Expectations

In my decision to start blogging about my art (and the emotions of my life in general), it seemed appropriate that I would write about this drawing first. Though I drew this piece nearly five years ago, for my first pregnancy, many of the same emotions fill my heart today as they did then. Even as I type these words, I carry in my belly our third child, currently wriggling and squirming quite visibly, and mere weeks from joining our family.

While I've since created a half dozen drawings about being a family, my first piece about actual parenthood, "Expectations," kind of caught me off guard. I was just a few weeks pregnant with our first daughter, Natasha, when I felt inspired to put my pen to paper and try to capture, in some way, the unique experience of carrying a child within my body. As with so many of my drawings, it felt somehow easier to draw this mysterious experience than to write it out in words. And as I drew, I began to recognize within my heart some of the many layers of emotions that had already gathered in those early weeks of pregnancy.

Initially, I was going to name the piece "Mother," but that seemed rather drab and cliche, and it didn't capture any of the depth of this particular mother's heart. So, I named it "Expectations." Yes, she is "expecting," as we like to say of a pregnant woman, but the deeper expectations – those filling her mind and soul – overflow, even overwhelm her. When I look at her, I see so much she might be expressing: tenderness, awe, anticipation, hope... A new mother is filled with so much beauty!

But I also see emotions less discussed, perhaps even less "acceptable" though sincere just the same. Many, many mothers (including me), while filled with a new life, are also filled with fear, uncertainty, even sorrow for personal freedoms now lost. There are so many unknowns, challenges, and sacrifices that lie ahead.

I didn't know it when I drew her, but just creating this art was part of my own preparation for birth, helping me to acknowledge and face both the joyous and the not-so-joyous emotions that now welled up within me.

And though I've been pregnant twice before, the expectations filling my mind and heart now include all these and others. After experiencing motherhood for the past four years, I have clearer ideas of what to expect. Of our baby. Of myself. Of my husband. But there are still untold storylines ahead of us. I will love and give in larger measures. I will be pushed to new limits. I will continue to learn and grow in unpredictable ways, even as those around me do the same.

Until each of those days comes into view, I expect that this child, like our first two, will change me – and all of us – in ways I cannot yet fathom.

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