey buddy, can I go with you to the hospital and watch your wife birth.”  You might be able to ask something like that after a case of beer, but such a question might provoke a wide range of emotions, one which might include you finding yourself flattened on the ground.The problem is that for most men 2 births is the average — MAX.  You get two shots to support a woman’s childbirth experience.  No do overs here.


My attempt to paint like Jean Michal Folon

Here the painting shows the novice’s attempt at getting line, color and shape right.  Too many errors here to discuss.  But in childbirth, you really aren’t going to have anyone to critic your experience.  And those who are shoving their ideas down your throats are only really the type of people who advise you about every topic under the sun: like what you should do with you money, how to dress, where to eat, etc.

So when you look at childbirth with a sense of overwhelming ignorance, you really ought to do something to man up and get yourself some points of standing.  You need to know what to do, where to be, and how to act, and its not very easy or natural, as a matter of fact. [You could read Men at Birth by Phillip and Genny White, available on Amazon].

By the second birth, you really will have some better expectations.  So you will have the lens of experience helping you to know what to do and how to act.  But as simple as that sounds, no two birth are the same.

blue bird.jpg

added texture, brightened colors


There are distinct differences.  You may have another practitioner.  You may be in another state, birthing at a new facility or even at home.  It may be a paining of different line, color and shape, or only slightly different from the first one.

As in birth as in life.  We all wish we could turn our hindsight into foresight.

The best I can give to you is that birth brings the unexpected.  Babies come.  And that is the way they get here.  Expect to learn to be flexible, and life will go better for you.  You cannot control the event of birth.  Don’t set up false expectations either.  That goes for the birth, and the child.  Having low expectations is the key to enjoying the situation. Expect the unexpected in childbirth, and you’re on the right course to a successful birth.


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