This blog post is part of our "Love What You Do" series where we shine a light on the extraordinary things that YOU do in the parenting community. In this series, we interview the people behind exciting projects or beneficial services that help families in the early phases of parenting. We hope by highlighting these people and their projects, you'll be able to expand your circle of support and learn important things as you and baby grow.
In this "Love What You Do" blog, we chatted with Julia Hutt; Canadian illustrator and recent mother. Since having a child, Julia's artwork has taken on the experiences of pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding filtered through a unique, diverse lens. Julia has been endlessly inspired by motherhood from trying to depict small details of everyday life with a baby, to communicating the overwhelming feelings of joy, fatigue, guilt, and sadness that accompany motherhood. Read on to learn more about Julia and to see some of her work.
BABY TULA: What motivated you to start creating your illustrations around motherhood? What has been the response to them?
JULIA HUTT: A big part of why I started drawing moments in motherhood was to work through some of my "new mom" feelings. My first drawing that got a lot of attention showed a mom dangle feeding her baby to clear a blocked duct.
I was having issues with blockages at the time and had just gone through a bout of mastitis. I was shocked by how difficult this was, but creating a conversation about it, through my drawing, was therapeutic and encouraging. And just hearing from other moms who had dealt with the same thing helped.
I love drawing portraits of pregnant mothers in their glory or blissful breastfeeding scenes but I also try to do a lot of illustrations that tackle the difficult aspects of becoming a mother. Loneliness, disassociation, depression, and fatigue can be hard to show in a single drawing, but I like the challenge because when I get it right, people respond with how much they relate to it or how they needed that today. That makes me want to keep drawing.
BT: The images of motherhood you portray are different than what is commonly shown? Can you share why you choose to portray motherhood so differently?
JH: We consume a lot of content that shows motherhood at its best. There's the manicured photos on mom blogs and even just on all our friends' pages because we want to show happy parents and kids. But that adds to pressures that we all feel to be 'better' moms. I'm finding that showing the hard parts helps people feel like they can say, 'yea, it's been hard for me'. They can see that another mom is feeling it too and not judging.
I also hope that my art reaches people that aren't parents because it may help to give them a balanced idea of what parenthood can be.
BT: Do you have any tips for a new parent or mother struggling with the initial challenges of a new baby?
JH: I think it's important to connect with other moms whether it's through a mom group, friend group, or even an online community. You don't have to take everyone's advice, but seeking out people that have been through it, and that you trust, will help to offer you some support and answer your questions. Ask for support when you feel like you're getting overwhelmed. This can be so hard but it's needed. Babies can bring a lot of joy, but they require immense amounts of energy and moms need to get rest and support, otherwise, the negative feelings can become too much.
BT: How can people stay up to date with you and your artwork?
JH: They can follow me on my Instagram: @joolsannie. It is where I post my artwork. You can also see items in my shop link: https://joolsannie.bigcartel.com/
All artwork included in this blog was created by Julia Hutt. A HUGE thank you to Julia for chatting with us! And stay tuned for more features from our "Love What You Do" series.