When a woman gives birth the focus shifts to the baby. Women may be delighted and grateful to be mothers, but they need an outlet for the emotions generated by the enormous event they have experienced. A mum and baby group that isn’t entirely focused on the child helps mothers reconnect with the women they’ve always been.
The idea behind the Mothers Uncovered project is twofold. Firstly, it’s to provide a support service to new mothers through workshops, arts projects and advice. We give mothers the chance to talk openly and honestly about their feelings and experiences, without fear of judgement. There are many Mother and Baby groups, but these are often informal drop-ins, not suitable for discussing issues that might be difficult or painful. There are also post-natal depression groups, but the aim is to take away the stigma of ‘not coping’; for the issues to be re-addressed as challenges to be shared.
Secondly, to give mothers the chance to celebrate and mark this point in their lives. It is very easy for a new mother to feel sidelined by the focus that is naturally placed on the baby and to have difficulty expressing her feelings in a way that can also be creative. Participants attend a series of structured sessions in the same group to facilitate more in-depth conversation.T he majority of our groups are for first-time mothers, but we also run sessions for mothers of older children. Participants have the chance to explore this point in their lives through art, writing and photography, which is shared with others through exhibitions and performances. This helps build self-esteem and validate a woman’s perspective. It also brings the often hidden nature of motherhood into the open.
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