Interview: With Sarah Nicholson Creator of Belly – A Birthing Journal

February 25, 2007 at 5:49 pm Leave a comment

BellyBelly is an original Australian made journal for pregnant women, showcasing contemporary literature and visual arts around the themes of pregnancy, birth and early motherhood. We talked to Sarah Nicholson, the editor and publisher of Belly about it’s creation.

What inspired you to create Belly? What was the intention behind it?
Belly began for me as a pregnant desire. I was lumbering pregnantly from bookstore to bookstore looking for a creative pregnancy journal. I had used yearly diaries like RAW Women and We’moon which have women’s artwork and creative writing and I thought that there must be something beautiful like that designed for pregnant women. I was really surprised that I couldn’t find one. After I had given birth to my son I decided to start working on collating materials to create the sort of pregnancy journal that I had been looking for.

My aim was to bring together creative visions from diverse voices and spaces, to express ideas and experiences around birth and pregnancy which were intimate and truthful. I wanted Belly to be beautiful, to have works that were of a high artistic standard and which would also appeal to diverse tastes.

Do you think our attitudes to pregnancy and birth needs to change? if so, how?
I think pregnancy and birth are still quite taboo areas in our society – pregnant bellies are (strangely enough) still seen by some as offensive, the experience of birth is hidden away. I was interested with Belly to shed light on these hidden areas. To get the pregnant Belly out there in all its glory.

What type of people contributed?
There were about 50 contributors, mostly women from every state in Australia, (and even a couple from overseas). Writers and poets, sculptors, painters, illustrators and photographers : some professional, some with beautiful works hidden away in their bottom drawer until now.

What experience do you hope to bring the people who buy the Belly Journal?
I hope Belly will provide them with material that is inspirational and insightful and that will encourage them to reflect on their own journey – to record it, to write and dream and wish, to expose their fears and discomforts, to be creative themselves.

What were some of the challenges you faced in it’s creation?
I found that Belly wasn’t something that publishers were daring enough to take on – it’s difficult enough getting poetry published in Australia but combining poetry with artworks and in a journal format.. not to mention the subject matter being birth and pregnancy.. finding a publisher proved quite impossible. I really believed that this was going to be a beautiful book and that pregnant women would appreciate, even cherish it, so I decided to self publish which is a huge task, but I think in the end my belief in this project will be proved correct. One of the other challenges was mothering my gorgeous boy, now a very energetic 2 1/2 year old, while putting Belly together. Juggling motherhood, university and self publishing has been a bumpy and challenging ride.

If you could say one thing to pregnant women out there what would it be?
Cherish!

Read A Review of ‘Belly- A Birthing Journal’

Check out ‘Belly-A Birthing Journal’ online at http://bellyjournal.blogspot.com

To Order a copy or for inquiries contact Sarah
Cover Image – ‘Two Hearts Make One Love’, Elk Anstey.

“The fact that life is inherently rhythmic may well be the very first lesson
each and every human being learns.
Born from and as part of the universe,
the child enters a world of rhythm and pulsation, sound and silence”

Sarah Nicholson from Belly

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Entry filed under: Birth, Interviews, Pregnancy.

Interview: Jannine Barron of Nature’s Child

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