The grossest form of birth art yet


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.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The mother is the painter and blood and excrement is create the palette. [/pullquote]

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.