As any new mum will tell you, your social calendar gets full. There’s baby yoga, music classes, baby swimming and playgroups. The list can seem almost endless, says Charlotte Nelson of Norwich Theatre, but how often do new mums take an hour a week just for themselves?
Granted, this may be more easily said than done but it is vitally important for the wellbeing of mothers to have some time just for themselves. Out of the new daily patterns of motherhood, taking some time to reflect on and explore their experiences, particularly in a creative way, can really help.
“There is a lot of joy to be had in creative projects,” says Rose Feather, one of the practitioners for Norwich Theatre’s Creating Through Motherhood series, “I think making dedicated time and space for feeling joy is a good thing to do, especially if you are a parent or carer, with limited free time.” The Creating Through Motherhood series creates a space for women to nurture their creativity and spend time on themselves. The two different strands, Making and Writing, help mums who attend process the beautiful, joyful and yet sometimes challenging stages of being a mum.
Becoming a mother is a fundamental shift in a woman’s life that brings an intensity like no other. Yet, no matter how hard you try to prepare for this new stage in your life, the new situation often blows you sideways.
“A major life shift that happens when you suddenly become responsible for a baby for the first time,” explains Rose. “The ability to talk and discuss the new realities of family life really helps you make sense of your journey. I am still in shock at the feats the human body and brain can manage.”
Miche Montague is a writer and artistic director of MoCo Theatre. She will be leading the writing workshops for Creating Through Motherhood, stating that “acknowledging the changes that motherhood brings allows you to not only celebrate yourself as a mother but also highlights the importance of remembering who you are as an individual.” By encouraging creativity, whether that is writing or making something for pleasure and purpose, you can focus and find the space to hear your voice once again. “Writing is a creative way to connect to our ‘self’. It helps you work through thoughts and feelings and can calm the mind and emotions. It can release personal and creative limitations,” explains Miche.
From her own experience, Rose benefited from being creative: “As a breastfeeding mum, I struggled to feel like I had agency over my thoughts or body. Being part of creative projects really helped with this, even for having something different to think about so I could come back to baby feeling refreshed.”
Whether you opt for writing or making, or of course both, these sessions are all about nurturing your creative expression joyfully and finding comfort within the group. “It’s important to keep nurturing yourself creatively with new skills, new perspectives and new ideas, and this makes you more able to tend to your little one with energy and joy,” says Rose.
A recent study by the Red Cross found that more than 8 in 10 mums feel lonely some of the time. This is a saddening statistic and one that must be changed. Norwich Theatre is committed to using the power of art and creativity to increase people’s wellbeing. “Life and experiences can often be lonely places. Connecting and sharing our stories can break isolation and bring together communities,” says Miche.
By taking part in a creative activity in a group setting, you are not only improving your own wellbeing, you are also joining a like-minded community. The Creating Through Motherhood workshops are a friendly and relaxed space where you can make connections and share stories. “Expect an hour of support, friendship and creativity”, adds Miche.
Exploring motherhood is not just reserved for new mums. Everyone is welcome at the motherhood workshops regardless of what stage you are in your life. So, whether you’re a mum for the first time, you have adopted a child, are a step mum, your children have flown the nest, or you are now a grandmother, you can still join and build a community focused on the mother’s needs.
Fancy coming along?
Creating through Motherhood is a series of workshops about the relationship between maternity and creativity in a relaxed and safe environment. No creative experience is necessary, and all stages of motherhood are welcome.
Creating Through Motherhood: Writing starts on 7 September and runs for five weeks from 10.30am for an hour. Creating through Motherhood: Making sessions run from 12 October for five weeks. Each block of five weeks costs £35.
The sessions will take place in Café Royal. Anyone who attends these sessions and purchases a drink at the café will receive a double stamp on their loyalty card.
To book or to find out further information, please visit norwichtheatre.org or call Norwich Theatre box office on 01603 630 000.