Anna Hennessey is currently a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR). She is the author of Imagery, Ritual, and Birth: Ontology Between the Sacred and the Secular (Rowman & Littlefield, December 2018), a detailed study of the artistic, philosophical, religious, and spiritual dimensions of birth. Anna is currently studying the role of mental imagery and visualization in the philosophy of mind, a project informed both by her dissertation research on the role of visualization in Chinese religions and by her examination of imagery used for mental and physiological transformation in birth as a rite of passage. She has used visualization during the births of both of her children (Kieran and Montserrat). Giving birth to her first child, Kieran, had a profound impact on her life, and she began this blog in 2010 when 3 months pregnant with her second child, Montserrat.
Anna holds a Ph.D. in Religious Studies (UC Santa Barbara), an M.A. in Art History (UC Santa Barbara), and a B.A. with a double major in Philosophy and Romance Language (New York University).
To contact Anna with questions or comments, or to submit artwork for the website, please email her at: visualizingbirth [at] gmail [dot] com.
To read about Anna’s other work, see her website: https://annahennessey.com
Imagery, Ritual, and Birth: Ontology Between the Sacred and the Secular
Rowman & Littlefield, December 2018
I really appreciate your site! My husband and I collected positive images to make a birth altar. I wish we had found your site then… I found it through pinterest. I trained as an Art Psychotherapist in the UK.
I’n due to give birth in 2 weeks and often light candles in front of the images!
Thanks and good luck,
Hello Rhian, I hope that this message finds you doing well and enjoying mothering!
I am currently doing a project on birth altars. Did you take any pictures of yours? If so, I was hoping that I could look at the altar and discuss it with you. Let me know, and best wishes to you.
Thanks for your message, Rhian, and your work sounds very interesting. Images are so powerful, and the birth altar is a special place! If you peruse the pages here, you’ll also find a few videos that might be helpful to you in the visualization of birth.
Best wishes to you and your husband during this time, and feel free to contact me via email anytime.
I came across your site by accident and wondered if you would care to look at a video I put together titled ‘My Birthing Pool’ on you tube. The poem is read by a British actor namely Lisa Grant who read my poem two days before she herself was due to give birth to her daughter.
Yes, David, I would be interested in seeing that! I will email you.
Thank you for your site. Do you happen to know the date of Sara Star’s The Crowning? I am a midwifery student and would like to include this work in a presentation but would like to reference it properly.
Hi Stephanie, thank you for your interest in the site! The copyright on Sara Star’s The Crowning is 2004. The copyright for Star’s Study for the Crowning is also dated to 2004. I will send you a few other relevant articles via email. Best wishes, Anna
I was on the website looking for inspiration for my doula practice how to incorporate Yemoja and birth. Your picture was the first to come up, thank you for sharing. It moved me into a place of peace and joy. I’m new to being a business woman but I know one thing is that violating copyright is not a good thing. May I use your picture of Yemoja within my blog? Thank you in advance.
Hi Tierra, thank you for your message and that is great that you wrote to get permission on the image. I don’t own the copyrights to most of the images here and so always contact the artist first. The artist of that piece is Amy Haderer and you can contact her through her website at: https://www.mandalajourney.com If you’d prefer, I can send an email to her and copy you there, just let me know. Amy is also a doula and I’m sure she’d be glad to let you use the image on your website. Best wishes, Anna
My name is Sabina and I am a midwife in Toronto. I absolutely love your work. Would you be willing to talk to me about possibly giving you a space on our midwifery group’s website? We have a section that’s about Inspiration, Health, Art, Writing. We do a lot of prenatal education as well and the issue of fear is very prevalent in birthing women today.
Please send me an email if you are interested. It wouldn’t be any work for you – as we would simply give you a space to post some interesting things about visualizing birth.
Sabina Fella (Riverdale Community Midwives, Toronto)
Certainly, Sabina! That is important work and I will email you. Thank you for connecting here, Anna
Thank you for your website “visualizing childbirth.” I’m an artist who has been asked to comment for a podcast about my own birth image in an on-line collection. I came to your site to look at what you have collected. A really terrrific collection. I’m attempting to view a few videos on the subject of childbirth at your site and finding these have been removed. Might you tell me why these videos were (had to be?) removed? Many thanks, joanne leonard
Hi Joanne, thank you for your message and I would love to see your work! As for the videos, when they don’t work the problem usually relates to the site from which the videos originate. My site links to those sites, and if the original site removed the video or changed the link to the video then it won’t work on my site. I’ll look through and see if I can find the new links/sites. Unfortunately, sometimes the videos have been removed entirely and I can no longer retrieve them. This has already happened with a few of my favorite videos here and I cannot find them anywhere, though I will keep looking! Best wishes, Anna