Painting Motherhood

I’m a new (ish) mom navigating my new reality. I never knew a love like this before so the world is a totally new place. My heart is wide open.

My most recent Star Dust painting accidentally maps my lessons of late. It’s working title? Dissolution.

To dissolve: verb: to disappear, disintegrate. to melt from a solid to a liquid.

Synonyms: soften. break down. crumble. dissipate. evaporate. fade. vanish. melt away.

Dissolution / Star Dust Collection

Normally when I start a painting I plan the composition. Now, I have no time. I just went for it. Figure goes here, abstraction goes here. It organically unfolded during nap times.

More than most, this painting mirrors my inner world. She tells of dissolution. My old self is gone. The comfort of body doesn’t matter like it used to. Aches and pains and mastitis and clogged ducts and sleeplessness don’t matter. My babies matter. Their safety is my new mission. Their new lives wash mine old one away.

The first few months of motherhood brought delirious joy I never knew possible. Also, severe catastrophizing to the point of nausea. What if something bad happens? What if she falls down the stairs? What if we get in a car accident? My imagination is so vivid these fears felt sickeningly visceral. Only daily meditations eventually calmed it down.

I now exist for someone else. The dawning of my immortality washed over me in a new way with motherhood. I will die and my kids won’t have me forever. I will die but they’ll still be part of me, walking around this earth. I will die but I will live on through them. I will die and fade away and the process is closer now because I’ve given life. I’m a flower, fading.

This painting bookends a journey to motherhood that took me decades to achieve. I painted its sister painting over 20 years ago, when I uncoupled from a toxic partner, deciding not to have a child with him. I had to heal, and it took me so long I was very late to motherhood.

This old painting was a healing painting for myself and my fertility at the time (the moon shape symbolizes my womb). I hung it in my daughter’s nursery:

My daughter with the healing painting I painted 20 years ago

I got to know myself so deeply I’m glad now for the delay. I have a lot of experience, patience, and gratitude to offer my daughter.

I am no more. The separate “I” never existed anyway, but is now thoroughly washed away into the love I have for you, my children.

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