Amy Haderer’s Crowning Waterbirth

Amy Swagman's Crowning Waterbirth

In this beautiful image, taken from the website, The Mandala Journey, artist Amy Haderer has used colored pencils and a light watercolor wash to create a birth mandala that depicts a waterbirth.  Marked by its circular shape, a “mandala” is a sacred art form used in religious traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.  Circles act as important symbols in many religious traditions around the world, and the word “mandala” is Sanskrit for “circle.”

In Haderer’s mandala, a scene of birth that is both calming and full of strength unfolds for the viewer.  With a full moon rising behind her, a birthing mother rests in a peaceful water setting, her body supported by two women at her sides.  A third woman stretches her arms out to receive the crowning child.  The blue sky behind the figures blends with the tranquil greens and blues of the seawater.  Beneath the birthing mother, a baby’s head emerges in full crowning position, spreading the woman’s vulva wide.  The woman’s legs squat strongly in the water, appearing to course energy down towards the crowning baby.  In the meantime, the woman looks calmly downwards, her arms relaxed across the shoulders of her assistants, both of whom also nod their faces towards the approaching birth.  The painted mandala exudes a sense of gentle movement, a ring of turtles swimming around the birth scene while kelp and other sea life appear to float and flow in the water.

Amy Haderer is a mother, doula and active member of the birth community in Denver, Colorado.  Pregnant women can use her mandalas as powerful tools in helping them to visualize the births of their own children.  Aside from the utility of her own artwork, Amy’s website is also very helpful and a valuable resource, providing viewers with a gallery of birth art from many other artists.