If anybody had told me a few years ago that I would be painting pregnant women’s bellies, I never would have believed them. Not because it seemed strange, but because even though I was doing body painting, whenever I suggested to pregnant women to paint their belly they would always say no. Luckily for me, a friend eventually contacted me to design something pretty for her and brighten up her baby bump and word of mouth did the rest. That’s how belly painting has become part of my daily routine since 2013, and I’m thrilled to be able to share this experience with mothers-to-be.
Belly painting involves painting the baby bump of expectant mothers with a design that she and her partner like, and requires using special paint products that are suitable for applying on the body and that have been tested. I currently always use water-based paint, as it is safe, it doesn’t dry out or irritate the skin and lets it breathe, and the wearer can enjoy it for several hours without any problems. It’s completely harmless to both mother and baby.
When a future mother contacts me, one of the first things we discuss is what kind of design she’d like on her bump. It makes absolutely no difference to me what they choose – I’m open to any proposal or design the family thinks will look good. Some of them want animals; others want something that tells a story or a design that looks like an ultrasound. Behind each design there’s always something personal to convey that’s especially meaningful to the mother. That’s what body painting is about – taking it a step further. It’s not just painting a pretty picture on a baby bump, but a complete experience. During the session, the rhythm of the brushstrokes on the skin has a calming effect, and it’s a great chance for some down time that’s enjoyable as well, as the mother also transmits all her sensations to the baby in a wonderful bonding experience. It’s not uncommon for the baby to kick while I’m painting (that always draws a lot of attention), and sometimes it seems like they’re having fun playing hide and seek, as for them it’s stimulating as well.
When I’m finished painting the design I always make a photo album with all kinds of pictures that the family want. Sometimes I shoot inside, and others we look for nice exterior locations. Since it’s only temporary art, at least they should keep a nice souvenir to remember it. Sometimes I make house calls for the sessions, but a lot of women come to my studio because where I live, on the Costa Brava, there are a lot of beautiful places to take pictures. I’d like to point out that body painting sessions for pregnant women is becoming the most popular gift from family and friends, as besides being original, it’s always personalised.
In addition to the traditional belly painting sessions, now I’m also doing sessions using fluorescent paint. It’s just like regular paint, but the photo sessions require black light and the design shows up bright and colourful under black light. It’s a whole new concept for the boldest mothers-to-be, because I usually do it on a larger scale, from the waist up. It’s quite spectacular.
I’ve got some new ideas I can’t wait to show my customers. I’m sure they’re going to love them but for the moment this is all I can say about it.
I’d like to thank all the mothers-to-be who have sat under my brushes and shared with me their concerns about their pregnancy, their expectations as future mothers, their questions about motherhood, their stories and above all, for knowing that they later had a beautiful baby that is going to change their lives. I’m very happy to be able to share a part of their pregnancy with them.