The grossest form of birth art yet

Disgust

There is no limit to the self-idolatry that is contemporary natural childbirth advocacy.

It’s no longer enough to boast about your unmedicated vaginal birth, let your baby’s placenta rot off instead of cutting the cord, or photograph yourself smeared with postpartum blood.

The mother is the painter and blood and excrement is create the palette.

Apparently, if you are a birth goddess, even your excrement is worthy of veneration. That appears to be the message of “birth sheets,” a new form of birth art.

Birth sheets capture a new, messy, weirdly beautiful side of childbirth appears on BabyCenter.

Australia-based artist Suzie Blake doesn’t think her collection of women’s birth sheets should be as controversial as it is. She doesn’t see why birth secretions are being perceived as gross. In fact, the project is meant to elevate women and fight against the notion that anything having to do with birth should be revolting to anyone. It’s also intended to be a beautiful new way to capture childbirth.

Here’s an example:

[Example removed at the request of the “artist.” You can see examples here.]

According to Blake’s website, birth sheets are:

The indexical trace of childbirth in which mother is painter and blood is the palette.

Speaking to BabyCenter, she explains:

“Birth is raw and animalistic. It’s powerful and messy and unhinged. It’s hard work and it’s sweaty and bloody. It’s not this perfect, clean, white, sanitized experience we’re sold through cinema. If women keep believing that the things that their bodies do are disgusting and gross they will never be liberated and the perpetual cycle of body hating will continue,” Suzie told us.

Ultimately, she feels that women should appreciate what their bodies can do, instead of focusing on what they look like. She adds, “Why is it perfectly ok for the media to flood us with brutal images of war? Why is it ok for us to see extreme and bloody violence in cinema? Why is it ok for men to show us their experiences of blood, which usually relate to death, but when a woman reveals the blood excreted during birth it’s somehow more shocking, or ‘gross?’”

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the miracle of birth is the baby, not the blood and excrement.

But the baby is a separate person; birth art, like most of natural childbirth advocacy, is the mother boasting about and worshipping herself.

As Melissa Willets, author of the BabyCenter piece points out:

…I love the birth sheet idea! It’s another memento of what we go through to bring a life into the world. I don’t see how it’s different from a placenta print, or an umbilical cord clipping, or photos taken by a birth photographer.

Of course you do. It’s yet another opportunity to celebrate the awesome “achievement” of doing exactly the same thing as all of the billions of mothers over the course of human history have done. Who wouldn’t be proud of their excrement in that situation?

Oh, right, people who recognize that the goal of childbirth is a new human being, not another opportunity to boost your own self-esteem.

  • Zizi

    It’s almost as if Philip Semmelweiss lived and died in vain.

  • Guest

    Did these morons forget how the blood-soaked birtsheets were source of contamination and child/mother-deaths in the dark ages
    because people had no idea of hygene?!

  • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

    It’s yet another opportunity to celebrate the awesome “achievement” of doing exactly the same thing as all of the billions of mothers over the course of human history have done. Who wouldn’t be proud of their excrement in that situation?

    Oh, right, people who recognize that the goal of childbirth is a new human being, not another opportunity to boost your own self-esteem.”

    This pretty much sums up all my feelings about the Natural Birth / Natural Parenting movement.

  • Aster

    Why are artists constantly trying to evoke our emotions? They must be stupid. Stupid,ignorant,naive,hippies! Just because the privileged,healthy and educated people are brainwashed doesn’t mean I will be. I get my information from blogs like this. They can keep their peer reviewed statistics to themselves.I trust scientific research about as far as I can throw it! Our country is a joke to the rest of the world. At least our infant mortality rate is better than some other countries! Stupid artists should be shot and killed and go straight to hell where they belong!

    • Nick Sanders

      It’s entirely possible to evoke emotions without creating a biohazard.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Besides, is it really the goal of art to evoke the emotion “That’s just gross!”?

        I mean, shock jock crap can evoke emotions, too. That doesn’t mean it’s any good.

        From a long way off, a truckload of manure may be an impressive sight, and evoke emotion. But when you get up close, you realize it’s just a big pile of shit. It still evokes emotions, but that, in itself, is not a virtue.

  • mabelcruet

    This is just weird. When I’m dealing with placentas in the mortuary, I have to wear scrubs, Wellington boots, a plastic apron, gloves, sleeve protectors and a face visor or eye protection to prevent splashback. This is routine for dealing with any fresh tissue sample to avoid infection risk. If we get fresh tissue sent to the lab, it is dissected in the high risk cabinet-one of those locked units that you put the tissue inside, then thrust your arms into long rubbery tubes so that you can handle the stuff without breathing the air around it or touching it. If fresh blood gets onto any of the paperwork, we have to transcribe the details onto another form and incinerate the contaminated one. And yet people are fingerpainting with the same thing in their own home?? I deal with dead bodies, and bits of bodies, I am not in the least bit squeamish (except when it comes to slugs), and this this birth sheet painting is frankly disgusting.

    • Who?

      But if you knew the person and had chanted affirmations with her as she rode the surges to the homebirth of her baby, her germs couldn’t get you, could they?

      Oh, wait…

      • mabelcruet

        Ah, you’re going for the theory that positive affirmations will counteract any toxins and twinkly mama magic will turn all the poop and the blood into chocolate and marshmallow. Maybe they should just squirt a few drops of breast milk over the stains, that’s even more magical and can cure anything….

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Yup, I work in pathology lab. I just fix the computers. If I have to go in the lab I have to wear lab coat, gloves and if I am going to be working on a histo persons machine, eye protection. The sheer blase attitude towards bodily fluids and tissue that a lot of home birth midwives have is kind of mind boggling. How do you know your patient does not have anything communicable? How do they know their midwife doesn’t have anything communicable (Hep C anyone?)

      • kilda

        eh, breast milk cures everything anyway. Hep C, ebola, whatever – shoot a little breast milk at it, and all better!

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    *snort*
    The World’s Most Stubborn Toddler is in the middle of potty training. She has learned, oh joy, that she can hold her pee to try to make Mommy do what she wants. Kid held it for SEVENTEEN FREAKING HOURS, thereby giving herself a lovely UTI. As a result of the UTI, she has an upset stomach and her usual blood sugar issues get exacerbated by that. When TWMST, otherwise known as DD, has blood sugar issues, vomit will follow shortly.
    It’s been a fun few days around here, lemme tell you. On the bright side, though, all the revolting sheets and blankets and such are no doubt such high art that I can put her through college with the proceeds of their sale…
    Moar wine naow?

    • Dr Kitty

      I have a fridge magnet that says “the most expensive part of having children is all the wine you have to drink”.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        THIS. x1000. So much this.
        Before I had kids, I would have maybe a couple of margaritas per *year* if out with friends. That’s it. Now I have a beer or glass of wine far more nights than not…

        • Who?

          Vitamin W. Not sure it is known to medical science, but well known to parents everywhere.

    • Azuran

      Last night my baby threw up for the very first time. Directly inside my shirt.
      I regret not doing an imprint of my breast and selling it. I’d never have to work another day in my life

    • Nick Sanders

      Seventeen hours? How did she not explode?!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        A very good question, and one I asked several times, especially towards the end of the holdout…

    • J.B.

      I’m sorry, that’s rough!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Thanks! This is why wine exists. 😀

    • sdsures

      “World’s Most Stubborn Toddler”

      I really hope this name isn’t copyrighted. 😛

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Also, the whole “women should appreciate their bodies for what they do, not what they look like” is not exactly unproblematic. It privileges bodies that can do certain things. Not all women’s bodies can give birth or get pregnant. Appreciating your body for it’s ability to give birth is great for cisgender, healthy, fertile, able-bodied women of childbearing age who actually desire to give birth. But plenty of women’s bodies do not meet one or more of those criteria and that standard can feel just as shaming for them as the standard of thin, white, young, cisgender beauty can feel for women whose bodies diverge from it.

    • sdsures

      Case in point: PCS.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    First off, I really, really dislike the prevalent (among certain circles) notion that, unless you want to roll around in your own bodily secretions and talk about/show them to everybody, you must be ashamed of your body. I’ve had fertility awareness mavens tell me that every woman should be intimately in touch with her cycles and anatomy at all times and not wanting to be is a sign of internalized misogyny and hatred of our bodies and vaginas etc.

    Nope! I think my vagina is just great! It does all the things it’s supposed to do so far and has provided me with much recreation! I’m fine with my body. I especially like how it does all its stuff without any intervention from me! Just like my digestive system will keep on doing its thing without any tending except my putting food into it, my cervix will keep right on, um, cervixing, whether or not I’m constantly poking it. And that’s the way I like things. I’m a bit squeamish about too much graphic body stuff. I’d have made a terrible medical professional. I don’t even like looking at my own veins too hard! I don’t want to spend that much time with cervical mucus. I don’t even like the words “cervical mucus!” If I ever give birth, don’t fucking film it and show it to me, hell no! I don’t have any problem with the idea of giving birth, it doesn’t scare me any more than it should (as anything painful and somewhat risky would) but I don’t need a to have a visual, no thank you! And a definite no thank you to “birth sheets.”

    The shaming of women’s bodies and the idea that female anatomy and body functions are “gross” is a genuine problem. Some women feel so much shame that they don’t get proper medical care for themselves, or ignore “female problems” that should really be checked out because they’re ashamed to be examined by a doctor. This is a problem. (And there are also some doctors that don’t really help with that.) In some societies, women’s bodies are so stigmatized that proper medical care isn’t even readily availably to a lot of women. This is a problem. A lot of women feel inhibited from enjoying sex because they feel ashamed of their bodies and feel that they are gross or fear that their partners will feel that way–and sex education frequently neglects female sexual anatomy. This is a problem. It’s good for girls to be taught that there’s nothing wrong with their bodies and that their various functions, secretions etc. are normal and healthy. It’s good to teach girls to care for their bodies properly which, yeah, means not being so freaked out by your vulva that you’re afraid to touch it or think that doing so is shameful, for example.

    None of this requires being elbow deep in your vagina all the time or displaying your freaking post-partum blood to prove how in touch with and proud of your own body you are. It is okay to think that blood and body secretions are kind of gross! I’m glad my nose produces snot, since I recall that this is rather important. That doesn’t mean I need to proudly display my tissues every time I sneeze to show that I’m not ashamed of the natural functions of my nose. No, snot is gross, nobody wants to see it and I throw those things away like a normal person. Sheesh!

    • Roadstergal

      I am intrigued, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. (No, seriously, I was saying “Secular Amen!” in my head at the end of each paragraph.)

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Aw shucks. 🙂

    • BeatriceC

      We can appreciate things without wanting to look at them. I personally think penises are ugly. Now don’t get me wrong, I love what penises can do, and I like the way they feel, I just don’t want to look at them. I also think semen is gross.

      • Nick Sanders

        Penises are hideous.

        • myrewyn

          Nooooo!

      • Mrs.Katt the Cat

        Penises are hilarious! And weird.

        • Petticoat Philosopher

          They do have a lot of comic possibility.

          • Roadstergal

            I may or may not have dressed Mr R’s up in glasses and a galabia in the past.

          • BeatriceC

            I may or may not have pretended MrC’s was a general giving his troops a speech.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Are you going to make me look up a galabia?

          • Roadstergal

            I wouldn’t advise you look up a galabia. You might get punched.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I’ll just stop at the image of glasses

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            It’s a robe

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        I rather like them visually but to each her own. 😛

        • BeatriceC

          I kinda like watching them grow and think. I think that part is kinda awesome, but in general, I don’t find them visually pleasing at all.

          I’m gonna leave the typo in there because it just works. But I meant to say shrink.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Lol, I was gonna say, “Penises can do lots of cool things but I’ve never observed thinking to be one of them.”

          • BeatriceC

            I dunno. They certainly seem to override the thinking processes of the actual male brain alarmingly often.

          • Petticoat Philosopher

            Yeah, maybe they’re actually too good at thinking.

        • Roadstergal

          I agree, they _can_ be quite elegant. (I’m a little snooty.)

          • sdsures

            It moves! It grows!

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Genitalia put the Fun in fugly 😉

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      The last time it was cool for women to display their vaginal blood, it was wedding night bedsheets to prove their pure virgin status prior to becoming a wife.
      So now, what, we display our becoming a mother status? Yay, it hurt but I did it! I am now defined by my offspring.

      • Mrs.Katt the Cat

        Now I want to make counter art called “Conception”, same thing with smaller blood stains, maybe some alcohol and an open but unused condom . . .

        • sdsures

          Don’t forget the morning-after barf from a hangover.

  • Dr Kitty

    Right, here is the thing.
    I just don’t think that soiled bedlinen, placenta prints, umbilical cord art , belly casts, bump painting, and the vast majority of birth photography is good art.

    It’s mundane and doesn’t actually capture any of the emotional weight of becoming a parent any more than wedding photography, dried wedding flowers and a framed wedding invitation capture the emotional weight of marriage and art good art, even if you might quite like having them on your wall.

    I don’t know what would be art about birth that would speak to me, personally, on the level I expect from good art, but I can tell you that I have rarely seen it.

    I’ve seen great art about identity, war, isolation, poverty, illness, death, sex and love, but birth seems to be a life event that just doesn’t seem to inspire great art in the same way.
    Maybe because it seems to be interpreted so literally, I don’t know.

    If you’re an artist who is inspired by birth to make art, fantastic, but it looks like your work is going to be cut out for you if you want to make something more than just a memento for the people involved.

    • Roadstergal

      I haven’t been a parent. I have had good friends who have become parents and have given me the opportunity to observe, and I gotta say… it’s interesting and ongoing and lifelong and I don’t know how you could capture it. I’ve seen changes from “OMG look at the baby!” to “OMG there’s a life that depends on me” and all sorts of ups and downs and love and hatred and despair and just this long… evolution into a family, a dynamic thing that’s different as everyone involves grows and evolves and changes. And birth comes to be a marker, something to look back on only in the context of all that came after. “I remember when you were born” looks more and more like shorthand for “I can hardly believe how much you’ve changed and grown.”

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        “I remember when you were born” looks more and more like shorthand for “I can hardly believe how much you’ve changed and grown.”

        My kids are 8 and 6. There are memorable parts about when they are born, but a lot of it has faded. And even the stuff that is memorable is more like, how the night before our first was born (3 weeks early), my wife was telling me the dog was acting strange and following her around all day, and she looked down at him and said, “What do you know that I don’t know?” Turns out, she had a very small water leak, and was likely leaking water all day. She went into labor in the middle of the night. And then her folks hit a deer on the way here, and didn’t make it until Friday. And then Saturday night, they, along with my folks who had arrived, we all went to Bob Evans for dinner.

        And with our second, I remember that I got to hold him for about an hour just by myself in the room while she was being sewn up after surgery because there was no room in the nursery. So they just wrapped him up and gave him to me.

        Somewhere in that process they were born as well. But that is less memorable for me. Then again, I wasn’t the one having them either….

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Or in my case, “OMG, who’s that little old man and where’d he come from. Oh, wait…”

    • myrewyn

      I’m generally not sentimental about “stuff” anyway so maybe you’re on to something beyond the squeamish factor about why I have no desire for birth art except a few nice photos of us as a new family maybe (but no photos of the actual birth please!!)

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      A friend of mine had her belly painted to look like a watermelon, which was cute. But the thing is, it wasn’t supposed to be anything more than cute. And it inspired a lot of “I carried a watermelon” comments on facebook and “Dirty Dancing” references make everything better.

      Another friend got hers painted to look like the Death Star. I do give some points for that.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        The death star, lol. That’s one I’d have considered if I ever actually showed

      • Roadstergal

        That Death Star painting is the best thing I’ve heard all day.

        I have a friend who had a butterfly tattoo on her stomach. By the time she was approaching term, we called it the Boeingfly.

        • sdsures

          I wonder if I should tell my husband about the Death Star idea. We’re both nerds.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m dying to see it, now!

          • sdsures

            The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of an annoyed toddler.

          • sdsures

            Guess I’ll just have to do it when the time comes. 😀

    • sdsures

      “I don’t know what would be art about birth that would speak to me, personally, on the level I expect from good art, but I can tell you that I have rarely seen it.”

      Kid’s first fingrpainting?

    • Zizi

      My personal idea of what comes the closest to good “birth art” would be the Madonna and child paintings of the old masters. They don’t depict the birth itself, but they do depict the parent-child bond, which is the crux of the thing.

      Kind of like how Goya’s “Naked Maja” or Georgia O’Keefe’s flower paintings don’t depict the actual sex act, but are undeniably erotic.

  • StephanieJR

    My rabbit could paint better!

    In fact, here’s one that does- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bini_the_Bunny

    (I am so getting Amy some food colouring and a canvas one day)

    • BeatriceC

      I wonder if I could get some food dye paint and let Charlotte “paint” with her tail feathers.

  • Stephanie

    So do they read the sheets like tea leaves?

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      This reminds me of the time my best friend H and I were hanging out in the local tea shop (yep, we actually had one! Run by Brits). I picked up the recently emptied pot and stared intensely into it. I even caught the barista’s attention. “What are you doing?” H asked. “Reading tea leaves.” “Oh, what do they say?” “Made in China.” Both H and S laughed.

      • Roadstergal

        Reminds me of that bit in Coraline. It’s a scary hand! No, it’s a giraffe!

  • Kristi Berry Pedler

    I’m just seeing charlatans finding new marks…in multiple senses of the word mark.

  • tumbling

    What…. what do they do with these sheets to keep them from rotting and smelling horrible! And do they hang the entire sheet on a wall? Who has walls that large? I’m with Forbidden Fruit–this makes me ashamed to be female.

    • sdsures

      Biohazard alert! Maybe they have a Hazmat suit fetish?

  • myrewyn

    OT to the people who gave me advice on Monday — I did start feeling unwell, turns out my blood pressure has gone to 157/93 since then so I’m sitting in the hospital hooked up to monitors waiting for labs to come back. I’m not worried but my OH is not ready for this! They’ll decide in a bit whether I will stay or if we are cooking this baby for a while longer. Thanks to everyone who responded!

    • BeatriceC

      Good luck! I’m glad they’re staying on top of things.

    • Who?

      Hoping for very great dullness in your immediate future, preceding the arrival of a healthy baby to a healthy you.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Good luck! I hope you’re having a nap right now rather than in labor, but at least Baby Wyn is officially 36 weeks now

      • myrewyn

        Still monitoring. I think they wish I was closer to 37. I slept well though — being in the hospital is sort of pleasantly boring. Sooo quiet. I haven’t heard a single sound from any other moms or babies and I’m on bedrest so I can’t even go exploring.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          i hear you. No pun intended, lol.

          • myrewyn

            Is this really one of the interventions the ncb people are fussing about? I seriously can’t even feel it. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dad583373a25e057b5798e3ef8dc1c4fef0a7a2d822588278f6238965a13fa20.jpg

          • Dr Kitty

            Yep. You have a dreaded heplock.
            Awful, isn’t it!

            I used to let medical students practice taking blood and putting venflons into my long straight bouncy veins before I let them loose on my frail patients.
            A well sited IV line by an experienced practitioner has to beat a nervous med student trying and failing four times to get one in, but still I wouldn’t exactly rate it highly on a scale of horrible medical interventions.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I *hated* the time they put that in the back of my hand.
            (Not enough to do more than complain, ‘course)

          • myrewyn

            I’m sure it has a lot to do with location and skill. Any particular reason they chose your hand?

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Can’t remember. It was over 3 years ago now.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            It was when they were extracting my eggs.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Where else would it be? The back of the hand is handy (slap!) because it generally stays flat.

            When my wife had her appendix out, they couldn’t get the needle in her hand, so they went in the arm (in the elblow). That was awful, because she couldn’t move it much.

            I’ve actually given blood through the vein in my thumb. Actually, I think it was the return line when I gave platelets (the vein in my arm blew up (damn that hurt!) so they had to move it)

          • myrewyn

            Did you see the photo of where mine was? Directly below my thumb about 1/3 of the way to my elbow? That was a good spot. I agree the spot right inside the elbow can restrict movement.

          • sdsures

            I used to get mine in the inside of the wrist until that vein was too scarred to keep using. I’ve also had one in the inside of my elbow, but it kept falling out because I couldn’t keep the arm straight enough.

          • Christy

            Oh no, not a heplock! Well, you’re doomed now for sure. Seriously though, I hope everything goes wonderfully for you and your babe.

          • Allie

            LOL, heplock: just a gateway to unnecessary CS!

          • myrewyn

            I wanted to make a joke about the cascade of interventions while the nurse was placing it but I wasn’t sure she would get it.

          • Roadstergal

            It’s weird, but when I’ve gone in for surgery, I find the rush of cool saline to be wonderfully soothing. I hope it doesn’t come down to needing it, but if you do, I hope it’s a relaxing and boring experience until you finally meet your LO!

          • myrewyn

            I get super cold with IV fluids but then I get to request one of those lovely warmed blankets.

            I just got wheeled down to ultrasound for a BPP and the nurse pointed out the doors to the OR and said “but of course you hope it doesn’t come to that”. I told her I honestly didn’t care!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I get super cold with IV fluids but then I get to request one of those lovely warmed blankets.

            I love when the hospital provides good service…

          • myrewyn

            Well maybe that’s the privilege I need to check. I’ve always had great service in hospitals so I don’t realize how lucky I am?

          • mabelcruet

            It’s a very peculiar sensation, isn’t it? I remember having IV fluids up following surgery, and you can feel the saline going up your arm on the inside. It’s a really skin crawling sensation-freaked me out! I’m not surprised you feeling super cold, getting a lot of it quickly would be like flushing your veins with cold water. We routinely warm blood up before transfusion (I remember as a junior doctor many years ago sticking a bag of blood in my armpit for a few minutes to warm it up, nowadays I think there are proper warmers!) but I think saline is just at room temperature.

          • Dr Kitty

            I remember sticking bags of fluids up my jumper while getting lines in.

            So health and safety! Very Hygiene!

          • Mishimoo

            The saline my husband received when he had severe tonsillitis years ago was lovely and cool, the problem was that he wasn’t feverish. I flagged down a nurse to request a blanket, a doctor came to check on him, wasn’t pleased with how cool he was, and asked me to get in next to him. It was so awkward!

          • Cartman36

            Good luck!!! I wish you all the best and a safe outcome for you and Baby!!!!

          • sdsures

            I love warmed blankets! Feeling cold with an IV is very common because the fluids are room temperature. They bring out the warmed fluids for patients with hypothermia.

          • Cartman36

            I’m just jealous that they gave you that nice little mesh sleeve thing. Mine was flopping around and getting caught on things for two days before I finally demanded the nurses take it out. It was just one of a myriad of care issues I had at the birth of my second baby. My experience was so bad that when I spoke with the director of the OB department about it after I got home, she called it a failure of basic nursing.

          • myrewyn

            I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Nurses really can make or break a hospital stay and I’ve been very lucky so far. This is the first time I’ve had the little sleeve too and it seems so obvious that it’s the perfect solution to the floppy heplock but apparently not every nurse does it! The nurse who placed it was so so so very young but excellent.

          • Cartman36

            Thanks. I was expecting the fact that they were BFHI to cause issues but instead it was that they were “so busy” they basically ignored us for two days. I put so busy in quotations because its a rural hospital and I think there were four people at most in the OB unit. Anyway, isn’t it funny when the nurse walks in and you are like “are you a real nurse or is this some sort high school job training program” because they look so young. When did I get so old. 🙁

          • Roadstergal

            OT: a friend of mine on my FB today was scoffing at the idea of a 44-year-old playing Young Dumbledore. I suddenly felt very old.

            Also, all of the interns at my job look too young to drink. Yet, they are.

          • Azuran

            But….. Dumbledore was born in 1881 and fantastic beast is set in 1926. So ‘young’ Dumbledore totally is in his 40s. I don’t see the problem.

          • Roadstergal

            She was objecting to someone in their 40s being called young. :p She’s in her 20s.

          • Azuran

            XD I guess when you live up to 116 and still don’t even die of old age, 40 can be considered young.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m turning 41 this year! It hit a little close to home. :p

          • BeatriceC

            Wait! You’re younger than me? For some reason I thought you were a few years older. I was 41 this past December.

          • Roadstergal

            Ah, so we’re a little less than a year apart.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I’m just behind you; I turn 41 in January

          • mabelcruet

            50.God, I’m old.

          • mabelcruet

            50.God, I’m old.

          • Who?

            54. Will stop counting numbers at some point.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            You are counting the wrong numbers. It’s just the 25th and anniversary of your 29th birthday.

          • Sean Jungian

            Shhhh. I’m 53 this year!

          • L&DLaura

            Hey! I turned 41 in November ☺

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My kids have a lot of birthday parties at trampoline parks. I like to go with them and join in.

            Last time, I thought about it a little and thought it seems weird….here am I, a 50 year old guy (almost) out there bouncing on the tramps, and trying to do flips.

            Man, when I was young, that would have seemed awkward. But now? It’s just what I do.

          • Cartman36

            I remember the first time I saw someone’s enlistment paperwork and they were born in a year that I clearly remember. Did you know that kids born in 2000 can enlist this year (with parental consent). 2000!!!!! Y2K doesn’t seem like that long ago. And when you mention it, they say “what’s Y2K?” What!?!?!

          • Roadstergal

            Party like it’s 1999!

          • Mariana

            I had something similar, but on the back of my hand. They taped it down very well and used it for an IV. Is it the same thing? Didn’t hurt at all. I got most of my meds post-partum with an IV anyway (csection, lots of painkiller and allergy medicine, I had a bad case of hay fever).

            Non issue, really

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I realized when I was expecting my son that one of the obs in my doc’s office is actually a year or two younger than me. o.O

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            otherwise known as “how to tell you are ‘advanced maternal age.'”

          • myrewyn

            I’m sure I’m older than my OB too. Soooo old.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            They taped mine down, which was part of my problem. Stupid skin breaks out around adhesive.

          • sdsures

            Tell them that next time.

          • Allie

            God how I wish they’d installed one when I first got to the hospital, rather than the nurse desperately trying to jam one in as quickly as possible while they OB was elbow-deep stitching my torn clitoral artery.

          • myrewyn

            Omg I’m so sorry.

          • Roadstergal

            Update?

          • myrewyn

            Ah sorry. I got discharged yesterday to bed rest at home after some nice low BP readings. NST and BPP also look great at this point. The lab has my 24 hour urine jug in their possession so we will see what that shows. I get to move around for five minutes per hour — fun. I just got up to get the mail and get something to drink and moving makes me have mad contractions but they slow down when I get back in bed. We will see… I know they’re looking at dates and hoping I hang on until I’m at least 37.

          • Roadstergal

            Digits crossed! I hope things keep settled until 37…

          • myrewyn

            Thanks! I wish real life were more black and white sometimes. The symptoms of true pre eclampsia starting or of early labor are pretty damn similar to the symptoms of a normal late pregnancy. Pain? Yeah. Swelling? Uh huh. Contractions? Even in my third pregnancy I find myself unsure of whether it’s real or just another Braxton hicks. And my blood pressure hovers right under the cutoff for now so… I wait and pay attention to baby movement.

          • myrewyn

            24 hour urine result just came in and the protein level is 214 (I think that’s mg) so I’m still hovering in the ok zone with all my tests. 300 seems to be the cutoff.

          • BeatriceC

            Fingers crossed that everything stays good for at least a few more days! (If I recall, you’re 36 + 3ish?)

          • myrewyn

            36+3 tomorrow!

  • Gæst

    Just wait until my NEA grant goes through for MY next art installation, “Potty Training Pants.”

  • Megan

    Think of the art I am pitching every time I drain an abscess!

  • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

    I work in pathology lab. Everything in me is screaming Kill it with Fire! Where is the Hazmat Bio bag!? Where is my PPE!!? AAAGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Sorry. I’m ok now.

  • RudyTooty

    As I scrolled down through the post, I was trying to guess what it would be, as it seems I’ve seen it all. Placenta prints, shriveled bits of umbilical cord “art,” all sorts of graphic color and black and white photography of blossoming perineums.

    But alas! I have not.

    This is GROSS.

  • Bugsy

    I opened your page while munching on dinner, Dr. Amy. Now I’m simply nauseous.

  • Forbidden Fruit

    This fucktardery makes me embarrassed to be a woman. It’s attention-whoring to the Nth degree. Get a life/job/hobby. Nobody wants to see your bodily waste. This is a filthy biohazard, nothing more. Stupid breeders.

  • attitude devant

    Anybody besides me reminded of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and the guy who had the vial with the Abba Turd around his neck?

  • Amy

    Oh MAN, sitting here regretting all of the bandages and menstrual pads I’ve discarded over the years. Who knew I was tossing priceless art?

  • Cartman36

    I guess if you don’t have any professional, educational, or military achievements to hang on the wall, a bloody bed sheet is the next best thing.

  • Heidi

    The nice (or maybe not!) thing about my hospital birth is disposable chucks were used. I was promptly cleaned up and given a fresh chuck when messes were made. I didn’t have any “artwork” to take home.

    I also don’t feel like I’m ashamed of my bodily functions. I still don’t want to photograph my pregnancy puke, poo or menstrual blood and definitely have no desire to save them. Just the same, we don’t save semen around here, but not because anyone here is ashamed by it, but come on (no pun intended), it’s a biological material that is a good medium to grow odoriferous bacteria.

    • Roadstergal

      I save my snot rags when I have a cold. I am the painter, and mucus is my palette.

      • Heidi

        I have some allergy snot rags for you then! I can sell you the snot rags of a 16 month old male (I know it’s shocking he’d have allergies being that he was vaginally born and not a C-section baby), an almost 36 year old male and 32.5 year old female – I’m selling them for only $15 per snot rag.

      • Azuran

        I use my dirty Kleenex to make snowy mountains sculptures.

        • baileylamb

          I bottle my farts. I sell em at the farmer’s market.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Okay, artists can find art in all kinds of insane places because it’s what they do. Call me a philistine, but I prefer looking at art that isn’t made of of secretions or any other body parts.

    • Azuran

      I could somewhat ‘understand’ an actual artist using his own blood or something to make a piece. Still gross, but ok……
      But any random woman bleeding (and pooping) randomly on a bed sheet giving birth isn’t art, it’s just a disgusting dirty sheet.

      • Roadstergal

        I always feel like ‘intention’ is a critical part of art. And there’s no intention in the nature, quantity, or arrangement of sheet stuff at birth.

      • Merrie

        Yeah. I was never a big fan of menstrual art, but at least they’re trying to use the blood to consciously create something. Not just sticking a used pad on the wall and calling it art.

        Never mind. I probably shouldn’t give these people any ideas.

    • Sean Jungian

      Honestly, this is kind of old hat as far as the art world goes. So-called avant-garde artists have been slopping down effluvia and calling it art for at least the lat 50 years in a fairly regular way.

      I’d put this more in the realm of a folk-art or craft resurgence, do-it-yourself birth art! Kind of like how umbilical stump “jewelry” was a thing back when I was about to give birth. (ew).

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        True enough, although I’ve only been aware of it for about half that time. Wasn’t sure if this was one of the odder artists or if it’s the equivolent grannies making doilies for the church fair for a certain crowd.

  • Valerie

    I feel like once you call something “art,” anything goes. It reminds me of this performance art- they seem to have similar aims:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/04/vaginal-knitting_n_4386419.html

    • Sean Jungian

      As good a lay definition of postmodernism as any! Call it Art = it is Art.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Unless its quilting or knitting, because those can never be Art. *snort* Unless a man makes it out of sheet metal or something

        • Azuran

          It’s art if you store the wool in your vagina.

          • Who?

            Ick and ouch.

            That’s all.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

        • Sean Jungian

          Au contraire! Those are variously known as “folk” art, “naive” art, and/or “fabric/textile” arts!

  • critter8875

    Do they save the first intercourse sheets, to prove to the village that the bride was a virgin?

    • MaineJen

      Which is BS anyway, because not everyone bleeds.

      • myrewyn

        True facts. Many young equestrians get this out of the way on the back of a horse years before losing their virginity.

        • Roadstergal

          Or swimming. Or running. Or it’s just not that intrusive by biology. Or the guy isn’t a virgin and is a little more careful. Etc.

          • Azuran

            I broke mine falling down a fence and falling genital first on a broken metal pole when I was like 6. (seriously)
            I would not have wanted to be my step dad when he had to explain that to the doctor….

          • myrewyn

            Owwwwwwww.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            Poor man, you should send him some chocolate

        • critter8875

          Which is why girls in Saudi Arabia are discouraged from any sort of physical activity.

      • critter8875

        I didn’t.

  • myrewyn

    For the record, I think placenta and umbilical art is also gross.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    I just see laundry needing to be done. With lots of bleach!

    • Azuran

      Or fire.

  • LaMont

    I can sort of understand this – women *have* been told that they are disproportionately gross relative to men. Menstrual periods, breastfeeding, birth, these are facts of life and shouldn’t be sensationalized or considered weird/bad. Though while you’re normalizing and de-sensationalizing, you should also not *romanticize* in the same breath, that’s an overcorrection. Somewhere between “having to hide that I’m carrying a tampon to the bathroom at work is stupid and sexist” and “omg blood is so BEAUTIFUL” there has to be a middle ground.

    • Sarah

      Yeah, I can see that. It’s not my bag, bit biohazardy, but I get the point being made.

    • Merrie

      I guess this is art in the same way as those installations of pictures of 500 different vulvas or whatever. Though honestly those are more interesting to look at.

      I don’t think it’s gross, I’m just kind of like whatever, that’s not really art, but I don’t think it’s going to reach anybody who does think birth is gross.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        The 500 different vulvas might not be “art” but I think it does serve the purpose of demystifying a highly mystified part of the female body. The ancient Greeks basically just decided that female external genitalia didn’t exist and you don’t see that contradicted very often unless you’re watching porn, in which the women have often had cosmetic surgery. I lot of women wonder if their genitals look “normal,” and or if there is something wrong with them. I think it’s worthwhile to show how much variety in appearance there is to help reassure women (and especially young women) that whatever they’ve got down there is fine.

        On the other hand, I can’t for the life of me figure out what possible use a display of gory sheets could have.

    • Sean Jungian

      Yeah, this kind of thing was popular when I was in art school – 30 years ago.

      That artist’s statement too, lol, those are always an exercise in supreme bs.

  • Guest

    “Why is it ok for men to show us their experiences of blood, which usually relate to death, but when a woman reveals the blood excreted during birth it’s somehow more shocking, or ‘gross?”

    If it’s in the cinema, IT’S NOT REAL BLOOD, YOU IDIOT!!! It’s Corn syrup, colored red! And yes, birth secretions are gross! They’re gross because they are bodily fluids! They’re gross because they’re UNSANITARY! And men CAN’T have us come into contact with their blood! You wouldn’t see a doctor treating a gunshot wound without gloves and disposing of anything that came into contact with bodily fluids in biohazard containers, would you?!

    • Roadstergal

      That’s a good point. The parallel wouldn’t be an action movie with blood – it’d be mounting and framing some real-life Hawkeye Pierce’s used gloves.

      • kilda

        actually, I think you could make an argument for that as some kind of art, making a statement on war.

        this on the other hand is just dirty laundry with delusions of grandeur.

        • Roadstergal

          Fair point.

        • Dr Kitty

          One of the most moving pieces of war art I have seen recently was called “carpet bombing”. It was a carpet, made in Afghanistan using traditional techniques depicting schematics of all the types of planes and rockets used on the inhabitants.

          It made more of an impression on my than the Goya exhibit of sketches of dead and dying people if I’m being honest.

          Art is supposed to say something, to be moving and meaningful.
          Filthy sheets don’t say anything to me other than “incinerate these ASAP”.

          • Heidi_storage

            Yes! I found a cartoon featuring a cat exploring a bombed-out house very moving. The cartoon is set to Saint-Saens’ “Valse Triste,” and as the cat moves through the house he remembers the people who lived there and how each room used to look.

          • Dr Kitty

            http://www.jimricks.info/carpetbombing.html

            This is a link to the carpet, in case you are interested.

          • Roadstergal

            Wow, thank you for posting the link. It’s really striking, and quite the interesting read.

        • StephanieJR

          ‘dirty laundry with delusions of grandeur’

          oh my god, that is a perfect description!

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        or a butcher’s apron

    • Gæst

      Yeah, I’d be more on board this idea if she created her own birth sheets with paint or other non-biohazard material. Even Robert Maplethorpe gave us *photographs* rather than actual jars of urine.

      • Zizi

        Small nitpick: that was Andres Serrano, not Robert Mapplethorpe.

        Good point, though.

    • Zizi

      Also, I don’t like cinematic depictions of excessive gore. I don’t think of them as “universally not okay” because free speech, but they’re not okay with me. I think they dehumanize the very real tragedy of violent death and can desensitize some people.

      Take a look at a Quentin Tarantino movie, just about any Quentin Tarantino movie. Then take a look at that scene from the 1940s film noir “The Killers” where Burt Lancaster gets brutally battered to death. You don’t see the actual battering. You just see Lancaster’s hand gripping a bedpost as if he were tenaciously and valiantly holding onto life itself, and then you see the hand slowly slide down the bedpost as the life ebbs out of him. Compare these two cinematic styles, then come back and tell me which is more evocative and affecting.

  • NoLongerCrunching

    Just saying, you don’t see soldiers themselves pridefully posting the “bloody violen[t]” results of their military service. What the media does doesn’t matter.

    • myrewyn

      Yes, the soldiers I know take great care to sanitize their photos meant for general viewing.

  • Guest

    Oh gross!!!!! Ew! Ew, ew ew ew EW! I don’t even want to think about what sort of germs are on that!!! You might as well save and display all your used tampons!!!! And what about the smell? Dear God, what are they thinking?!

    • kilda

      I actually knew someone who thought it was edgy and feminist to use her used tampons to paint with.

      yeah, she was annoying.

  • Nick Sanders

    She doesn’t see why birth secretions are being perceived as gross.

    Because we have an instinctual revulsion towards bodily fluids and excrement. It’s there to help protect us from messing about with something that could cause disease.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Ok I have a dog who had an accident in his crate. I found him pushing himself up against the opposite side of the crate trying to get as far away from the poop as possible. Surely these women have more sense than my poor mutt dog.

      • Azuran

        When I play fetch in the yard with my dog, if the ball so much as slightly touches poop, he refuses to pick it up.
        That ball is basically the love of his life, he will do ANYTHING to get it. Except touch his own poop.

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

          My dog is the same , he has a rubber squeaky bone he has had for years. he adores it, BUT if it lands Near his poop I have to go get it he will just stand next to it and whine at me.

    • Gæst

      Is it instinctual, though? Because infants seem more than happy to play in their own filth.

      • Nick Sanders

        Some instincts don’t show up until later in development. For example, an experiment involving a glass covering over a small dropoff showed that fear of falling doesn’t come in until a few months old, roughly the time a baby sill start being able to crawl around.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          Which is why I keep finding my darling daughter trying to dangle half off my bed when we’re reading a story. Fortunately, the frame is broken so it’s just on the floor.

        • Roadstergal

          Aren’t humans born a tad premature relative to other mammals, as evolutionary compensation for our massive heads and narrow walkin’-pelvises?

          I always joke to a friend that human babies look like the larval stage.

          Our puppies avoided their own poop when we got them, at ~2 months. Horse poop, though, required us to train them not to eat it.

      • Heidi_storage

        The other day, I found my two-year-old happily running a truck through a pile of his poop, making “Vroom-vroom” noises. I suspect toilet training is going to be lots of fun.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          at least my 3yo uses food, snow, and mud. On the other hand he’s always dunking his trains in stuff and making an ungodly mess.

  • Charybdis

    Maybe it’s about the CPM’s, doulas, etc not wanting to actually have to clean up/launder all the dirty sheets, towels, etc. Just turn it into art for the living room wall. Package deal: set up and remove birth pool, placenta encapsulation and a framed birth sheet, suitable for hanging anywhere!

    • Azuran

      Next step: Boil down all the water from the birthing pool, make your own ‘birth salt’

      • Hannah

        Stop giving them ideas! O.o

        • Azuran

          I should totally trademark this before someone else get the idea.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        blech!!!!

      • Eater of Worlds

        I could see some really crazy women trying to snort it like bath salts or smoke it like Spice. Bath salts can also be injected IV or stuffed up an ass.

        Boil your birthing fluids down to salt, then stuff them back up your ass as a new form of placenta encapsulation, to get back all the good stuff your body lost during birth!

        • Azuran

          XD I was thinking more like put it in a small glass vial and make a necklace with it. But your idea is better.

  • Roadstergal

    “The indexical trace of childbirth in which mother is painter and blood is the palette.”

    Point of order. Blood, maternal poop, amniotic fluid, and sometimes baby poop are the palettes.

    I’m reminded of the bit in The Psychopath Test where one of the inmates of a particular sanitarium would paint on the walls with feces – until they gave her actual paint.

  • Taysha

    Biohazard signs.

    Biohazard signs errywhere!

  • Azuran

    Come on ladies, we should all appreciate our body’s ability to poop on itself while giving birth. Obviously, we only think poop is gross because society told us to, it’s time accept and celebrate our poop!

    • NoLongerCrunching

      #poopmatters

  • Gennie

    I am lucky that I left Babycenter as soon as I found out about SOB.

    • Wasnomofear

      Me too!

  • myrewyn

    And now you will jump up and yell, “April fools!” Right? Right??

    • KQ Not Signed In

      RIGHT? PLEASE SAY APRIL FOOLS???