The arrival of a new little person into the world can be a complicated affair. Sure, there's plenty of joy, but there can also be a bit of trepidation. And for mothers giving birth, the transition from gestation to delivery, and then motherhood can pack a physical and mental wallop. Plus, the absence of physical spaces and in-person support groups due to social distancing guidelines has also made the postpartum experience even more difficult.
Graphic artist Reyna Noriega, in partnership with the washable and reusable diaper brand Esembly, created a beautifully illustrated zine with advice, essays, and interviews called Arrival. All proceeds from the sales of go to supporting Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization devoted to improving access to quality, respectful, and equitable healthcare to decrease preventable maternal mortality. Others contributing work to the zine include Celine Semaan, Eden Grinshpan, Djali Alessandra Brown-Cepeda, Dr. Harvey Karp, and Domino Kirke-Badgley.
Arrival is available now for $5, as well as special-edition diapers and accessories. We talked to Liz Turrigiano, co-founder and CEO of Esembly, and artist Reyna Noriega about the zine.
How did the project come about?
Liz Turrigiano: I was first introduced to Reyna’s work in January of 2020 and knew that I wanted to collaborate with her in some capacity. Screenshots of her art lived on my desktop for six months before we finally figured out the best way to showcase her talent. We knew intuitively that her designs would look gorgeous on fabric for our product prints—diapers and storage bags— and that her strong and vibrant aesthetic would bring our Zine, Arrival, to life. It was important to myself and my team to create a resource for moms that was encouraging as they navigated the balance of identity as a new parent, one that was visually compelling rather than a 101 pamphlet. We really wanted to excite our community, and we knew Reyna’s work aligned with that mission. She was our number one pick for this collaboration—so we reached out, and the rest is history.
Reyna Noriega: I was approached by ladies at the No. 29 agency about a possible print pattern collaboration and was super excited about it. At the time, I felt I hadn't used my talents enough in that way— I really enjoy seeing my work as wearable art. We then discussed a zine to accompany the print designs and, although I am not a mother, I have seen close up all the complexities of postpartum life and knew how impactful that could be.
Why was creating a zine for new mothers about postpartum important to you?
LT: Becoming a parent is a journey that is both beautiful and chaotic. Some people transform into their new roles with ease, while others struggle to find their way. My first pregnancy left me feeling lost. So many voices were in my ear talking about how I would change and my priorities would shift. I became afraid of losing myself in motherhood, and that anxiety carried into the postpartum period. It really depleted me. I would have benefited tremendously from a zine-like Arrival that helps women navigate this wild time while remaining true to themselves and their values.
What goals did you want to accomplish with the Postpartum?
LT: Our ultimate goal at Esembly is to bridge the gap between parenting and environmental responsibility through something all parents have to deal with: diapering. With Arrival, we wanted to extend that conversation and bring in figures we admired in both the birth and postpartum space with authentic narratives and insight.
Our goal is to engage more parents when it comes to discussions around identity, values, and sustainability—and how with the right tools and support, none of those things need to be compromised when you become a parent.
Also, 100% of Arrival’s sales go to Every Mother Counts, so we really want to get this zine in front of as many eyes as possible to raise money for an incredible international organization.
Were there any unique challenges or significant hurdles, creatively or otherwise?
RN: Translating my work into a print pattern that was abstract but still reflected my style was a bit challenging. I had to make decisions on what aspects to keep, and which took away from making the design something that would appeal to mothers, work for children, and feel unisex.
What was the most interesting thing you learned? Was there a significant takeaway from the project?
RN: The complete body of work—the print collaboration with Arrival—consisted of so many illustrations that needed to fit together seamlessly and accentuate the patterns. Although challenging, it was so great to see it all together. Often, a project I work on has such a short turnaround. I don't get to really bask in it or nurture it. That wasn't the case here, which felt really special.