from The Rainbow Way by Lucy H. Pearce
Posted 11/6/13 | Updated 5/7/23
What we need is a renaissance. We need to go forward by going backward. —Stanley Crouch
Many women have asked me why I focus on the creative mother, rather than creative women, or even simply creativity?
Apart from the fact that I feel that as a group we are extremely under-supported in our development, it is largely because of a little-spoken-about phenomenon: creative renaissance.
I have discovered, through talking to scores of creative women, that for many women something miraculous happens when they become pregnant or give birth. The vital forces which have been ignited in their bodies through pregnancy also rekindle their creative passion. Their hearts and wombs are fully engaged with nurturing life, and it seems that a woman’s body does not differentiate between the biological and artistic acts of creation, they are fueled by the same fire and cultivated under the same conditions.
I believe that the word renaissance perfectly describes the experience of many mothers. From “re-” meaning again, and “naissance” meaning birth, it speaks of the fact that through pregnancy, birth, and motherhood, women find themselves “born again.” For many this is an instantaneous life-altering shift, and felt as a spiritual experience, for others it is a growing sense of realization that “something profound has changed in my life: I am no longer who I once thought I was.”
The other understanding of “renaissance” is to do with a revival of artistic achievement and vigor, and so many of the women I spoke to in the writing of this book experienced a personal artistic renaissance when they became mothers.
For years we may have ignored our creative sides. Busy with our career, love-life, travel and friendships it was left to one side.
Now, suddenly it is an all-consuming urge. Some inner compulsion has awakened and will not be quieted down: we must give birth to art, writing, knitting, sewing, songs, plays…and do it now, not in twenty years when the children are grown.
It is a secret that we were not told by our mothers or sisters, and certainly not by our careers counselors or teachers: we can gain access to unknown depths when our mother-self is born and if we have a creative temperament, the birth of a child might also include a massive artistic resurgence.
Those who do not understand this renaissance that creative mothers experience try to reassure us and quiet down our fire: you have all the time in the world to paint or write, babies are only young once. Don’t be selfish, you need to focus on your children.
They do not understand that this way madness and sadness lie. Many think that this is the only way: have babies and abandon your life and dreams until the children have left home.
You are the frame, now, an older woman counseled me, your child is the picture. It is all about him now.
And this has been true for generations of creative women — once her belly has been filled with the life of another, her own is expected to end. Her hand has been stopped from writing, her heart from painting, her voice from speaking. She has been told that a woman’s place is in the home, is to be caring for children, her husband or ailing parents. This traditional dialogue has been joined by new expectations: that she has to get a job — any job, a respectable job. Never that she should follow her instincts and her heart. To honor her children’s needs for a mother’s care, and her need for a meaningful, creative life and work.
The truth of the matter is that the creative mother who is unable to create, will not be a better mother, instead she is unable to mother properly either. For the creative mother, creativity is her life force that makes her bloom. Take that from her and you take her soul.
Grab some pastels or paints — bring this feeling of your creative awakening to mind. How does it make you feel — invigorated, alive, scared, confused, aroused? Are you part of this image — is it external to you, or internal? If embodied, where does it stem from in your body — your head, heart, womb, is it part of your energy field? Or is it coming to you from an external force? What do you consider this force to be? Can you picture it? Are you a passive recipient or a co-creator of this state? Have you ever experienced this sort of feeling before? When and what was it that was similar? How did you feel then?
Delve deep — this is your material. This is the stuff of power. This is where the magic lies!
©2013 Lucy H. Pearce. All rights reserved.
Lucy H. Pearce lives and breathes the creative rainbow mother archetype in a little pink house on the south coast of Ireland. She is an established writer, editor, artist, women's workshop facilitator and mother of three children. The Rainbow Way is her fourth book. Visit her blog DreamingAloud.net.