Our perinatal mental health team supported local mums to exhibit their artwork as part of this year’s Artwalk in Wakefield.
The artwork was created by local women, who attend the perinatal mental health peer support groups, as a way to express their complex feelings and emotions surrounding motherhood through the medium of art.
The Wakefield Artwalk organisers’ recognised the power and value of the group’s artwork and offered them to the opportunity to display their work within the Ridings Shopping Centre, as part of the event.
Christine West, peer support worker within the team, said: “The group members found therapeutic freedom of expression through their art and it also helped others to understand the daily challenges they face, breaking down stigma and shame.
“It quickly became clear that there was fantastic emerging talent within the group, many of whom had previously never written poetry or created artwork.”
Angela Monaghan, chair of the Trust, attended the exhibition and read a poem written by one of the peer group support members and local mum, Jade*.
Angela commented: “It’s wonderful to see such vibrant talent and to get important insights into how these women are feeling. I’m pleased that this exhibition has created a platform for women to share their experiences with others and I hope it will encourage other women to seek therapeutic support.”
Those who attended the exhibition also shared their thoughts and feelings about the art and creative works on display:
“A courageous exhibition that I can see is going to make a positive change.”
“Such powerful and brave words – thank you for sharing. Every new mum thinks they should be perfect, and your words inspire hope that things will get better – even if things aren’t perfect at first. Love the words about motherhood – my oldest is 30 this year and all those words still apply.”
“Eye opening and so refreshing to hear real stories that will let others know they aren’t alone.”
“I was blown away by the poems and the artwork, I think it is such a good way of communicating a very difficult and personal experience but so liberating and hopefully contributes to reducing stigma surrounding these struggles.”
The perinatal mental health team offer vital support to women who experience perinatal mental illness during pregnancy or during the first year following the birth of a child. They also offer women with mental health needs advice for planning a pregnancy.
You can find out more about perinatal mental illness or access support here.