Book Review: Belly – A Birthing Journal

February 25, 2007 at 9:58 pm Leave a comment

BellyFinally, an Australian publication which honours and celebrates the beauty of the pregnant body and the sacred nature of pregnancy and birth. Sarah Nicholson has created a journal full of inspiring works from artists, poets, photographers and writers all around the country who have been touched and inspired by their own initiation into the ancient mysteries and creative power of the female body.

Belly is a balance of visual art and written words, along with blank pages for your own inspiration or memories to be recorded. Belly combines poetry, creative writing and unique art such as sculptures made out of silk wood, an emu egg and a lover’s dreadlock, as well as mandala drawings and ink cartoons. Becoming a mother can sometimes be overwhelming as you surrender your body to nature and navigate the labyrinth of birth and parenting choices – reading these pieces you are plunged headlong into the nature and emotion, the fear and joy that parenthood brings.

The myths our culture has created of ‘Johnson and Johnson’ babies and birth are sorely lacking in heart and soul – Belly gives us back some of that heart and as we see and read how other’s souls have been touched on their own journeys through motherhood, we learn to honour our own. Fiona Giles’ introduction to Belly sums it up pefectly. She discusses the seductive idea of the Immaculate Conception that permeates our cultures view of conception, pregnancy and birth – no stains, unblemished and undefiled. Fiona suggests that perhaps ‘miraculous’ and ‘immaculate’ were confused somewhere along the way with a ‘celestial typo’, with our culture attempting to hide the fact that pregnancy is a nine month long cataclysmic sexual event behind Peter Pan collars and pink flowered mainstream maternity wear. Sarah, the creator of Belly has certainly achieved her aim of “getting the pregnant belly out there in all it’s glory” to shed light on some of the taboos surrounding pregnancy.

Since the earliest recorded works of art, such as the paleolithic Venus figurines from 35,000BC, humans have celebrated and honoured the power and beauty of the pregnant female form through art and sculpture. Women today continue to be creatively inspired by the experience of surrendering their bodies to the power of life evolving inside them as the contributors in Belly show – from professinal artists and writers, to those who have simply been inspired to record their own sacred journeys.

Belly is a beautiful collection honouring the ultimate creative force and the wonder of the female mystery which guides life into creation and existence. Designed as a journal, it encourages you to creatively explore your own journey through pregnancy, birth and early mothering.

Read an interview with Sarah Nicholson, creator of belly.

Check out ‘belly-a birthing journal’ online at

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

“Deep within my dark ocean
you drift
anchored only by this frail blue coil
pulsing with my lifeblood
binding us closer than any chain
prisoners to each other
fettered as close as moon and tides”

from Belly -Joy by Kate Humphrey


Entry filed under: Birth, Book Reviews, Pregnancy.

The Wisdom of the Elders by Anne Whittingham & Joanna Boileau The Children’s Voice: Address to the Plenary Session, Earth Summit, Rio Centro, Brazil 1992

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