Before having a child I dreaded the notion of becoming a mom. It
started in 7th grade health class where I saw childbirth films.
I swore to my best friend that I would never participate in that
disgusting blood bath. Nor did I desire the white picket fence and
station wagon that seemed part of the overall package. I thought
I had no mothering instincts.
Having become pregnant in my late thirties, I discovered some of
my childhood fears were well founded. I found maternity shops filled
with dowdy clothes and specialty items meant to keep parts of your
upper and lower torso from leaking, children's stores filled with
gaudy stickers, awards for being good, and tons of plastic diapers
and "binkies" to plug your child up.
Representations of pregnancy and motherhood are bountiful in our
culture. The sweet, overly romanticized pregnant belly readying
herself to be pictured as mom, the source of nature and nurture.
I assume most of these pictures were taken by dutiful fathers or
The torsos presented in these slides reflect some of my experiences
of pregnancy. They also refer to our cultural constructions and
myths surrounding motherhood. The billboards provide a forum for
public discourse concerning the governance of the female body, in
this case, the pregnant torso. The image on the billboard, "HOW'S
MYMOTHERING?," placing the pregnant torsos in the public domain,
brings up issues of the governance of the female body as well as
the judgements I feel our culture places on pregnant women. I am
interested in the collapse of the public and the private. I would
like, in a highly visible way, to image some of the experiences
of pregnancy and motherhood previously left under cover.