Toni Rakestraw’s “Crowning Glory”
Crowning Glory, ink and graphite (Copyright 2010, Toni Rakestraw. All Rights Reserved)
Designed in ink, pen and pencil, Toni Rakestraw’s Crowning Glory represents the culminating moment at which baby’s head emerges from its mother, aided solely by an attendant’s hand. It is common in natural birth for a midwife or doctor to gently help in the birthing process. Using his or her hand(s), the attendant may spread the vulva or press various points of the baby’s head or the birth canal that the woman may feel and that might help her to proceed in her birthing process.
This image is helpful for other pregnant women to view first because it shows a close-up shot depicting how a baby crowns. Second, it helps women to prepare for one way in which a birth attendant might aid in the birth process.
Writing about this work on her own blog, Rakestraw describes both the current whereabouts of the work and some of her intentions in creating the piece,
The moment of baby’s head crowning. This piece is a permanent part of ICAN’s Cesarean Voices traveling art exhibit as an inspiration for what we as cesarean mothers strive for. In the piece I shaded the mother, yet the care provider remains only an outline…he or she is only there for guidance, not to take the birth from the mother.
On Visualizing Birth, I have previously covered some of the acrylic paintings of Rakestraw here. At that time, Rakestraw and I also communicated about her other work, including Crowning Glory. Amy Swagman has also covered this and other works by Rakestraw on her website, the Mandala Journey.
Toni Rakestraw is an artist, writer and editor who is also raising her children. Trained in childbirth education, she has also worked as a doula and read sacred midwifery texts. More of her artwork may be seen and she may be reached through her blogs: WordPress and Blogspot.