This series reflects on my experience of becoming a mother for the first time and all the emotional evolution that came with that experience. My use of materials, colors, and dimensional layers 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. The vulnerability in my 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: brightness and dullness, recessed cavities and protuberances, and glossy and matte surfaces all referencing this constant habitation among clashing, extreme emotions and the toll it takes on the firm grasp I once had on my identity.
My son was born in December 2019, making him three months old when the globe began battling the COVID-19 pandemic. He was born after a miscarriage, making his existence all the more magical, seemingly fragile, and in need of fierce protection. The use of concrete in the maternal hands symbolize this aim to be the ultimate protector, composed of stability and strength, while the infant hands are conflictingly loosely painted in watercolor with spontaneous color pools and blooms. While coping with the aftermath of a miscarriage and subsequently becoming pregnant again, I became familiar with the term “rainbow baby” which gave me great comfort and solidarity with other women who shared my experience. The range of colors in each of the pieces 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.