This series reflects on my experiences becoming a mother and all the emotional ambivalence that came with those experiences. My use of materials, colors, and dimensional layers in these pieces all symbolize the conflicting emotions that arrive with motherhood in their most extreme intensities. This violent swinging between opposite feelings is what struck me to be most novel about becoming a mother; something that I was altogether unprepared for but driven to explore through art. The vulnerability in one’s obliterated sense of self after becoming someone’s mother paired with the extreme sense of power that comes with bringing a life into existence was one that was particularly difficult to grapple with. The uncontrollable sense of sadness brought on by postpartum depression and anxiety paired with the intense love and joy manifested by my child was also difficult to comprehend. In each piece are multiple juxtapositions of opposites all referencing the constant habitation among clashing, extreme emotions and the toll it took on the firm grasp I once had on my identity – brightness and dullness, recessed cavities and protuberances, and glossy and matte surfaces. The wide range of materials in this series, which include concrete, watercolor, resin, and acrylic on multilayered shaped wood panels, give each piece a slight identity crisis mirroring my own during these times. Prior to the beginning of my journey into motherhood, I suffered a miscarriage and became familiar with the term “rainbow baby” — a baby born after a pregnancy loss. The color palette in the pieces is a nod to this term.
While making one of the first pieces of the series in my studio the song O-o-h Child by the Five Stairsteps serendipitously began to play on my headphones, instantly bringing me to tears. While heard many times throughout my life, at this moment the song brought both a sense of reassurance to me as a struggling mother and a guide to being a source of comfort for my growing child. Hence, the series takes its name.