In Japan, maternity photos are often taken as symbols of ‘happiness.’ While it is true that pregnancy and childbirth are... Read More
In Japan, maternity photos are often taken as symbols of ‘happiness.’ While it is true that pregnancy and childbirth are miraculous and bring happiness, the experience encompasses more than just joy.
For me, someone who has endured multiple miscarriages due to an inability to carry a pregnancy to full term, each day leading up to the stable period became a series of moments for prayer: ‘Please let my child be safe for at least today and tomorrow.’ As an artist who sings and dances, I also worried about the physical changes. Would I truly be able to sing and dance as before after giving birth?
And what about the future of this child? Will she be born healthy? May she steer clear of crime? Will we have enough money for her education? What will the world’s natural environment be like as this child grows up? Will this world truly endure? There are countless things to ponder and agonize over.
Then, there’s myself. I wonder if I’ll no longer be the ‘me’ I used to know once I become a ‘mother.’ To be a mother, must I embody the essence of ‘Mother’? But then, where would the ‘me’ go?
These maternity photos taken during the tenth month of my pregnancy aren’t just a ‘symbol of happiness’; they represent the reality of pregnancy for me.
I experienced anxiety and confusion, and through the life in my belly, I felt the continuity of existence that has persisted since time immemorial. The sensation that we are united. Then, I realized that I am still me, whether I am pregnant or a mother. I resolved not to erase the ‘me’ and paint over it with ‘mother,’ but rather to incorporate ‘mother’ into the ‘me.’