I am writing this post on a rainy Sunday afternoon, as the next few days I plan to set my blog aside to focus on working on my book Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder. The book will be an amalgamation of memoir, interviews with postpartum/bipolar experts, women’s mental health advocates, and profiles of women diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder. I know that sounds like an awful lot to throw together, but I think it can be done well. It won’t be easy (that’s a slight understatement…) but I’m going to give it my best shot!
Last week I suggested to Chato B. Stewart, a talented artist friend of mine, that he create a cartoon for my book’s cover. Chato blogs for BP Magazine (http://www.bphope.com/bphopeblog) and writes the popular “Mental Health Humor” column for PsychCentral.com. I never dreamed he’d take me up on creating my cover image; he’s a busy bee, but he did. He worried that it would offend me, but when I opened up the file of his cartoon in all its glory, I laughed out loud. So did some mama friends of mine. I hope you can see the humor in it as well; if not, I’m sorry – please don’t un-follow me!
I’ve thought of a similar idea in which my title is literally interpreted to appear as a woman giving birth to a brain. So Chato and I are on the same page with that concept!
Other vivid, graphic birth images have appealed to me as well. Before my second daughter was born, I listened to an incredible Toni Childs album over and over again called “The Woman’s Boat”. Toni Childs’ music reached a peak in the 1980’s when she was nominated for two Grammy awards. She has worked with many acclaimed musicians such as Peter Gabriel. Eve Ensler, writer and founder of V Day, asked Toni to write an anthem for her documentary Until the Violence Stops. Toni wrote a song entitled “Because You’re Beautiful” for the film and her song won an Emmy award in 2004 for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. She is a long-term survivor of Graves Disease and has just released her newest album “Citizens of the Planet”.
“The Woman’s Boat” themes range from birth to death – the first song is “Womb” and the final song is “Death”. This album has influenced me in very personal, profound ways. I brought this CD with me to the maternity hospital when I went into labor with Marilla. Not only did I want to hear Toni’s music while in labor, if possible, but I wanted to prop up the CD’s liner note photos so I could look at them. I felt deeply connected to these images; to me they visually represented the power of a woman’s fertility, and displayed the beauty of women’s bodies. (I imagine that the insert picture of a woman giving birth to a flower could also offend some people, but I think it’s stunning.) The cover art of a pomegranate as a symbol of fertility is gorgeous as well.
***If you’ve never listened to Toni Childs, you are in for a treat! Here’s a YouTube link that features a playlist many of her songs:
***For more information about my super-cool friend Chato, please check out his following links:
***To see what Toni Childs is up to, visit the following link and be sure to look at her incredible Kickstarter video on the home page which she created: