The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 11th edition of this scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

Jan 1st, 2016 Sarah Irvin and Anelie Crighton

Art by Sarah Irvin

The Measurement Project
Each day of pregnancy, Sarah measured her stomach at navel height with a piece of yarn. The Measurement Project is the accumulation of this daily ritual.

Prose by Anelie Crighton

Pregnant with meaning

Pregnancy, as experienced, is not a metaphor, but a challenge: those solid thumps to the ribcage are reminders that much as you might like to think of yourself as a brain on a stick, an intellect tethered to the complex technology that is the body, you are in fact a placental mammal. You need to work? No, you need to nap. You want to stride along like you always did, long straight steps, fast and confident? By week 30 it will be all you can do not to waddle.
My walking mantra is, ‘There is nothing wrong with your legs. There is nothing wrong with your legs.’ This is strictly true. There is, however, something wrong with my feet (swollen), pelvis (slowly disconnecting), lower back (hurting), stomach muscles (stretched), blood pressure (low) and brain (sorry?). My horizons have gradually contracted. My slow pace and ready fatigue make the ten minute tram ride into the centre of town seem the equal of a day-long trek. At home I must intersperse activity with rest, reaching for another glass of iced water while I prop up my comically puffy feet. I feel hot all the time, and am immensely fond of very cold drinks and ice cream. Very cold ice cream drinks are also acceptable.
The tenant has been excellent company. Once his movements were detectable at 22 weeks, his wriggles and stretches and somersaults were delightful. While he still had the room he moved rapidly and erratically, brief flutterings and jabs like the strangest indigestion you’ve ever had. As he’s grown, his reachings have slowed, become more definite, more obviously in response to changes in his environment. Any time I lean forward, a small foot firmly reminds me that he does not appreciate cramped lodgings. I have pointed out that at 5’10” I offer quite spacious accommodation, but the kicks continue.
One day my husband caught a glimpse of me dressing and said in wonder, ‘You look beautiful.’ I found this astonishing; I look like a woman who’s swallowed a basketball, perhaps to distract attention from her thick ankles and dry hair. I have had a protruding belly for months yet still misjudge my movements, my round new boundary regularly encountering table edges and door frames. Numerous sleepless nights have hung a crescent under each eye. The fit of my voluminous maternity pants gets a little more snug each week. There is beauty here?
Observed and observing, one’s progress is constantly at issue – are you gaining weight, feeling worse, sleeping less? Is the baby growing longer and fattening up, does it move ten times an hour twice a day? Once you’ve exhausted the present, the future beckons: that unpredictable day (early? late?) when the contractions begin, and the x hours thereafter when you’ll breathe and relax and finally make up your mind about an epidural.

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