Diego Rivera, Frida's dear husband, encouraged her to start the project to paint her major life events to a series of paintings. This painting is the first one in her series. She remarked this painting is about "...how I imagined I was born." And in her journal, Frida said this painting depicts she was giving birth to her self.
In this painting, the head of Frida, which is frightening large, is getting out of the mother's womb. There is a puddle of blood under the mother's body which might be a hint of Frida's own experience with the recent miscarriage. A sheet covers the mother's face, which might be from the recent event of the death of Frida's mother. Above the birth bed, a picture of weeping "Virgin of Sorrows" hangs above. The Virgin looks on in tears with sorrow and sympathy but seems she can do nothing about the situation.
Although this painting was painted in the style of an "ex-voto retablo", nothing was written on the unfurled scroll at the bottom. Maybe she felt she cannot describe her feeling about a woman undergo with child birth. This painting may have also been influenced by a 16th Century sculpture of the Aztec Goddess Tlazolteotl giving birth to an adult male warrior.
Popstar Madonna collected this painting. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Madonna said she used this painting to tell who is her friend and who is not. "If somebody doesn't like this painting", Madonna said, "then I know they can't be my friend".