Gathering together key conversations from the Holding Time project about motherhood, breastfeeding, history, culture, support and more…!
Women are constantly faced with this difficult choice. And it is often a woman’s choice whether they want to carry on with their career and keep climbing the ladder and earning more and getting what they deserve, or whether they want to prioritise their children. There’s just this constant juggle of yourself over your child. I feel like I do prioritise myself a lot. I’ve been very selfish in many ways to continue with this work. The unselfish thing perhaps, would have been to go and get a job.
Wellness is more than a lifestyle choice, or an expression of consumer buying power. Creating resilience takes time and work and is a right not a privilege.
Open Eye Gallery Launch, September 2022 Against the backdrop of ships on the river Mersey blowing their whistles in unison,…
In this year of years, mothers have experienced the most challenging circumstances: solo scans, solo births, isolation and a loss of family support. All the more reason to press ahead with Coventry City of Breastfeeding, my project for Coventry City of Culture 2021. It was an experience with massive highs and lows against a backdrop of restrictions, fear and uncertainty, I tried to create something worthy of the wise women of Coventry…
A baby’s brain is constantly making new pathways. 250,000 neurons are formed per minute in a fetal brain throughout pregnancy and that proliferation, migration, differentiation, synaptogenesis continue into the toddler years and pruning of these until puberty. Each baby’s personality, body, brain and trans generational inheritance is of course unique and dependent upon their DNA, yet their experiences and exposure to the world around them throughout pregnancy and in early life also all have an effect on them.
AAF asked me to take over their Instagram feed one Tuesday recently and I had to accept, given their huge…
In my aim to bring The Holding Time Project to areas where breastfeeding is lowest, I came to appreciate the…
I spoke about my project and the aims of partnering with the CTU for Coventry City of Culture. I showed the animated portraits, as well as a slideshow of stills. it was the first time I had presented the work in a meidcal setting and I found the atmosphere invigorating. It gave me new insight into how clinical trials lead the way to greater understanding of new approaches.
For this event I put together a slideshow, beginning with the story of my own struggles to breastfeed, then the rationale for the Holding Time still images, how these lead to the animation and installation. Finally I talked about the project website, the breastfeeding Hubs, the YouTube Channel interviews.
Over the past few weeks I have been at the gallery every day. Sometimes I just sat on the beanbags and enjoyed the quiet. Other days I had others to join me: Lucila came almost every day. Many mothers came with their children. But also quite a few fathers. And others who had never had children; young women interested in the subject with their boyfriends, mothers whose babies had grown, mothers who had not breastfed, mothers who were still breastfeeding their four year old, mothers with newborns still struggling with the adjustment to motherhood.
“I think one of the key things that has helped me is when I gave birth, she took care of me to be able to then I was able to breastfeed so she made food for me she brought me drinks, you know all these things took care of my physical needs
And she was cleaning, washing my clothes and all this kind of stuff, which allowed me then to focus on the breastfeeding which I know alot of women don’t have that.”
And then I attended our breastfeeding group, I remember sitting there looking around at all these women with their boobs out and being like, ‘It’s alright, we all look the same, really. No one’s that bothered’. And it was fine”.
“I was lucky because I was able to find good support in the community & was able to learn how to use a deeper latch & how to latch her without it being too painful until I was able to get the tongue tie snipped”.
“So she took the tube out then she said ‘Michelle is going to feed the baby. She’s going to come back every time you ring her. So just ring her, every time baby needs feeding and every two or three hours’ . And it was brilliant!”
I was just like, losing my mind just trying to feed this baby who’s just crying and crying.
And I’m crying and, and she just mentioned this Rachel FitzD. And I thought, I’m going to try and see what she’s about. And she was just amazing. Like, just so logical. And so like calm and and reassuring. It was just unreal. Like, and she just said,
listen, like you’ve birthed off this baby. There’s no reason you can’t breastfeed your baby, like you’ve got this. And I was like, she’s right. I have got
“I was referred to a lactation clinic and they were like angels. I wasn’t expecting miracles. So, that’s what I got, I did get a miracle. We figured out that she had a milk allergy. I cut dairy out of my diet completely. And she actually slept. So, I did manage to solely breastfeed her, from that point.”
She says, ” I think that the support’s not there for women. But I don’t mean like the support services. I mean your family and society understanding how demanding breastfeeding is
I quickly realised that I needed a whole new map of my city: one that outlined the best places to meet, sit, feed without feeling awkward or in the way. better still, I needed places with built-in free activities ; mother groups, childrens activities for friends with toddlers and anywhere, ANYWHERE WITH CAKE.
Researchers at Wolverhampton University are gathering data on Holding Time’s impact on the community online and offline through surveys about breastfeeding attitudes
In this BLOG post Dr Lisa J. Orchard, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton, introduces their innovative study, designed to measure the impact of the Holding Time Project on viewers. Please add your data to the survey!
Breastfeeding has profound and long-lasting health advantages, but the risks of poor maternal well-being run just as deep. The “breast is best” message has, in many cases, done more harm than good for both breastfeeding and formula feeding women. Words carry a lot of power and we need to be very careful of their use in future breastfeeding promotion campaigns.
For many, the current WHO recommendation of six months of exclusive breastfeeding is simply not realistic and can discourage mothers from even initiating breastfeeding. Instead we should follow a woman-centred approach where mothers are empowered to set their own realistic targets.
With an audience of NHS staff, the social prescribing Team from WHAM, members of the local CCG and local breastfeeding mentors, the performances by mothers were entertaining, moving and full of meaning.
This year I received a prestigious DYCP Arts Council grant to explore the possibilities of Holding Time in VR. I set about researching the potential of VR to be a new way of showing the animation installation without the need for a ‘real’ space.