Christa Couture, is an award-winning musician, recording artist, and a very talented non-fiction writer and speaker.
Her fourth album “Long Time Leaving” was released in 2016 on Black Hen Music; her writing has been published in Room, Shameless, Augur, and the anthology “The M Word”. As a speaker and storyteller, she has addressed audiences for CBC’s DNTO, Moses Znaimer’s fabulous conference called ideacity, and the Imaginate event in Port Hope, Ontario.
Christ also happens to experience her life with a disability.
At the tender age of thirteen, Christa became an amputee. This surgery was necessary, as she puts it, to cure herself of cancer. And, while she also acknowledges she was fortunate to be cured, she also experienced the ups and downs of accepting life with a disability.
Christa admits she spent many years trying to “pass” as a two-legged person. Most people, she says, can not tell she has a prosthetic leg unless they happened to see how she climbed stairs. One leg at a time.
Clearly, Christa’s level of acceptance pivoted four years ago when she decided to celebrate her prosthetic leg in a visual manner. Hers is one that displays a beautiful floral design. It’s impossible not to notice.
Apparently, it is not hand-painted as I first thought, but rather, it is a portion of upholstery that Christa had lamented on to her prosthesis. As she describes it, its floral features have become a favourite accessory.
Based on her surname, Couture, I had assumed Christa might be of French descent. Instead, she is proudly Indigenous (mixed Cree and Scandinavian).
Cree culture, as in many Indigenous cultures, provides children with a traditional name in a ceremony. The chosen name speaks to the individual’s role in the community, their gifts, and their duty to use those gifts going forward.
In Christa case, a the age of 2 years, she was given the traditional name Sanibe (say nee bay), which means, singing woman. It’s not actually a Cree word because the elder who provided the name was Arapaho.
“She will sing and talk a lot” the elder said.
This wisdom has indeed come to fruition when you consider Christa’s music, writing, and speaking career.
Christa was prairie-raised, spent 17 years in Vancouver but now calls Toronto her home.
Maternity Photo Shoot
Since fashion magazine, Vanity Fair’s 1991 iconic photograph of pregnant actress Demi Moore, pregnancy photos have become fashionable. Considered to be one of the most influential images of all time, Ms. Moore’s photo was taken by Portraitist Annie Leibovitz. It was the first mass-media image to depict pregnancy as a beautiful passage of time.
You could say an entire photography industry blossomed as a result of the 1991 magazine cover. Now, many famous and non famous women opt to capture this remarkable time in their life in photographs.
Christa Couture looked online for examples of maternity photos of women with disabilities, but could not find any. Frustrated with the lack of disabled representation she decided to make her own.
As a performer, Christa has had hundreds of photos taken of herself and admits it took time to feel comfortable in front of a camera. Impressed by the self-portrait series on body difference by Toronto based photographer, Jen Squires, Christa asked Jen to work with her.
The maternity photo shoot started with Christa showing her “baby bump” wearing her prosthesis and later without. She could see the photos previewed on the photographer’s laptop as they we being taken. When she saw the ones without her prosthesis, the tiny voice in her mind said, “that looks incredible.”
The photos captured the celebration that Christa longed to see reflected back to her – an almost full-term pregnant belly carrying a baby she couldn’t wait to meet.
Christa hopes other women with disabilities searching for images on disability and pregnancy will find her photos and feel empowered by them.
It would be safe to say her hope has been granted.
Not only did she inspire women like myself who have a disability, she caught the eye of the world. Her lovely pregnancy photographs and story has been shared widely: Baby Center, Bustle, Babble, Bloom, Metro Morning, Metro UK, and The Mighty; it caught on beyond North America in Huffpo UK, Daily Mail, The Independent, The Pool, Huffpo France, and EditionF.
In October of 2017, Christa delivered and finally met with her beautiful healthy daughter, who is named, Sona.
Life, Christa says, is beautifully small because it revolves around the baby’s needs. She and her partner delight in Sona’s every moment.
Winter in Toronto is not the easiest time for Christa, as snow is a real barrier. She looks forward to the nicer weather and being able to spend time with her baby outdoors.
Christa has a heart-breaking story of losing two boys. One shortly after birth and another before the age of 2 years.
She is a beautiful blog writer and her songs are deeply touching.
It reminded me once again, how we can never know what life experiences another may encounter and endure.
Here is a video example of Christa
Song – Alone In This –
To learn more about Christa, view her photo shoot, listen to her music or read her wonderful blog, she can be found online at: