Motherhood… Too many things happening at the same time and too many concepts hard to grasp. Beyond the cute lullabies and soft teddy bears, there are endless sleepless nights and wiping poo off your favorite outfits. There are chaotic tantrums and meltdowns. It’s bitter sweet and too complicated to explain. Overwhelming is an understatement. But when some emotions become too hard to explain, art comes in to help us visualize what one may fail to verbalize.
Give an artist pain and a brush then wait for a masterpiece. As Alfred De Musset, the french writter said, ‘Nothing makes us as great as a great sadness’. Having to deal with Mother’s Day, after she lost her own mother, Mariam El Quessny, needed an outlet to console her grief and to make sense of this whole motherhood thing. She needed to connect with other moms to show her how diverse motherhood could be. The result was a wonderful series of watercolor and ink illustrations exploring the many different ways motherhood is experienced. The illustrations were based on photographs submitted by various women in response to a widely shared invitation. In addition to the joys and wonderment that are often associated with motherhood, the series also captured instances where motherhood is experienced as loneliness and loss.
In the invitation Mariam wrote: ‘ I’m asking for the real stuff of motherhood. The sweetness and the grind. The madness, the diapers, the joy, the tears, the bedtime drama, tantrums, grandmas, nieces, daughters, sons, dad moms, mom moms, horse moms, cat moms, half-eaten apples, broken toys, mummified food from car-seat crevices, funerals, hospitals, pregnancy, labor, miscarriages, stretch marks, scars, chocolate, bathroom invasions, potty talk, booger-sharing and the laundry.’
Here are some outstanding drawings of touching moments from the “Motherhood Illustrated Project” along with the description written by the mothers in the drawings:
This last illustration is mine and I feel really happy to have been a little part of this great project.