The creative prompt comes from a post at Faces of Loss. The project is to create a body map of yoursef portraying the relationship with the body during a period of grief. Interesting, thought-provoking, challenging. I’ve been working on my body map for about two days now. I’ve never had the best relationship with my body, and that only got worse after Lauren died. This exercise revealed a lot to me about myself and my grief.

I’m a scrapbooker, so I took the materials that I’m used to working with and made my body map with them. No way would I have the confidence to simply draw myself the way I want to express myself. So, I chose a way that would help me keep my confidence and not worry about what I was doing creatively.

So, here it is.

There are three parts to the prompt, and the first is “how you felt at the moment of trauma.”

I’ve spoken before of how I felt I had shattered into pieces when we learned of Lauren’s death. That’s reflected here in the head part of my body map, along with all the questions that crowded my brain during those five days in the hospital. My heart, likewise is broken into pieces. Removed from me entirely is my womb, which felt so heavy and unmanagable before I delivered. Overall, I tried to capture the confusion and heartbreak that filled me so completely during that week.

The second part, the “how you feel in an unsafe environment” part, was the hardest for me. Unlike a lot of women, I have had some great support and nobody has made me feel terrible about my loss. I’m the one who does that. A lot what is represented in this image came from my own dark thoughts and feelings. There are still some days when I take myself to this place and relive all the guilt, grief, fear, and anger that I felt at Lauren’s birth.

Here, my head is still in pieces, though more ragged in appearance and filled with all those dark emotions that take me over every once in a while. My heart is scratched out, a void of disappointment and grief. My womb is empty and faulty, and all I can feel is the lack of her.

The last part asks you to portray “how you feel in a safe environment.” I like this one. It’s nice to see that I can come out of the dark sometimes and empower myself. I don’t have to give in to all the darkness that threatens to consume me.

This time, I’m put together as I should be – no ragged, jagged pieces floating about. Within my head are written the sentences: “I am a mother. I have a daughter.” These surround more positive qualities that have kept me going, the desire to remember Lauren and share her, the need to forgive myself for her death and trust my body again, and the opportunity I have had to learn more about myself and what happened to me. My heart is now embracing Lauren and her memory (represented by a four-leaf clover, which I have always considered her totem). And best of all, my womb has become a symbol of hope for the future, ready to care for and nurture the rainbow baby we want to have.

As difficult as this project was for me, I’m glad I did it. I also encourage anyone who is feeling grief, despair, or other trauma to consider doing this. I don7t think this is something that could only be limited to baby loss. It’s a safe, creative way to work through your trauma and explore what makes you feel unsafe. It helped me, and I hope it can help someone else.