The Watercolors of Jody Coughlin’s Expecting Mothers
Expecting, watercolor by Jody Coughlin
In Jody Coughlin’s “Expecting,” a pregnant mother looks affectionately down at her large belly, cradling its fullness with her arms. Her head tilts downward and her face is serene, allowing us to envision the love that she feels for her unborn child. The woman’s pregnant form is delicate and at the same time full of life, intimately connected to the baby within.
For pregnant viewers, this painting is also a reminder to take time to cherish and reflect upon the new life growing inside of our bodies. These intimate connections that we forge with our babies before they are born could aid us during labor, helping us to think of our labor as a work that we share with our babies. During both of my labors, my imagining of my babies as working their ways towards me ultimately helped me and brought calmness to me in the birthing process. I had the fortune of taking a wonderful prenatal class with Kari Marbleduring my first pregnancy, and one of the exercises she had us do was that of sitting silently and envisioning our babies within, surrounded by a soft glowing light. Not only was this visualization calming, but I feel that it brought me closer to my baby. The soft, earthy tones of Jody’s watercolor remind me of the sentiments and sensations I felt when meditating on the births of my children while pregnant.
A maritime artist, Jody Coughlin lives and works in New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to her work as a painter, she is a writer, photographer, mother and wife. Jody writes deeply about the births of her two children and the challenges she has experienced as a mother. I find her birth story and description of becoming a mother and artist of birth art to be both beautiful and poignant. I am particularly touched by her very important words advocating support for all new mothers, and her understanding description of what it is to be a new mother. Jody’s children were both born via c-section, and her birth story powerfully describes the feelings and experiences she associates with the way in which they were born. I believe that her beautiful work, Incision (below), is a physical representation of those very complex feelings. More about this painting and others is also found on Amy Swagman’s Mandala Journey blog.
Prints of Jody’s birth art can be purchased through her Etsy shop.
Incision, painting by Jody Coughlin
Mother of, watercolor by Jody Coughlin