The Quickening explores the transformation and lived experience of a woman in her motherhood/matrescence and postpartum depression/anxiety.
The work interrogates the under-represented transition of biological, psychological and social identity during a complex and yet ubiquitous phase of life. You begin your life in expansion. From rolling to crawling to walking, your reach moves outwards from infancy through to adulthood. At the cusp of motherhood, everything instantaneously moves in reverse. Your world begins to shrink, to coalesce into the tight sphere of domestic life. What was once the sun is now the light in your living room. What was once the road, becomes the hallway to the bathroom. Everyone you once knew, becomes the squalling baby in your arms, suddenly unknowable, inconsolable and opaque in their needs and wants. As the external landscape of your old world shifts from mountains to lakes, the change also begins within. In increments and then suddenly faster and faster, you become internally unrecognizable.
The task of navigating this new geography, the new days and nights, how you eat, how you sleep, how you love – this seismic transition – is called “matresence”. The beginning of matrescence begins as a kind of black magic curiosity – movement under the skin, growing and forming at will, the hurricane of birth, the electricity of the letdown.
The Quickening traverses the sudden landslide of one woman’s known world and the subsequent moving through rubble, trying to make sense of what is left, devastated and in love, and ends with a slow rebuild of the new territory of becoming a mother.
Heijdens Karwei, Amsterdam