When it comes to the topic of pregnancy, idealized ideas often come up: for example, a woman who is absorbed in herself and caresses her stomach, deeply content. They are images in which the nine months before the birth resemble non-stop euphoria.
First of all, it is about processing the news about the life-changing event, also from the immediate environment. The reactions are quite different: while one friend sees the expected offspring as competition, while another now sees the connection to the larger waist circumference, the kung fu master transfers the event to a meta level: “That’s good. Very good. You will lose your ego,” he sums up. Another makes reference to a Rosamunde Pilcher novel.
What begins with a somewhat abstract message becomes more and more real as the pregnancy progresses. Hair loss, skin problems, stretch marks and veined water legs all play their part.
Many of the pictures in which Huber deals with the changes in her body and the impact of hormones are hilarious. As the waist size increases, she pees like a dog – in the graphic juxtaposition, the animal also seems to enjoy the sight of her. Or she gives a special example of her often nocturnal binge eating: When sleep comes faster than expected and the eaten sandwich sticks to the eye all night.
That also makes her boyfriend think: “He only got worried when I woke up with cheese sandwiches on my face,” it says next to it. Another time she falls asleep from sheer fatigue in the middle of a horror film.
The fact that pregnancy is not just a quiet time of anticipation is also reflected in the pictures. Because graphically it is maximum turbulent. Huber has his very own style of conveying her experiences visually. In bright colors and many collage-like elements, she draws the reduced and bizarrely distorted figures. With their powerful presence, they take over whole pages. It is astonishing how she manages to convey her emotional states with a few strong strokes, often deliberately kept coarse and scrawled.
In this way, the illustrator finds a special way of expressing her fears and bizarre dreams. Worries about the great responsibility, the loss of her old life and her independence become part of her world of thoughts.
This is grotesquely visualized in a powerful metaphor: the protagonist lies motionless on the floor, severed from her limbs. While baby and friend, each happily and proudly holding up one of their legs, take her in and make it impossible for her to live her own life. At night she dreams of giving birth to a foal.
Some pictures are touching, like one in which she addresses the approaching end of pregnancy. She bends her head down in front of her spherical belly so that she appears to be looking directly at her unborn child, who has already turned over in the womb. “It was so nice for two in me,” writes Huber. The birth as the finale then leads to an impressive explosion of faces, wild grimaces, colors and shapes.
With her illustrations, Huber makes for a few laughs, but her pictures also make you think and make it clear that becoming a mother not only triggers positive feelings in you. The fact that this can also be said, critical, doubtful tones as well as the joy about it are allowed, shows how perception in society is changing. Dorothea Huber is doing her part.