A golden opportunity for mums to mark childbirth

Ewan McGregor  as Renton in Trainspotting - the gender neutral toilets Zella has visited are almost as grubby

ZELLA COMPTON: Men – just aim it in the right direction and we’ll all be happy!

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Nobody told me before I gave birth that once I was holding my baby in my arms, I would also be left holding my stomach in a large pouch above my pants.

In fact, in the aftermath of childbirth, I could probably have laid it on a bar and stood a pint on it.

Thankfully those days are now long gone; the pouch remains of course, but it is a smaller pouch.

I had C-sections with both of my girls and so it even has its own scar. Other C-section mums will know exactly what I am referring to.

The shock of all these body changes are one thing while we are pregnant with the skin on our huge bellies being pulled taut by the life growing inside, but afterwards the majority of women want to hide their scars.

The layer of chicken skin that shrivels back to form your own personal pouch 
is lined with the silvery 
webs that your babies have made upon your physicality. And yet we want to hide 

Funny really, because surely some pride should be felt for the external reminders of how your body has created a life, almost unwittingly, like pearls in the womb.

Portsmouth artist Karah Mew has started a project for post-preggers tums – and sometimes preggers ones as well.

You may in the past have seen broken pottery on The Antiques Roadshow that has been conspicuously repaired using gold.

When, rather than trying to disguise the marks that life has left, they are highlighted and celebrated as a part of that journey.

This is the Japanese concept of Kintsugi, which means ‘golden joinery’, and Karah is applying it, quite literally, to the maps of pregnancy that remain on women’s tummies.

She is painting 79 bellies, because that is the atomic number for gold, and will complete the project by painting herself and her mother.

The women tell Karah their stories of pregnancy and birth and a photograph is taken of their tummy at the end.

The process is proving to be healing and therapeutic, and an empowering experience for those taking part.

Karah is fully booked until September.

But if you’re interested in booking then join her Facebook group page.

It can be found at Baby Belly Photography Project.

Verity Lush is a 36-year-old mum-of-two who lives in Portsmouth.

She is a tutor in philosophy, English and maths and has written a book for newly-qualified teachers, plus textbooks and articles for teaching magazines and supplements.
Follow her on Twitter @lushnessblog