A Description of Pregnant Women's Perceptions and Abstract Drawings of Being Pregnant

Issue: 
Publication Date: 
01/2006
Page Count: 
30
Starting Page: 
25
Price: $10.00
Abstract: 

This article explores the use of visual language as a means of examining and communicating the subjective experience of pregnancy. The participants, eleven women in their final trimester of pregnancy, were asked to complete five abstract drawings accompanied by verbal descriptions of their own perceptions and feelings. Using specialized concept cards developed by Rhyne (1979), participants were invited to consider four distinctive "mind states" or feeling states - sadness, anger, fear and joy. An additional card designed specifically for this study explored the broader physical and emotional experiences of 'being pregnant'. In order to understand the personal meanings of the responses and validate the researcher's interpretations, a personal interview was conducted with each participant. The majority of drawings for being pregnant were drawn with curvilinear lines and the images for the abstract drawings were graphlike lines, abstract lines and figure shapes. The drawings aided the participants in expressing feelings and gaining a new awareness of their pregnant bodies. While participants responded differently to the positive and negative aspects of being pregnant, and came with different life situations they all reported "joy" to be the essential underlying emotion that was most similar to being pregnant.

References: 

Ambrogne-OToole, C. (1988). Exploring female sexuality through expressive therapies. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 15, 109-117.

Bannister, D. & Fransella, F. (1971). Inquiring man: The theory of personal constructs. England: Penguin Books Ltd.

Chicago, J. ( 1985). The birth project. New York: Doubteday & Company, Inc.

England, P. & Horowitz (1998). Birthing from within. California: Partera Press.

Fawcett, J. (1977). The relationship between identification and patterns of change in spouses' body images during and after pregnancy. International Journal Nursing Studies, 14, 199-213.

Fawcett, J. (1978). Body image and the pregnant couple. Maternal Child Nursing, 3, 227-233.

Fawcett, J. & Frye, S. (1980). An exploratory study of body image dimensionality. Nursing Research, 29, 324-327.

Fawcett, J., Bliss-Holtz, V., Haas, M., Leventhal, M., & Rubin, M. (1986). Spouses' body image changes during and after pregnancy: A replication and extension. Nursing Research, 35(4), 220-223.

Hammer, E. & Buck, J. (1969). Advances in the house-tree-person technique: variations and applications. California: Western Psychological Services.

Hammer, E. (Ed.). (1958). TAc clinical application of projective drawings. U.S.A.: Charles C. Thomas.

Hammer, E. (1968). Use of interpretation in treatment. New York: Gruen & Stratum, Inc.

Hassid, P. (1978). Textbook for childbirth educators. Marylan: Harper & Row.

Jourard, S. & Secord, P. (1955). Body-cathexis and the ideal female figure. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 50(2), 243-246.

Kaslow, N. (1988). Body image therapy: A combined creative arts therapy and verbal psychotherapy approach. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 15, 177-187.

Kelly, G. (1955). Personal construct theory, vol 2. New York: Norton.

Kitzenger, S. (1967). The experience of childbirth. England: Penguin.

Kumar, R., Robson, K., & Smith, A. (1984). Development of self-administered questionnaire to measure maternal adjustment and maternal attitudes during pregnancy and after delivery. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 28(1), 43-51.

Kurtz, R. (1969). Sex differences and variations in body attitude. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33(5), 625-629.

McConnell, O. & Oaston, P. (1961). Body image changes in pregnancy. Journal of Projective Techniques, 25, 451-456.

Luttrell, W. (2003). Pregnant bodies, fertile minds: Gender, race, and the schooling of pregnant teens. New York: Routledge.

Poffenberger, A. & Barrows, B. (1924). The feeling value of lines. Journal of Applied Psychology, 8, 187-205.

Rhyne, J. (1984). The gestalt art experience. Chicago: Magnolia Street Publishers.

Rhyne, J. (1980). Personal dramas of transition. The fine art of therapy. Iowa: Proceedings of the eleventh annual conference of the American Art Therapy Association.

Rhyne, J. (1979). Drawings as personal constructs: A study in visual dynamics. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.. Santa Cruz, CA: University of California.

Rhyne, J. (1987). Gestalt art therapy approaches to art therapy-theory in J.A. Rubin (Ed.), Approaches to art therapy-theory and technique (pp. 114-133). New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Rhyne, J. (1989). Personal communication, January and May, 1989, Victoria, B.C.

Rosenberg, J., Rand, M., & Asay, D. (1985). Body, self and soul &sustaining integration. Georgia: Humanics Limited.

Rubin, R. (1984). Maternal identity and the maternal experience. New York: Springer.

Scheerer, M. & Lyons, J. (1957). Line drawings and matching responses to words. Journal of Personality, 25, 251-273.

Strang, V. & Sullivan, P. (1985). Body image attitudes during pregnancy and the postpartum. Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing, 14(14), 332-337.

Swan-Foster, N. (1989). Images of pregnant women: Art therapy as a tool for transformation. Arts m Therapy, 16(4), 283-292.

Travis, J. (1981). Wellness workbook. California: Traspeed Press.