As a doula, we see many things in our line of work. We see people at their most vulnerable, and at the same time at their strongest. We see the inside of lives and bodies. We see a rainbow of moods and emotions. We see the balance between life and death. The transformation of persons into parents and grandparents. But there are other things we see.
We see the everyday beauty of the moment. The full moon on the way to the hospital. The close conversations between the birth giver and partner. And we also see the art in the birthing space.
Pictures of nature. Flowers opening up into bloom. Tender moments of motherhood. Cute photos of babies. All decorate the halls of the maternity wards and designer birth spaces at birth centers. Little details to provide subtle encouragement for laboring women to open up and embrace labor and motherhood.
As the laboring mother holds tightly to the hallway rail as she works through a contraction; I sometimes wonder how often these pictures are truly seen by their intended audience. Do they give inspiration, direction, or possibly diversion?
Or perhaps the art is not intended for the mother, but those supporting her? The nurses, physicians, doulas, and family; all receiving reminders that birth is natural and sometimes need patience to bloom. That tenderness is needed as we mother the mother. Maybe we need the distraction, so the mother can labor uninterrupted by well meaning intentions.
What is some memorable art you saw in a birth space? What did it mean to you or the birth giver? I would love to hear your thoughts.