Prenatal Depression & Creating During Pregnancy

While your body is busy creating a child and your hormones are driving you extremely insane it can be difficult to show up to your creative practice. The harsh reality and looming responsibility of having to create a future for you and your child can be paralyzing. Especially if you are self-employed or already working in the creative arts field.

The energy it takes to pursue my own work came to a complete dead end and I was fortunate enough that I wasn’t in the middle of a huge design project at work as I had no motivation to create anything. Projects that I excitedly began in the New Year fizzled out quicker than I could breathe life into them.

This was the only thing I had finished despite the fact that I had intentions in turning each image into a lino block.

Between the emotional spells I was also trying to navigate my trauma. Which who knew, things they don’t tell you about pregnancy, is that your past trauma can leave you knee deep in shit you thought: you forgot about, made peace with or just assumed you were over with. But that mess crept back in like a leak in a roof. Spreading mold and despair and sending me into a decent bout of prenatal depression.

Post Partum Depression is talked about a lot but Prenatal Depression seems to get you the stank eye as if you’re not grateful for the miracle taking place within you while others struggle to even get pregnant or have suffered a loss. Here I was navigating: all my past trauma, a relationship with the father (it’s complicated but we love each other), becoming a mother, letting go of my very independent single life, and honestly the relationship with my creativity.

While everyone was telling me how excited they were and are for me I was internally dreading all of it and questioning what the hell I was doing. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted this, I’m 36 and not getting any younger and the timing seemed more than perfect though my circumstances weren’t. But as all these feelings came bubbling to the surface I found my self questioning everything and relying on therapy to help me come to terms and validate what I had been through and feeling.

A few things that helped:

  1. Therapy! I can’t stress enough the importance of therapy. Luckily I had already had someone but please find someone you can speak too. It can be a lot of help to you to just have your feelings, concerns, & worries be acknowledged and validated. It takes the edge off as you come to grips with whatever you’re dealing with. And you can tell them things you may not tell your loved ones for fear of rejection or being further misunderstood.
  2. A trip: Now this may seem crazy and ridiculous especially if you’re already struggling and trying to save but I turned 36 while pregnant and I was going to cancel my birthday plans to take an overnight beach trip. In all honesty that tripped saved my life. Even if you can’t afford an overnight trip, a day trip to the beach or anywhere where nature can comfort your soul can be so nourishing.
    • At the time of this trip I was on the edge. I won’t explain why or what got me there but taking a solo trip to play in the ocean, journal, visit an art gallery and commune with the sun was exactly what I needed. I felt like myself again.
  3. Now things weren’t perfect when I got back as I still had a lot of work to do emotionally and spiritually but I had a therapist tell me to ground myself when things get hard or emotionally unstable.

Ground yourself through creativity.

Ground myself? I literally rolled my eyes. Like how the hell do I do that. What is this therapy garbage you are spitting at me and if it’s more foo foo self love bs I’m going to have another tantrum before we even hang up from this session.

Well duh, with creativity baby! 🙄 It seems so logical and self explanatory but my Dr. had a point. I mean creativity had always been a source of comfort for me throughout my life; I even say it’s saved my life. And here it was to do it all over again by grounding me.

And it had already been working. Though I wasn’t creating what I consider my main body of work, I found myself creating stuff for my baby. I made his name sign to hang over his crib, crocheted a blanket and several toys, made a sweater, and still working on completing my first quilt.

The sewing machine I had left sitting to collect dust ended up being a beacon of light as well as a new love for crocheting. I never expected crocheting to be my new hobby this year but the simplicity of repeating a stitch was comforting. I could mindlessly, to an extent, crochet and watch TV and processe emotions while I fervently single crocheted.

My artistic plans for the year definitely didn’t come to fruition but something else was born and will be born this month! Insert smiles. A whole new world of creativity opened its doors to me and I was able to explore a new hobby and even become inspired by crazy talented fiber artist.

I think as artist we’ve been told too often that we should stick to one trade, one form of art while the job industry expects the exact opposite (let’s not go there). But it was diving deep into crocheting which I had no monetary or career goal associated with it that got me out of my creative rut and gave me a new appreciation for it.

So pick up a camera, print your pictures, water color, collage, journal, paint your nails with copious amounts of glitter, do something new, crochet, knit, follow a recipe, doodle, buy the expensive markers and tons of glue sticks… just create and soon you’ll remember why you fell in love with it. Let it ground you as you navigate the new role of becoming a mother. Don’t give yourself crazy deadlines and project goals, create because you enjoy it and it’s comforting to your soul.

With much love, BEautifullyODD

What makes ME an Artist?

“There is so much I want and need to say and yet just do. A lot has happened in these past few months. And I don’t know where to begin. Pieces of me come forth in my art and I try to grasp the moments and express them as well as I can before they disappear back into the dark void.”

On a brighter note 😀 I have every intention in posting the continuation to I’m back (I need to make some corrections and add some things). But right now I want to share somethin else:

During this much needed break I asked myself…
“What makes me an ArTiST?”: the word Artist holds so much acclaim to me. I remember getting into a debate with one of my photography teachers about; What makes your work, art? The debate was that it takes another person, to say your work is art; You can not say that your own work is art unless it has been given that name by someone else. I was furious. How can you tell someone that their work is not art?

Art is based in expression and though their is a grade level of quality attached to it, its rooted in the meaning and the feeling that comes from it. Why else can someone hang a blank canvas on a museum wall and it be deemed art. Being an artist is about being true to the moment and its an expression of who we are as individuals and as a whole.

Anyway… I think before I held to much pressure on myself to be what I considered a great artist; I doubted my abilities because of it. Their are so many types and forms of artistic expression and which ever way I choose to do so I want to do with confidence and belief in thy self. But I still questioned and wondered what makes me an artist… why should I even continue down this avenue… am I even good?

As I spring cleaned my apartment I came across old sketch books, my old animation portfolio, paintings, memories and other miscellaneous things that showed me that, Art is a part of who I am. So as I looked back at my artistic life, though not every attempt was successful, I did have some good moments. And to be able to recognize that was freeing. I realized that regardless of where I go with my artistic adventure I’m going to enjoy it. It’s not about the acclaim its about enjoying the journey with it. That is why I am excited about going back to school for applied art & design. I just want to enjoy the journey with it. See where it takes me… because I never want to say I turned my back on it because I was afraid I’d never have someone else say its so.

So, be confident in who you are as an artist. Enjoy the journey, enjoy those moments, and let it nurture your soul.

I am back…

As some of you know… I’ve taken a much needed break from blogging and doing my art. It was hard to walk away from it for as long as I have but I’m officially back. There came a point a few months back when I realized some changes needed to seriously be made if I were going to continue on this journey. It’s even hard now, writing this, knowing and hoping my blog could be ten times better than it is now. But because I have gotten back into my art after a much needed break, I have to share some of the things I’ve been doing and where this is all going.

After holding my first tangible product for my product line I realized, “Shit! If you really apply yourself, believe in your talent, focused your time and energy towards this dream, and get your ish together you could actually make ‘this’ happen.” It was this grand epiphany that startled me to my core and made me think twice about where I was headed. And though I was able to wear the ear rings I made, they still were not up to my standards. But I knew with a little fine tuning, practice, a lot of patience, and will power; something could come from this. But that of its own was to much for me to handle. The pressure and the idea that each thing I made had to be amazing was like a dump truck attached to my heart. Plus it was time for some MAJOR spring cleaning.

So first thing first was cleaning up my messy apartment. I have so much art stuff (believe i may have explained this before… idk) that its in my kitchen cabinets, under my futon, in both hall closets, in my bedroom, and in my dining room. The only places unoccupied are my bedroom closet and bathroom. And if my enlarger wasn’t the size of a television I’d probably have it in the bathroom. But it was just so unorganized in my tiny apartment; with dishes, clothes, and other crap strewn around I was two steps away from losin it. It literally took weeks to clean. (Trust… I got OCD… if your like me you have an accumulation of art supplies: paints, stamps, assorted papers in shoe boxes and tubs, books, utensils, research, and etc.) But the end result is priceless. Back in October I started purchasing materials for my art space in my bedroom. First I purchased my board and desk and just in May my chair. It took months to make it what it is now. But I am truly happy that I am now able to sit there every day after work and do my Art work. It’s a constant motivation.

This is getting long… Next: it’s one thing to spring clean your home and organize all of your art stuff but it’s another thing to spring clean your mind, body and soul.