Thursday, 4 June 2015


Yesterday, I was looking for an old file in my computer. Instead, I re-found my pregnancy journal of 2001-2002. I wrote this journal, in part, to contribute to my MA thesis study, written during my pregnancy, and the birth of my second child. My MA thesis centred on four women’s birth stories (including my own), at home and in hospital, through midwifery-type care in the early days of regulated midwifery in British Columbia. It was a personal, political, and scholarly juncture for me, in life and birth-giving. I faced challenging health issues and stress arising from circumstances around midwifery care of the time. Alongside this, I was tracking my thesis work-in-progress, and opening to deeper questions and impulses of my life.

Seems I truly hold onto the mothering, birth, and creativity-in-relation themes I write of in this journal. These are ongoing. I want to re-incorporate some early thoughts and experiences, or allow them space to breath. I know my current “coming to writing” with Cixous is an extension of these previous dreams and wishes for a way of working/writing/living—a holistic account of life and with life, in line with emergence of women’s creative forces and birthing-thinking. This is a thread I want to track in/with Cxious. She utilizes and writes alongside metaphors of pregnancy and birth-giving as feminine force. Not to essentialize or close birth for women-only, but to open up and liberate a larger metaphor /metaform and impulse for birth-in-life and art. To express and theorize birth from fe-male standpoints, and the body, in ways that have not been voiced.

Pregnancy journal:

oct. 1, 2001
the stories i’m collecting are attached to my relationships with each woman in relation to their births, through my roles as friend, birth attendant, hospital doula, each story contains a multitude of rich experiences for me with each person,

i will lay out this information in an ecofeminist framework, understanding ecology as a philosophical standpoint from which to work, i identify my personal concerns and interests, how our birth consciousness is directly related to our conscious, or not, relationship with the earth around us, and how this plays out in our bodies as women, body and nature as relational and body dependant on the earth,

with organic inquiry as my research methodology, i hear the stories of the women in a sacred and relational way, i don't have have to draw specific 'conclusions', the research begins to speak from what is related through story sharing and telling,

today i pulled out my needle work catalogues, what to do with these? my interest in spinning something persists, the big spinning / weaving metaphors that emerge so continually in ecofeminist writing, so i will do this literally, spinning into being, like the three fates and all... ‘to twist blood’ where the etymology of the word “thread” includes ‘to twist’ with ‘read,’ and ‘red’

jan. 10, 2002
i have just been thinking about my relationships with the women i am interviewing, how this tells a very personal story of my ‘activism’ in birth through relationship with others, gives me shivers, i realize that these last years since my first child was born have been very different in quality as i withdrew from directly working in birth except for friends and some postpartum doula work, i did this instinctually and in how i felt about being a mother, needing to be in it full on...then back in school with a master’s program, and now pregnant again, and its like a whole new way of being in this pregnancy and even after, how this baby will come into where i am...the juggling of my leaves me in the unknown again with this second child,

i know i am telling a story with the art: a deep, mythical, archetypal, desire of my life, to have the blood mysteries and the earth honoured as such, through source in the earth and ‘women's creativity’

i can begin to see a way into this thesis writing, aligning with my story and path in birth, as well as the integration of becoming a mother myself and where this is bringing me, also pregnancy as central in image and form

feb. 12, 2002
so much of this pregnancy has been about my ego ambivalence to being pregnant and taking on the role of “mother” again, being the carefree childless woman, early on not contacting a midwife or wanting to tell people, so much of my last years in self focus and goal setting of my education...yet at my heart this deep, deep, desire to be a mother again, watching women at the playground with their little babies in arms and feeling soooo pulled, and having a deep sense of satisfaction in being pregnant,

this image/art actually visually shows the truth of me, the self-search, yet a deep need for connection through pregnancy and birth and mothering as a family, yes, yes, to liberate this into the search!

to be a mother and a wholly integrated and realized being, to be a mother how i want to be, and to have my sense of self in the culture at large, such a 'taboo' topic is motherhood....the old restricting of mothers from both public and religious life...i will never let myself feel left out of anything anymore due to my pregnancy or breastfeeding, or care giving of my infant, i see so clearly now that i am at the heart of the mystery and so holy as to be the source of religion itself....the madonna image as it were, that image of mother and child as source...image of woman as source...and then the man on the cross is death and regeneration, he is hanging on the tree of life, he is the truth of the body that suffers yet comes again in the image of the woman with child,

in my astrological birth chart (Vicki just did) this looks like a strong tension, my taurus moon (my mothering and family life, my “wife”-role, with asteroid juno there) and aquarius sun (my work, intellectual and project life) are conjunct (meaning both are very important to me, but they will always be in a creative tension), 

i wonder if this is true of the time we live in as mothers and women? there cannot be a unity of being in these ‘projects,’ always a creative tension in the conjunction, this is like a cultural imperative for women in these times as mothers and woman in the world...yet looks like i strive for integration in my life...i join the association for research on mothering, i study birth and do midwifery, women's spirituality, i describe these things as “life work”

jun. 4, 2015
Ya, this previous journal writing pretty much sums it up! The “art” I refer to was the beginnings of the red woven mantle I ultimately completed during the months leading up to my daughter’s birth. It’s image graces the pages of this blog. This red thread mantle was also my entry into my dissertation research. I wore it for that ritual in the forest, previously discussed in this blog, which provided an embodied connection of threads of ‘women’s creativity,’ blood-mysteries, and an honoring-earth I write of here during my second pregnancy. As poet Judy Grahn reminds me/us, we all have deeper questions in life, questions which thread through our lives. Even if we don’t always have their explanation pages in front of us, we are motivated by them. They keep us ticking along.

Cixous writes of this, how there is always the book waiting to be written. Or the book inside the book that follows it, carrying our original impulse along in some new form.

My quest of the next weeks is to continue my red thread series into new forms, into my research ‘now.’ I will work with the red thread mantle, and the felted placentas, but also new weavings and wool dye projects. On that thought, I just re-read another journal section, with notes for the weaving project:  

nov. 16, 2001
make three variations in forms of woven objects:
1. womb baskets to hang in the forest (life in its earth/forest/tree source)
2. a woven form that is then embedded in concrete (life in the city-scape),
3. and a shawl/cloak for wearing in a performance on the beach (life at water’s shoreline, amniotic-origins),

all three are made with the same wool of blood hues, reds and blue-purples, all to somehow come together in film/video and performance…it all comes together for me but it is a very ‘surreal’ type of art piece set in dream-like and ritual type space, i can't imagine that i will get it together completely, need to focus on creating the physical woven objects first and at least video tape myself weaving and spinning, i would really like to include my pregnant self in the imagery. 

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