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.
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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.