Pregnancy and Art


Barbara Hepworth was no mathematician. I say this because I always felt she represented the pregnant form until I sat and thought about it.

Women do not have a hole going through them. If we did, the baby would fall out. We would feel like big doughnuts (all the time) and people would look straight through us (depending on our height).

The mathematical name for a doughnut with a hole in it is a Torus. This is a great word and a great shape, and one I find peculiarly attractive. Perhaps Hepworth did too. She made it a lot more feminine. Her fantastic sculptures are meaningful to me as a woman. I always thought they directly represented the pregnant form.

I do not know the name for the mathematical shape I actually resemble, which would be the equvalent of a hollow sphere. Perhaps ‘hollow sphere’ is technically correct. A hollow sphere with offspring is clearly not hollow, and when the day of birth arrives I will no longer be a sphere but a vessel. All very weird.

What I mean to say is, there is matter inside me which is not me, which is making me more philosophical and hormonal than I can work out. My brain is no longer functioning as normal, which is probably why Barbara Hepworth did not need to represent the heads.

On to my toes, in that case, which are more humourous than usual. Yesterday, with feet swelling into my summer sandals, I went in to town. When I got home I discovered my little toes had gone red. On the right little toe were two perfectly circular white blisters in a diagonal, much like the ‘two’ on a dice. While giggling at this discovery I looked at my left little toe, and discovered a single round blister, much like a ‘one’ on a dice. They reminded me of Monopoly, but when I realised that they could only take me as far as Whitechapel Road (£60) I was less impressed.

Monopoly also has a toroid element, but it is all about going around in circles. The same way each time. Being a woman is to be the circle.

I had thought recently that the Lord of the Rings might also be a symbolic artistic representation of pregnancy in a male-dominated world. The protagonist has a period of time to carry a precious burden to a place of pain and new beginnings. All along the way there are dangers and the burden gets heavier and heavier. The hero gets more and more irrational and relies on all sorts of new acquaintances to get through the journey. Even the closest travelling companion doesn’t always know how to help.

And what shape is this burden, this gift, this treasure?

A torus.


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