“Back to the origin, closed within themselves with nothing more than the instrument of their creations and the profound connection with the nudity of their brain, an intimate journey to the renaissance of their creativity. The artist is opening her eyes for the second time in her life, fresh inspiration is born; central and internally constructed, it brings a raw flash of life and vision.”
During the Art of Birth summit organised by Gloria Esegbona – a UK born and trained obstetrician & gynaecologist.
Following the intervention of our the Procreate Project founder Dyana Gravina and Elisa Terren.

Dyana Gravina:

What you have just seen is a photographic project called “the placenta effect” featuring various artists and their process of immersion into their personal placenta effect and its stimulation.

About Procreate Project:

ProCreate Project is a social enterprise gencouraging and promoting the works of female artists who are mothers. The organisation is providing practical support for artists, enabling them to continue producing work during pregnancy and motherhood through a range of initiatives and artistic productions.

The procreate project was born from the creative rush I felt from the 5th month of my pregnancy, body underwent enormous changes and a force inside of me grew stronger and became more physical. Inspiring me to become even more driven and persevering.
I wondered whether I was going crazy. I was surprised that all the information readily available on the internet mostly dealt with all the problems you are likely to face, it was such a negative approach and so far removed from what I was feeling. There was nothing that reflected what I was experiencing. So I put a call out advertising online for other female artists who might relate to me and my new found passion. It was not long before responses started to pour in. By sharing my story with other artists I realised that what I felt was shared and real. Out of this positive spark and the exchange with these women “the placenta effect” was created and I put together the start of the procreate project, and a performace piece called Foetus which sees pregnant performer on stage and the use of new technologies to capture the inside of the womb and the wonder of this life experience. Are 100s the artists who have approached me during the past 3 years and who have started collaborating with the organisation and I fell quite lucky to be able to share few of their works and representation of pregnancy with you Today.
“I realised my work became more meaningful and rich as my pregnancy became embedded in the making… “
“Performances seemed to be a good channel for transmitting these intense feelings during the pregnancy. I had amazing amounts of energy and got involved in various projects. I felt very inspired and instinctive”
After this empowering pregnancy came the moment of birth.

The birth and the following months demonstrated a huge shift both for me and the women I was working with, the empowered creative positive world of pregnancy moved into a difficult negative place, of traumatic births, of dealing with that, tiredness, lack of support, loneliness, struggle. Revisiting my birth now I realise that though I managed a natural birth, I didn’t feel safe and supported to express myself at that intimate moment, I felt judged and rushed by the professionals and there was no space for the expression of emotions. Despite this, I found the power to follow through when a doctor came in saying that if the baby didn’t come out in 30 minutes they would do an episiotomy. I started screaming to my baby “Regis baby, come out, help me otherwise they’re going to cut me” and I pushed him out.

I met Elisa a few months later and she had a different experience that made me realise the missing link.
Elisa Terren:
My pregnancy was a period of profound enquiry, I had a deep belief that birth could be simple and straightforward but I had deeply held fears too. I did a lot of research and preparation which culminated in a wonderful home birth, with my daughter being born gently with no tears into my arms. It was the best day of my life and I felt in love and union with the whole world. I felt connected to all the mothers who have birthed from the dawn of time. It was the most transformative experience of my life, it was the ultimate creative act. That is the power of creation. My experience was diametrically different to most people I spoke to, the cultural perceptions towards birth were at completely different sides of the spectrum. I became profoundly interested in birth and motherhood, I am convinced that we can change the world through empowered births that offer the birthright of love to baby and mother. I trained as a Doula.
As I learned about the physiology, I understood why my birth was the way it was and why so many other births are not. There is nothing special about me or my body, I’m an ordinary woman, with a fairly small frame, and I had no problem giving birth. I had the right conditions. We do not culturally understand birth. Birth is an intimate creative sexual act between baby and mother. It is an involuntary process that needs protection from inhibitory stimulus. The archaic brain structures that we share with all other animals on the earth are in charge of birth, not our thinking brain which is the main inhibitory agent of a straightforward birth process. The birth process needs Protection from Inhibitions.
I’ve been working for the past year with Ramiro Romero an Indigenous Midwife from the Muisqua people of the highlands of the Andes in Colombia, and he tells me that when he goes to a birth he prays for the spirit of Sahana Caosh to be present, this is the spirit of creative chaos from where all life emerges. That makes total sense to me!
A woman has to let go completely, feel free to express Sahana Caosh, to embody her own creative chaos to be able to do something as bonkers as open her body, heart and soul to let a human being out of her vagina.
My birth experience catapulted me into a period of great joy, flow and capacity to deal with the newness, challenges and intensity of motherhood with love, patience and understanding. I was safely held by it in my sleepless nights, my changing hormones, my job as a milkmaid. I realised that all this was a creative process. It was a profound thing when I discovered that creativity was not limited to the arts.

Dyana Gravina:

What we have seen is that birth is a deeply creative process itself and that you can’t be inhibited when creating life and you can’t be inhibited when creating art.

However I felt that was a big shift that introduced me into a completely different world perspectives, the feedback and experience was negative. Understanding the act of giving birth, and how that could transform the whole experience into motherhood both as a women and as an artist. I have start looking at how art becomes the medium to articulate and emotions negative or positive, and over come complex traumas.

Thoughts from artists and works about birth postenatal issues c sections
“writing, It’s been a way for me to try to make sense of the changes brought about by pregnancy, birth and motherhood, including a struggle with anxiety and postnatal depression.”
“My birth sadly was not as straight forward as I wished for (maybe it never is).
An induced labour (due to being 14 days overdue) and a c section later (due to no progression and my baby getting distressed by the drip dial going up?)
it took me a while to adjust to life with baby Heidi and recovering from my c section.
Keeping up my practice and getting on with my degree having the possibility to creatively working through emotions, anxieties and the strange bodily feeling after a birth
really helped me to stay, maybe not sane but stable enough to conquer this new so very different life. “
“These works helped to articulate my emotions. The realisation that the journey of birth is still so precarious – not quite life and still today, potentially quite close to death.”
Through collaborating with other mothers at different stages of their process we confirmed a shared experiece of the link between motherhood and the creative urges at many different stages of motherhood, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and later.
The main focus of the project is to empower women from around the world during the life transforming experience that is becoming a mother, making the art of motherhood manifest and possibly display always more positive birth and motherhood representation thought art mediums.