Rituals of Motherhood

Every night I check if my daughter is breathing.

I put my hand up to her nose to feel her breath and reassure myself that I have kept her alive for one more day.

While I have always done this, as an Artist Resident in Motherhood I have decided to document it.

(As I write this my daughter is very calmly putting butterfly wings on me, instructing me where to put my arms between words.)

My documentation will be a nightly sketch of her nose and/or mouth in the dark.

My Mother Bear anxiety that compels me to check my daughter’s breath is heightened, as I am sure yours is, by the COVID-19 pandemic. In my postpartum period I had intense visions of terrible situations my daughter could be in and how I would save her. Situations like kidnapping, natural disasters, or zombie apocalypse. It could happen at any moment and was like a movie playing before my eyes. I called them my Mama Bear visions. This would often happen while I was walking with her strapped to my chest in a baby wrap and I would stop for a moment and when it passed I would just keep going.

In this real life Mama Bear vision that hasn’t ended yet I am paused and taking daily documentation of my child’s well being so that when it is over I can keep going.

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