At 37 weeks pregnant, Nicole Rocray has watched her belly grow from only one perspective: looking down.

But last week, when Katherine O’Connor made a cast of Rocray’s belly, she had the chance to see it from a different angle.

That’s one of O’Connor’s favorite parts of making the belly casts: viewing the mother’s face when she first sees the mold of her stomach.

“It’s art celebrating life,” O’Connor said. “It’s celebrating the woman’s beautiful pregnant belly.”

O’Connor, who is a registered nurse and lactation consultant at Southern Maine Medical Center, has been making belly casts for 15 years.

Rocray and her husband, Brian, plan to take pictures of their son, Bryce Edward, inside the bowl created by the belly cast after he is born. Rocray’s due date is Nov. 10.

While O’Connor has been offering belly casting at the hospital, she has teamed up with Dana Johnson to offer it in the community as well.

The two are hosting a belly-casting event at 6 p.m. Thursday at Oh Baby Cafe on Main Street in Biddeford. They hope that by bringing the event into the community, pregnant women will have the opportunity to network and celebrate the birthing process.

The evening will provide women the opportunity to get their bellies cast and have a henna tattoo done as well. With food catered by Oh Baby Cafe, it will be a fun, relaxing night, Johnson said.

“It’s about pregnancy, birth and beyond,” O’Connor said.

Once Rocray’s belly was covered with a thick layer of plaster material, O’Connor and Johnson let the cast dry for a few minutes before popping it off.

“How are you going to decorate it?” O’Connor asked Rocray.

When Rocray said she had not thought about decorating the sculpture, O’Connor offered suggestions. She said some women put their baby’s footprints on the cast with the birth statistics, while others paint meaningful art on it.

“It’s a unique, beautiful piece of art capturing a memory in sculptural form to be proudly displayed,” O’Connor said.

Some casts that O’Connor and Johnson completed previously have been on display at Oh Baby Cafe and the Heart of Biddeford office for the past month. Johnson said she enjoys seeing the different ways women decorate the finished product.

“They each have their own story behind them,” she said.

Johnson has belly casts from her three pregnancies. She said it was neat to compare what her belly looked like for each child.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]