ELMHURST — Marie Lopez didn’t rediscover her artistic talent until being confined to a hospital bed for seven weeks, but when she did, the therapeutic value was profound, she said.
The new mother now sells her drawings online, and said she wants to encourage other pregnant women who are confined to bed rest for lengthy periods to find hobbies and talents to help fight the doldrums.
“I heard a lot of stories (about women confined to bed rest who) just completely shut everybody out,” said Lopez, of Elmhurst. “And I just want those women to know that it’s OK to think about hobbies or to learn new hobbies. That it’s OK to do something to pass the time. It doesn’t help the stress level to sit there and be miserable.”
Lopez remembers that terrible feeling in the hospital, the feeling of a lack of productivity — and the creeping replacement of dread instead of optimism about the pregnancy.
“It’s really tough to get motivated, when really you just want to crawl in a hole,” she said. “But if you are able to do something, you actually might feel more like a productive member of society like you used to.”
It wasn’t until she was able to continue bed rest at home that she worked up the motivation to be creative.
“I wish I would have started drawing in the hospital,” she said. “It would have passed the time.”
When she came home — first to her parents’ house for three weeks and then to her home with husband, Anthony — the family was setting up the nursery. She started drawing small animals for the walls that matched the crib’s bedding.
“I had to sit on the couch with my feet up the whole time,” she said. “And that’s when I started drawing. My mom would tell me every day, ‘You just seem so much happier.’”
“And it made me more excited about the birth, instead of being scared of it.”
On Feb. 2, 2012, she gave birth to a healthy boy named Brandon. The first few months of being a new mom demanded the time that would have been filled by drawing, but by summer, Lopez was able to go back to the colored pencils, she said.
Her first drawing was inspired by Brandon’s crayon drawing table.
“I posted it on Facebook to say, ‘Hey, I finally got drawing again,’” she said. “Somebody said, ‘Oh you should sell that on Etsy.’ So I looked into it and said, ‘Hey, why not — this could be a fun adventure.’”
Her shop on Etsy.com, an online marketplace for artists and crafters, now offers an array of art ranging from simple dinosaurs to more detailed renderings of soccer balls, footballs and butterflies. In general, the drawings are intended for decorating young children’s rooms, she said, but she is starting to draw for older children, too.
Lopez has since returned to working part time, as a developmental therapist, while drawing on the side.
While her Etsy shop has been open since October, Lopez recently succeeded in selling to buyers whom she’s not directly connected to, including an order from Australia.
“I went in with no expectations,” she said. “But it’s going well.”