Making a Belly Cast
Before there was mellieblossom.com, there was blossomandglow.com, a blog that a very dear friend of mine started that I ended up being a regular contributor to. Although it is now (temporarily at least) defunct, there was a post I wrote out about the belly cast that I made when I was pregnant with my youngest son. Photos of this are floating all over Pinterest and are still being pinned, although the link leads nowhere. So I thought I would resurrect that post for all the mamas-to-be out there who are interested in making a belly cast of their own. And if you do see it out there in cyberspace somewhere, please do post a link back here!
This was a two-part post. In the first post, below, I’ve described how my belly cast came about; the inspiration and design. In the second part of the post (found here), are detailed instructions on how you can make your own.
Here’s the original post, from 2012:
Making a Belly Cast – Part I (my belly cast)
I’ve shared photos of my belly cast on a few sites around the internet, and since then I’ve received a steady stream of emails requesting instructions on how to make one. So even though I’m not pregnant right now, I am happy to share with you how to make a belly cast to memorialize your pregnancy!
This is the belly cast I made when I was pregnant with my youngest son. Like many new mothers, I found the birthing experience with my first son to be powerful and transforming. He was born at home amid dim lights, soft music, and loving hands. I had spent the last few months of my pregnancy absolutely terrified of labor. Everyone, it seemed, told horror stories to pregnant women about the worst labor experiences, and I was truly frightened. Fortunately, my son’s birth was amazing. I spent the first ten hours of it almost in a meditative state, gaining strength for the next part of the birthing process. It wasn’t painless, obviously – but it was nowhere near the level of terror that I was expecting. In the end, I was disappointed that I had wasted so much time in fear rather than in joyous anticipation. With this in mind, I wanted the birth of my second son to be celebratory! We did a mother blessing instead of a baby shower, and memorializing my pregnancy through a belly cast seemed to fall right in line with that idea.
This belly cast had been a spur-of-the-moment, last-minute creation. A friend of mine was putting together an art exhibit on natural birth and was requesting belly casts. I was 8 months pregnant at the time, the perfect candidate to. Within a couple of days, I had sat for the casting, let it dry sufficiently, and was pondering how best to decorate it.
The first idea that came to my mind was one of the galaxy or universe. My husband and I had just finished watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and my poor brain was churning, over and over, the possible meanings behind the ending. It was a proper time for a meditation like that, as I reflected daily on this tiny baby growing inside of me. Questions that mothers across the ages have asked themselves: where did this child come from? Who is he? His essence, his creation? The idea of the universe, expansive and mysterious, seemed a fitting physical representation, and so I started by painting the entire body cast black.
The glitter came next – I had intended on stars all along, but the idea of rainbow stars seemed even more symbolic: a spectrum of colors encompassing the only light we humans can see kind of reflected the path of my own little son turning into his human form. The spiraling, round and round, begins (or ends) with the point in space where his creation was happening. The rainbow stars around it were made with paint markers and even little stickers of shooting stars. Anything that glittered, in this case, was gold.
So the colors spiraled around the navel, the single point of life, where mother and child are attached; the point where nurturing sustains his tiny existence. I made smaller spirals around the breasts, indicating their inclusion into the birthing process (and the subsequent nurturing through nursing), but the main focus is at the navel. The colors continued to spiral out from my fingers, which I thought was a beautiful representation of birthing as an art or creation. I also love the way that the cast made my fingers mold to my belly – forever protecting my baby. It also reminded me of my Grateful Dead days, and a powerful song they sang where the lyrics exclaim: It rainbow spirals round and round; it trembles and explodes! To me, this was a perfect definition of the power of birth.
The final addition were the jewels that shine around the belly – my baby is my treasure.
It’s funny; as I was writing this post, both my little boys woke simultaneously from opposite ends of the room and staggered sleepily over to me, as if they could sense their mother begging them not to grow up too quickly. They both crawled into my arms and cuddled up next to me, and each other, and gently drifted back to sleep. I held them both close to me, and tried to take a snapshot in my mind of that very moment… it’ll be all too soon before they’re both bigger than me! But for a brief moment in time, my two little boys are still my two little boys.
And I will always be their mother
~ Mellie ★
See part 2, here, for complete instructions on making your own belly cast!