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Coming to LifePhilosophies of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Mothering$
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Sarah LaChance Adams and Caroline R. Lundquist

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823244607

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823244607.001.0001

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The Vision of the Artist/Mother

The Vision of the Artist/Mother

The Strange Creativity of Painting and Pregnancy

(p.300) 14 The Vision of the Artist/Mother
Coming to Life

Florentien Verhage

Fordham University Press

In our philosophical, medical, and everyday discourse we are often forgetful of the creative subjectivity of the pregnant and birthing woman. Traditionally, woman is more easily associated with the body, but she is thought to become even fleshier in pregnancy and less able to think. The ever more expansive materiality of her body will impede her movement and cloud her mind. I find this emphasis on the passivity of the pregnant body problematic. It assumes that pregnancy and birthing could not possibly be creative processes. The artist creates; the pregnant woman merely lets procreation happen. In opposition to this negative view and with help of Simone de Beauvoir's description of a “strange creativity” and Maurice Merleau-Ponty's ontology of the flesh, in this essay I contend that the pregnant woman's body is more than an instrument of passivity; it is a lived-body of an engaged and strangely creative subject and this “strange creativity” she has indeed in common with the artist.

Keywords:   pregnancy, birth, creativity, painting, embodiment, intercorporeality, phenomenology, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir

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