To submit your birth story and be a participant in The Lullaby Project please email Aimee at aimeekgilmore@gmail.com

The Lullaby Project​, 2019

Project for Empty Space, Newark, NJ
2019 Feminist in Residence Program

After the birth of my first child Maya, I was struck by the universal mundaneness, the striking isolation, and yet the uniquely personal role of motherhood. The birth of my daughter on my physical and physiological self was more traumatic and transformative than I ever could have imagined. Yet, accepting my new identity as mother proved to be even more daunting. As I began to navigate this new terrain, one aspect of motherhood that was shocking to me was how little we share our stories of labor and delivery. Given the biological constructs that define how a baby develops within a woman’s body, it was shocking to learn and experience how differently a baby departs it and how little we share the stories of our labor and delivery. We seldom speak about our labor and delivery, and the life-changing transformational intensity of it.

During my time working at Project for Empty Space as a Feminist In Residence, I would like to to collect stories from other mothers, specifically looking to mothers who gave birth while incarcerated, and mothers who have experienced the loss of a baby. Our stories of labor and delivery are all so different, dictated by our access or denial to certain rights, privileges, and support, yet we all emerge from this time the same; as a Mother. I want to collect these stories and transform them into lullabies. Lullabies are uniquely calming yet originate from an underlying darkness, similar to the way the birth process is taught to us in such a sterile way. We almost never hear a woman’s story of what it was like to be forced to give birth while handcuffed to a bed or to experience the pain of childbirth only be left childless.

The word “lullaby” itself is said to have originated from the name Lilith, a demon who was believed to steal children’s souls in the night. In some societies, lullabies are used to pass down cultural knowledge or tradition and much like the daily routine of motherhood, the music is often simple, mundane and repetitive. I envision this collection of lullabies based on the true stories of different women’s labor and delivery existing as both a physical book with imagery and a performative component in which these lullabies are sung.

If you are willing to share your birth story with me for this project I would be extremely grateful. The amount of detail that you are willing to share is completely up to your own comfort level, I am thankful for any and all of your beautiful stories. I have included some questions below to help guide your story-telling process for those who need it. However, please feel free to ignore this format and tell your story in whatever way is most natural and comforting to you. Your voice is extremely important to your story so stay true to however feels most essentially you.

Project for Empty Space | 2 Gateway Center, Newark NJ 07102 | www.projectforemptyspace.org

Aimee Gilmore,The Lullaby Project, 2019 Project for Empty Space
2019 Feminist in Residence Program

1. How did your labor begin? Do you remember feeling the signs/symptoms of labor approaching? What details of that early labor period can you

remember? Did you eat/rest/walk, etc? Can you remember how you felt during this early labor period?

  1. Where did your birth take place? Did it happen in the place that you were planning for? What can you remember about the surroundings during your birth, sounds/smells/colors/people around you, etc?
  2. Can you describe the physical feelings of your labor/birth? What about the psychological feelings? Were you deep in thought or did your thoughts not even present?
  3. What surprised you the most about your birth experience?

About the PES Feminist in Residence Program

PES Feminist Incubator ​is a series of short-term residencies, happenings, conversations, performances, and public discourses focusing on the empowerment and freedom of women. The inaugural incubator (January – June, 2017) was a response prompted by mainstream attention to what has become a normalized climate of hyper-misogyny, rape culture, and dehumanization of women and women of color. PES Feminist Incubator Space is a means of cultivating productive and critical intersectional dialogue and is a response to violence against humanity. PES Feminist Incubator Space is now a part of our annual program, which will provide ongoing opportunities to female-identified artists.

Project for Empty Space | 2 Gateway Center, Newark NJ 07102 | www.projectforemptyspace.org