I am 37 weeks pregnant! That means our little boy might be joining us any day now and we’ll welcome him with all our love and cuddles and it’s gonna be CRAZY. On my drive home today (I seem to do a lot of art planning on the way home from work) I decided I needed to do kind of a “last drawing” of us before we’re parents.
I think it captures the sentiment I’ve held for most of this pregnancy (ugh mostly), and Ryan’s sheer “I can’t fix it but I know you’re miserable” support.
I was also working on a Micah painting but it slowed down a lot since I started it last weekend so I decided to just save and post the incomplete sketch/painting. His face was turning out a bit weird anyway. It’s really that extended hand that made me even work on it for as long as I had. Perfection.
The slice of yellow was gonna be a highlighter but I redid his whole shirt and hadn’t gotten back to it yet haha.
Last weekend at work I was so bored I grabbed some 8×14 paper and did some pen drawings that I’ve been meaning to scan since they turned out pretty cool. But I have to scan them in and, lazy.
I mean honestly Ryan and I were in our best friends’ wedding this last weekend and that made all last week pretty fucking busy.
I’m also being cut a $3900 check from my insurance company for hail damage to my car, so Ryan and I are gonna both upgrade our computers! It’s just a matter of whether we can make our choices and get the check soon enough to have them before our son comes, haha.
Blammo! I have just now completed a brand new Emotia drawing. It’s been a year and a half since my last piece in this series, and good god was there plenty to try to put into it since then.
I would like to present, “I am Growing But Please Let Me Be.”
This took an extraordinary amount of work to conceptualize. I actually had a fairly completed first draft of this concept that hung me up when I got to the shading pieces. Looking at the first draft now I definitely see how it hadn’t hit the mark yet, but honestly it left me fairly surprised that when I sat down to restart again, I actually completed it. All week I’d been trying to start a new draft and not getting much farther than an outline and maybe a background color. But I also couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I guess I knew I wouldn’t quit until I had finished this.
I’m not really sure why or how this ended up being the final pose. The previous drafts after the first attempt were much more aggressive than this one. But I looked through my other Emotia paintings a lot as I was working on this and none of the others are incredibly assertive or aggressive either, so ultimately I don’t think that would have worked. Plus, if this hadn’t been the final pose I don’t know if I would have liked how I tried to incorporate the books/papers.
Anyway, there were so many emotional layers to try to fit into a single image from 2019. It’s been intense. It’s been really difficult to process.
In many ways I don’t believe I’ll fully process my cyst and subsequent surgery, weight loss, and recovery until long after I’ve also given birth. The cyst still feels like an emotional gaping hole because I have a lot of resentment for the timing of how we found it. While on the one hand if we’d found it on its own, when I wasn’t pregnant, I know we would have felt convinced it meant we could never have kids, and that would have been devastating (and also incorrect). But as it happened, not only did it make the first trimester really really difficult (not that anyone loves the first trimester), it robbed me of the opportunity to essentially see what my healthy body was supposed to look like without the cyst. And I never will, because the next time my belly will be empty will be after I’ve given birth to a human.
And it also definitely feels like the cyst came out and my baby filled that hole without actually…patching it up so to speak? It was really interesting gaining those first 15lbs after the surgery because I still maintain that since my belly had previously been stretched around the cyst, I didn’t get a pregnancy belly so much as my baby belly filled up the cyst belly, same shape and everything. It wasn’t until after I passed the point that my cyst had brought me that my stomach looked and felt different to me. So it felt more appropriate to include the representation of my pregnancy still in a gaping hole in my body.
Finally, this year I’ve also just been calmly keeping my schoolwork in lockdown. What a better way to represent that than have it be squished under my thick ass? I actually put some screenshots of three papers that I wrote for my program on the fluttering papers haha. It was hard because I haven’t really had any significant textbooks necessarily for this program; it’s been mostly the paper-writing that has provided most of the learning. Grad school has definitely been a non-issue in many ways, but it always seems to come up and people always seem awestruck that I’ve been doing as much school as I have this year, with as slow as I’ve actually been going with the program.
Moving up, I’ve got my heart on my sleeve this time because pregnancy has destroyed any sort of social filters I used to possess. I’m cranky, you’ll know. Immediately. You offend me, you’ll now. Immediately. Fortunately, most of the time since maybe May, I’ve just been indifferent. But hell hath no fury like my opinionated ass if you start to rile me up.
This has not felt like “me” either. I’ve felt a bit of distress over the seeming lack of control I have over my tongue. I don’t consider that maybe I’ve gone too far till after the deed has been done. Fortunately I can still focus on smoothing things over with people after I wound them, without actually apologizing given that usually I lose my temper over shit I definitely still mean.
And…the eyes. So 2019 has been a very…public year for me. But not in a social, I’m involved with people kind of way. Pregnancy just is a very public affair. Your body becomes public property, essentially, with everyone soliciting their opinions, admiration, curiosity, etc. where they have previously not shown any interest in me. I think that’s the biggest difficulty I have with how closely people watch me these days. I know that many of the interactions I have had with people, especially at work, would not have happened if I weren’t pregnant. People who hardly consider me a fleck in their vision have to ask me “how are you feeling?” every time I see them. So really, the question is not even directed at me, but my pregnancy.
And the thing about pregnancy is most days, most hours, most experiences are just daily living, only it’s living that is happening while I also have a little boy in my belly rolling and jabbing and growing.
People are just really excited and curious about pregnant women and it generally ends up being inappropriate, invasive, and unnecessary in their execution. And circling back to me not being able to hold my tongue, if you are the 50th person in the span of a very long day where I work 8 hours and then go to 6 hours of class who loudly and enthusiastically asks “HOW ARE YOU FEELING!??!?!?”, then I will probably shut you down.
Maybe it’s because I’m someone who has had mental health problems for years and years but someone asking me how I’m feeling when they’re really just wanting to know, most likely, if I’ve got morning sickness right now (people honestly believe it’s normal or expected for a woman to throw up for an entire nine months of a pregnancy apparently), ends up feeling offensive, intrusive and disingenuous. If you didn’t ask the other two people who walked in before me how they’re feeling, don’t fucking ask me. Especially if you don’t actually care what I have to say (if I’m not comfortable with you as a person in my life, do you think I want to be honest when you ask me that anyway? Because the chances are, if I was great before you asked me that, the moment you ask me that my most honest answer would be “irritated” and you don’t want to know that, do you?).
Just because you’re really excited about babies and pregnant ladies doesn’t mean that the pregnant lady you’re projecting this onto has any obligation to share your enthusiasm. There’s less and less to be enthusiastic about when relaxin makes your neck crack every time you turn your head, or your thighs are constantly sore and achey because your pelvis is so aggressively shifting, or your baby moves so rapidly in your belly you get light-headed, or you read another article about the amount of blood you’re going to lose after you give birth and suddenly consider the possibility that you’ll just bleed out after delivery and die in a hospital bed.
At work at least, I’ve expressed my annoyance to the people I trust enough to lessen their pregnancy-related inquiries, and I’ve been rude or cold to enough other people so that my daily experience with people asking about my pregnancy has dropped to a more tolerable level. At school, I found, with few exceptions most 22-year-old girls and varying ages of men are disinterested if not terrified of “the pregnant girl in their class.” I could get away with nobody but me bringing up my pregnancy in a whole class, even after I was very obviously pregnant in my two summer classes. But when I did unironically have to pee two or three times during a lecture, everybody was quick to justify it for me, so I’ll enjoy the free pass to have an overactive bladder while it lasts (although the overactive bladder before pregnancy was most definitely a cyst symptom. It’s going to be crazy when I can potentially go 6-8 hours without NEEDING to pee in a few months.)
So…yeah, that’s the eyes. In my first draft I expressed the constant public interest in my body as a spotlight, but that didn’t feel right. It wasn’t really a source of light for me in any way. Usually it causes latent anxiety if not my normal irritability. And since I knew I wanted my belly to glow (although in the first draft I just did this weird like “here’s my heart, it slid down from my chest into my belly” which I didn’t end up liking), I didn’t want there to be a competing light source. I was going to try eyes on stalks for a while, or just like a grid pattern, but then last night as I was trying to decide how to display them I was like “wait why don’t I just do scribbly inky black drawings of eyes” and aha! Ryan helped me make them a bit more interactive with my hand and then I gave them some pigment and that was done.
Speaking of Ryan, while I originally wanted to incorporate the floofy white skirt that was in my last two paintings, I opted out of that and just highlighted my wedding ring. Which I haven’t even been able to wear for three weeks because it got too snug and I was paranoid it would get stuck. But I still thought it was important to note that my marriage has been a source of constant stability and refuge for me. Ryan has been an amazing and steady source of emotional and physical support for me. We’ll never forget those first few days after my surgery when I couldn’t get up from the toilet without his help. I’ll never forget how he cried when we saw our baby at 12 weeks before our surgery. I’ll never forget the sheer joy, camaraderie, relief, and pride of choosing a name for our son. And I also can’t take it for granted that he has been patiently supporting me while I’m in school even if it’s meant leaving him 2-3 nights a week alone to fend for himself. We keep in constant contact and if we argue it’s straightforward, quick, and honest. I really would be completely alone without him.
Finally, my other Emotia paintings except for “Rise Again, Fighting” don’t really feature “me” even though they’re embodiments of “me.” This time around, this feeling I was trying to depict was so intimate, and so closely related to my own bodily experience, I didn’t even bother pretending like it was happening to someone else. On the contrary, it’s very much me, and my body, that has been affected by these experiences.
The rest of the drawing feels a bit simpler than I expected but again, looking back at the other Emotia drawings, they haven’t necessarily been conceptually more complicated than this. If anything this one is a lot more focused and personal than especially some of the earlier ones were.
Another interesting contrast to the other ones is that at least in the last two I worked hard to include some of the recurring elements of earlier drawings. But any attempt to do so this time around would have been forced and unnatural. I think that makes a good point, though, about how different from my past self I have felt this year. I actually wrote a paper for my careers class, unexpectedly, that made me realize not only that I am in a very different place in my life than ever before, that that is in fact not a bad thing. Of course I am. I am having a child. That will change everything. I am fundamentally as I have always been, but in many ways my beliefs, feelings, and plans have shifted to revolve around the new and slightly strange concept of “my family” …where now, for the first time, by that I mean, my husband and my child.
And with that, here’s all the earlier ones! Most recent to the oldest.
On my husband’s birthday my Timehop was like 4 years in a row of fanart of the two of us and then when I was on my laptop working on his toast card, I fell down the rabbit hole of our whole folder of fanart and found this gem.
You can always tell how far along we were in our relationship based in part on how many tattoos we had, and definitely on the tone of the drawing. Am I still trying to impress him with being all cutesy but also, fancy pro art? We were probably actually really struggling at the time so I’m going to write encouraging things on art for us in hopes we will somehow be led to believe it? Yes, this one was probably the latter, haha. And without really knowing to what extent I would get into it, I decided this particular one needed a reprise.
I think I ended up spending two or three days on this one? I really really love it, except in the earlier draft I was snoozing with a little o mouth and that was why my eyes were closed. Now I look much more peaceful than I am, but we can pretend it’s general exhaustion, which is usually accurate.
I think my favorite part is the tiny kitty prints in my belly. And also Ryan’s silky smooth looking skin.
In other news, today marks 100 days until the due date for our little dude! Whether he comes that day, or hopefully before, or hopefully not after, 100 days until the day we were told about months ago when we really weren’t sure what to expect on this pregnancy journey (we’re still not).
After my semester ended and my daily digital drawings project came to a close, I felt a little void and wanted some new motivation to keep doing art regularly. So Ryan suggested another 100 days project like before our wedding, only this one would be up until our baby (should be) born. Since it’s following a fairly specific and limited project from the semester, I decided my only rule for this project is that I do a drawing more or less daily. Whether it’s an ongoing painting, a doodle in the margins of my school notes, or an unrelated cat comic like today, I’m marking the days until this baby is due by just being creative. I think I want to write the baby a note each day, but I don’t know if I’ve figured out how to document that quite yet. I’ll write today’s note, and then figure out how to tack it to the drawing when I have a full day off tomorrow.
That’s all I got! The cat comic I did today is posted on my art Insta account!
You know it’s really hard going into it to wrap your head around what you can expect throughout the whole course of being pregnant. 40 weeks is a long time. You grow a baby over the course of most of a year. And since I got pregnant right before the new year, it really is the cornerstone of the whole year of 2019 for me.
There’s a lot of moments to enjoy, and it’s great having so many people surrounding me to support me and listen and take care of me (usually anyway). My husband has been amazing x infinity hands down, patiently yelling at me when I complain about my daily changing body, planning activities for us after our son is born, and not giving me too much shit when I want to eat disgusting amounts of food (this week’s legacy was a double cheeseburger with a large shake – from a SECOND fast food restaurant).
But there are also lots of moments, more so right now that I’m looking pregnant, I’m feeling my son move everyday, and the summer is quickly flying by to where my son is coming in just about 3 months…where I’m just pretty scared.
Things should be feeling MORE real by now, and they probably honestly are…which is what makes them so scary. With the internet, and just…people giving you unsolicited opinions literally at all times in all situations, there are just a lot of big scary things that can happen to a baby. They probably WON’T, but when all you’re doing is waiting and waiting, it’s hard not to imagine many worst case scenarios sprinkled into the good daydreaming.
Obviously you can’t spend nine months in a state of perpetual excitement and optimism. Obviously there are days when I feel sorry for myself for gaining weight, or being sore, or having an anterior placenta. Unfortunately, those have been most days for me at the moment. I can’t help it. I’m naturally anxious when I’m waiting for things, and when people ask me how I am I feel guilty that I’m basically perfectly normal right now honestly. We got a lot of preparation for baby out of the way a month or more ago, and a lot of it is going to wait a month or so until the baby showers start happening.
The good news, and always, always, always the bottom line is that the only person I’m really in this together with is my husband. Always just him. Nothing else, or anybody else really matters, ultimately.
And luckily for me, my husband is AWESOME. He patiently yells at me when my self-esteem gets low (it’s almost always low right now), he doesn’t judge me when I get whiny, and he is so totally up for being a dad. What it comes down to is just putting one foot in front of the other, doing life together on the days when everything feels normal, and fighting through the days that feel terrible and scary because all I can do is wait and I’m hormonal and scared and frustrated.
I can only hope our little boy grows up with my husband’s calm in his head, and his deeply loving nature.
This was my weekend project for my daily art. The image literally dropped itself into my head on my drive home from work on Friday listening to the radio when that Khaled x Halsey song was playing for some weird reason. I hung onto it long enough to get home and start sketching it and the whole thing kind of completed itself from there.
I am getting SUPER comfortable, apparently, painting without lines – thanks mostly to all the daily drawings I’ve been doing since February! It’s pretty great, and I’m really happy with how they turned out. Literally my main question was “wtf couple do I used?” and nobody really spoke to me so I had to kind of go with more my aesthetic right now, which was Noelia and Micah for some reason.
I’m finding at least in the preview size of this that a lot of the glorious details of this are lost – not a common problem for me; I found myself working at 60-100% a lot of the time especially toward the end when I was just adding details like jewelry and of course all the raindrops.
Even after spending quite a few drawings experimenting with other brushes I find the best brush for painting is still just dropping the opacity on a pen brush. I don’t end up liking the fuzzy cloudiness of pencils I also can’t make as dark as I want them to be. I just kept shifting between 20-70% opacity and a lot of color droppering and it did everything I needed it to.
Even when you compare it to like this first “painting” I did back in February you can tell a lot of that hesitance and awkwardness about doing shading that’s stronger than lines has gone away.
In fact, I had originally added some light lines over their faces to add some structure but ended up working them back into the painting as I moved on. Pretty crazy. Very grateful to really really feel some muscle development from all the days I’ve been working with my tablet.
And even if I don’t feel like that, at least I don’t make stuff like this anymore! 😀
That is all. I was going to dump some of the other good dailies I’ve done in the last month but I feel like I’ll save that for another post soon.
Okay so I must have officially crossed the threshold in the last few days – or else somehow wearing looser clothing has inspired MORE focus on my bump than two weeks ago when I was rocking my new ruched shirts – but I don’t know, EVERYONE has been all about my bump and it’s…really hard.
I’ve spent many, many, many years being self conscious about my belly. I have pictures of me on the cusp of puberty where my tummy already stuck out past my (very barely there) boobs and I remember how I slowly started to hate that.
Looking back on what I expected my pregnancy to be like before my cyst, it was simpler – I was excited to just finally say “yes I’m pregnant” when asked about my large belly. And not necessarily notice a significant physical change. So when the cyst was gone, and I got the chance to experience a more natural bump progression (don’t get me wrong, I in no way suddenly became flat-stomached), I guess I was just…not prepared for people to want to notice my stomach.
And comment on it.
And touch it.
This week, looking probably more pregnant than I’ve wrapped my head around, I’ve caught myself being SUPER self-conscious about my stomach and trying to hide it like I used to.
It’s something I want to try really hard to work on because it does make me sad – I finally have a baby bump and I’m anxious about it most of the time when I’m in public.
Obviously since I’m doing this daily drawing project…you know, daily, most of the time it’s been all I’ve done that day. And while I probably didn’t fully take advantage of my time at home as much in terms of art (I was, admittedly, a bit busy with finally celebrating my pregnancy *very late*, and midterms, and you know, healing), I got a few good, full illustrations or else some funny comics or good process images.
On my last weekday off a few days ago before I started work again yesterday I randomly wanted to draw a cute girl in sakura blossoms. Shani/Lucy is always my go to cute girl and it always makes it easier for me to invest in a drawing if it’s someone I “know.’
It’s been a slow week and a half of recovery since my laparoscopy – mostly my energy level and concentration seem to be the last to recover. My incisions look tiny and great and Baby is sounding as strong as ever (it’s a few weeks before I get to see them again, but I consider myself lucky to have gotten to see them at 12 and 13 weeks, even though it was because of the surgery).
Tonight I get to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl, so expect a follow up post about that! It’s gonna be a weird balance for…I mean the rest of my life to keep some of my energy on OCs and art projects and Emotia drawings and also knowing that I will become increasingly obsessed with my child as time goes by.
Anyway, probably over a full week ago now, this familiar drawing showed up on my Timehop…FROM A DECADE AGO.
God, you mean I’ve been drawing these three idiots on a computer for AT LEAST 10 years? What is my life? (It’s great. My life is great.)
I always loved that image though; it was kind of the launch into my digital art not being creepy and terrifying as it was when it started.
And I’m a sucker for a good kick of nostalgia, so I decided it was time to redraw it.
But, that’s kind of where my mention of my concentration and energy levels came in. For the first 5 days or so after surgery, I couldn’t sit at my desk that long before my back and/or stomach ached. And even when I was in bed, I seemed to be drifting in and out of a bit of a fever dream state. Really, the whole first week after surgery feels very vague and dreamlike.
But I plugged away at it, kind of cheating and using my progress on it for three or four of my daily digital art works. The line art and paint splatters came pretty quickly but as per usual I dragged my feet on coloring and subsequently shading. I’ve still been trying to refine my airbrush shading but it felt kinda gross on this one (granted, looking above there are about 4 spots on the original with some cell shading and it’s otherwise flat), so I had to add some vector shading today to finish it off.
I at once like the paint mess more and less. I like this one because you can kind of see the narrative for how the paint fight started. But since I went that route there’s a lot less random splats and stuff.
Of course the all look older now too, and only Andrew has his gross baby ponytail anymore (I’m going to blame his hippie age). Danny’s black rose tattoo still looks stupid, but maybe a bit less so.
Do you like my lame attempt to pretend to do a background? Hey, I think it adds dimension.
Hooray! My surgery is over – it’s been 6 days already! – and baby is sounding as sturdy as ever in me. I’m 14 weeks and 1 day today! We bought our first onesie over the weekend (my blessed mom gave me a boxful of baby things at 5 weeks when we told them. I’m looking forward to investigating that again now that I’m not dreading the wait to a “safe” time).
And Saturday afternoon, we finally became social media official!
I would say sadly the image itself went a little under-appreciated. I could have posted a onesie with a cat in the picture and people would have given it the same attention. But it’s fine, I think it turned out super cute. And I actually totally redid it; I had a draft done for weeks and then restarted on Thursday. Understandably this turned out wwaaaayyyy better. I’m getting some airbrush shading practice in after avoiding it for most of the beginning of my digital art days. Between this, and buying some stuff, I’m finally starting to believe this is all real!
And the last, but certainly not least dramatic thing…my cyst is out. I lost 10lbs. I look pretty different (except when baby starts to get me all bloated). The more I’ve thought about, the more I realize I’m not “shocked” per se because, like, there was a part of my brain I think this whole time that knew something was wrong with my stomach, and knew this is what I was always supposed to look like. When I pined after a body type, it wasn’t stick thin or big boobs it was just…me, minus the cyst. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think I have fully conceptualized what I look like. I’ve gotten no photos and I can’t wear anything tight yet because it hurts my incisions. And tomorrow I have to take the steri strips off it; that’s like phase 3 (the last phase) of healing and I’m sure it’ll result in a new type of discomfort for a day or a few.
As expected, the most difficult part to figure out about, honestly, a lot of it is the combination of baby vs. cyst. I just hit the 2nd trimester and any time now baby’s gonna be popping out of my pelvis. So, what’s left of my belly, is it baby? Is it flab? Is it, as my husband insists, leftover skin from the sudden absence of a 10lb, foot-long cyst? I’m not gonna know for pretty much a year. I’m glad the cyst is gone, but it’s bittersweet that I don’t know how to enjoy how I look now or how long I’ll even look this way.