I liken my bellycast project to a pregnant woman. It evolves and changes at its own pace. Prodding and poking at it only irritated it more, and slowly it became clear to me that I must let the Universe work its magic and deliver the special mommies to me while I continue to do the work.
So, one day I told my co-worker Sharon about my project. She turned around and told me she was organizing a conference at her other job. I instantly decided to present and went in search of my first cast.
I put out a call to expectant mothers on this site, on my Facebook profile, sent emails to friends & family and reached out via other networking sites. I spoke to whoever I could about the project. There was interest but still no mother.
The date for the conference was set for May 14th. By the 2nd to last week of April, I still had come up with no one and was beginning to get nervous. Then some wonderful things started to happen. A friend sent my call for expectant mothers to one of hi s old friends and asked her if she would be interested. She agreed immediately and the Monday of the week of the 14th, I met her.
Her name is Mercy. She was so beautifully full of life. She is Afro-Hondurian and has the most adorable little boy. I had to jump through some hurdles on the way to her, running around for about an hour with a friend gathering supplies. I was feeling hopeless as the search became more and more difficult. What shifted was improvising. I had not bought any kits that came with plaster bandages and was looking for plaster bandages. Then, a voice inside me told me to ask for gauze and plaster of Paris. In changing that, I accumulated all the supplies in moments and found myself on the bus to Mercy.
She was so awesome! We spoke for about a half hour about her first birth and the upcoming one. Mercy reminded me of something I’ve always held inside: every pregnant woman is an expert on her own experience. She taught me about the risks of having high blood pressure while pregnant and why that was the reason for her scheduled C-Section that Friday, the day before the conference.
After we spoke, I set up in her bedroom for the belly cast. To be completely honest, it was my very first time casting anything. I was nervous but focused on the task at hand. We talked about her partner and her life. Mercy is a high school teacher and is also a poet, like myself. She could relate to my journey as an Afro-Latina and we connected on that as well.
As her cast dried, I prayed for her baby. I sent the child a ton of love and light, and asked Mother Father God to protect them at the time of the baby’s arrival. It was a very emotional moment for me and her and we almost cried.
It was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. In the morning as I meditated the day of the conference, I emailed her and thanked her yet again. Here is an excerpt of what she sent me:
“The surgery involved some minor complications but the end result makes everything worth the ordeal. Making sure women are healthy for pregnancy and birth is so important, and probably not pushed as much as it should be. A c-section is major surgery, and many times, the procedure is done because of the health of the woman. I would have been able to run around after my toddler while still taking care of my daughter if I had normal labor, but now, I have to wait a couple of weeks before the pain subsides while the incision heals.
Yet, certain moments of my pregnancy were forever memorable, like seeing my husband’s face when my daughter came forward, and having my daughter close to me to distract me from the doctors finishing the procedure, and getting my belly casted the last week of my pregnancy by someone as amazing as you are. Your visit was a blessing (as well as for Zaim and my Dad!), and I look forward to seeing the end result of the cast.”