On Thursday, my husband and I were able to attend the Cesarean Voices art exhibit’s opening event. We had a wonderful time. It was great to finally see the faces and hear the voices of the women I knew on the internet for years.
The art was powerful. It was amazing to see it all in one place. Being there, seeing in every work of art, a woman, one who understood how I felt about my own cesarean, and expressing these intimate feelings so openly, was an incredible feeling. It made me feel at peace. All the stories, the pain, and the emotion in one room… it had my eyes welling with tears more than once.
I finally had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Stratton, chapter leader of ICAN of Baltimore, and Tiffany Avrill, the curator (that did an awesome job), who also had a few amazing pieces in the exhibit herself. Tiffany is also in the process of creating a website for the exhibit. You can see all the art on the site, so if you could not make it to Baltimore, you should definitely check it out (though the site is still under construction, so it may not be accessible at the moment; It should be shortly).
Guest speaker Anne Isreal, a prenatal yoga teacher who is also a member of Lamaze International, gave a great speech. Of course she discussed Lamaze practices and philosophy, but she also spoke about her recent trip to Beijing, China where she worked with others to help bring childbirth classes to the women there. She told us a story of an obstetrician from Brazil whom she encountered while on The Great Wall. This OB told her she “loved” the cesarean, it was easy and safer “for her”, or course.
The local news was there covering the event. I was one of the artists that was interviewed for their evening news. You can read the article here. Unfortunately there is no video of the segment that aired, but to be honest, seeing myself on TV once was hard enough. :)
The turnout was great, Marsden Wagner even showed up for a bit. There were some women there who had not had children yet, and I think that was wonderful. I was pleased to see this exhibit — our stories — reaching outside the realm of the “mother”, and speaking to all women, and men. There was one man who attended who did know anyone personally who had had a cesarean, but still wanted to come and see the exhibit, even asking Barbara how he could help her ICAN chapter. How wonderful is that?
The Cesarean Voices exhibit is so important, and I hope it travels the country far and wide, opening even more eyes. I am excited to see what the future holds not only for the exhibit, but for the stigma of “just another way to have a baby” that seems to center around cesareans. The “just a cesarean” mentality is damaging and not accurate for everyone, and just one visit to this exhibit will scream that from the rooftops, loud and clear.