Roman Relief Carving: The Power of Visualizing Baby Already Born

Ancient Roman relief carving of a midwife attending a woman giving birth
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), Wellcome Library, London

In this well-preserved relief carving, the image of which is available through London’s Wellcome Library, we see a woman who has just given birth. The woman appears relaxed, partially reclined with one leg up, hand on knee while her midwife attends to the newborn.

Imagining her child already born can be a powerful way for a woman to feel comforted as she approaches giving birth. There is sometimes an overarching worry in late pregnancy as women reach the day of their labor and the days tick by slowly. Ruminations of how the birth might go can intrude the mind, even to the point where the pregnant woman wonders if her baby will ever arrive. Perhaps this is especially the case for those who have passed their due dates and are waiting to go into labor.

When we forget the details of how a birth might go and remember that in short time, whatever length of time that may be, our child will arrive and we will soon be with that child (who has traveled from the internal world of the womb to the external world outside) a relief comes. 

Visualizing Birth has previously discussed the the power of envisioning the child already born (see this post on Paula Modersohn-Becker’s Reclining Mother and Child of 1906).

For previous posts about using images of birth from Ancient Greece and Rome for visualization, see here: Childbirth in Ancient Rome, Classical Roman Birth Scene, Ancient Roman Relief Carving of Birth, Classical Greek Image of Woman Giving Birth