Looking for some ideas regarding a possible piece of work about childbirth I came across Renaissance artifacts called Birth Tray’s or Deschi De Parto. There are sources (http://www.courtneyoquist.com/category/blog/) looking at the idyllic representation of the postpartum scene obscuring the reality of birth at the time and the very real chance of dying in childbirth. In preparation for the arrival of the baby, many women prepared wills, can you imagine?
The death in childbirth of Francesca Pitti Tornabuoni from 1477 illustrated in this marble relief is unique. No other representations of death in childbirth exist from that period, even though one in five women died in childbirth (according to the website quoted above).
The fact that the widespread representation of childbirth had communicated a skewed picture of reality makes me think about idealised images representing motherhood today.
Then as now, there is a powerful social necessity and investment in the institution of motherhood. Society (or to use an old feminist term, the patriarchy) cannot afford to allow the complex picture, the one that acknowledges sacrifice, loss of freedom, undermined earning potential etc to be widely proliferated and shared.
Just a thought..