My Son 22.10.11

Abstract

My Son 22.10.11 was made immediately following a miscarriage 8 weeks into pregnancy. After bleeding lightly for a couple of hours, I went to the toilet and a large bloody mass fell from within me. I knew that I could not flush this away, and that to retrieve the mass was my only chance to connect with the unborn foetus. I fished the contents from the bottom of the toilet bowl using my hands and carried them into my small studio. I found some paper and began to dissect the mass. At the centre, I found the tiny, cold, hard foetus. I kissed it and then began to use it as a kind of painting tool, drawing the outline of the lost child using its very own flesh and blood. I knew that to create a lasting and tangible portrait of 'my son' was the best way to understand the somewhat unreal and fleeting experience of miscarriage. I thought of Frida Kahlo while making the work, thinking 'thank God' that I had a reference to miscarriage before it happened to me. I also thought of my childhood days spent on our family pig farm, and of all the dead pig foetuses that I had seen at various stages of development. Before the miscarriage, I thought little about the subject; afterwards, I recognise the profundity of the creation of a life that is never born. The experience is so common, yet so very rarely discussed or depicted.

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Baillie, R., (2013) “My Son 22.10.11”, Studies in the Maternal 5(1), p.1. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/sim.123

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My Son 22.10.11 was made immediately following a miscarriage 8 weeks into pregnancy. After bleeding lightly for a couple of hours, I went to the toilet and a large bloody mass fell from within me. I knew that I could not flush this away, and that to retrieve the mass was my only chance to connect with the unborn foetus. I fished the contents from the bottom of the toilet bowl using my hands and carried them into my small studio. I found some paper and began to dissect the mass. At the centre, I found the tiny, cold, hard foetus. I kissed it and then began to use it as a kind of painting tool, drawing the outline of the lost child using its very own flesh and blood. I knew that to create a lasting and tangible portrait of 'my son' was the best way to understand the somewhat unreal and fleeting experience of miscarriage. I thought of Frida Kahlo while making the work, thinking 'thank God' that I had a reference to miscarriage before it happened to me. I also thought of my childhood days spent on our family pig farm, and of all the dead pig foetuses that I had seen at various stages of development. Before the miscarriage, I thought little about the subject; afterwards, I recognise the profundity of the creation of a life that is never born. The experience is so common, yet so very rarely discussed or depicted.

My Son 22.10.11, dead foetus and blood on paper, 46 x 28 cm

Rebecca Baillie My Son 22.10.11 2011 dead foetus and blood on paper 46 x 28 cm

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Rebecca Baillie

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