Becoming a parent is a life changing time for many. Whilst it is a life defining and joyful time for most, it is also easily one of the toughest and most hilarious-hideous jobs that one can ever be assigned.
"Parenting is like an exam you never studied for"
Unfortunately, it is also estimated that 20,000 women in the UK each year suffer traumatic births. A further 20% of new mums also experience symptoms of perinatal mental distress and develop post natal depression and anxiety. This figure is actually considerably higher, as many new parents don't seek help, and often struggle in fear and silence.
The Specialist Perinatal Team in Brighton alone receives 350+ referrals a year from new parents with acute signs of mental illness. With suicide being the second leading cause of maternal mortality.
The Perinatal Team saved my life, with the support they offered me when I became a parent to Arlo in 2016.
Therefore I desperately want to pay it forward in some way, and help new parents if they are struggling in any way with the early stages of parenthood. Maternity leave can also be quite an isolating and intense period, and so I also want to develop a network for new parents, that is built on empathy, comedic moans, banter and strong coffee.
I felt it a mission to create a space for parents and babies to come and just be. Oh and make something if they felt inclined. Or merely drink coffee while I hold the baby.
Making things with your hands has proven benefits for helping with symptoms of anxiety. So therefore, I strongly believe that creative expression is helpful to healthy human development and recovery from mental distress. I believe that everyone has the capacity to be creative. But often with mini people about, time is not granted for such therapeutic activity. Let’s not even mention the all consuming sleep deprivation. We don’t need to be reminded of that.
"Parenting is like juggling. Except all the balls are screaming."
I am a fan of the trusty shed. I have two main sheds to be precise in my garden in Worthing. So to compliment my workshop, known as The Cabin, I have resurrected my Brighton summerhouse, The Hub, opposite, to provide a calm sensory place for babies and mini people to hang out in.
- I want to run art therapy workshops in my garden hubs.
- I want to teach parents how to use their smartphones to take better photos of their mini people.
- Create a sensory pod within The Hub shed for babies and toddlers to hang out in.
- To create a support network for frazzled and isolated new parent types.
I urgently need start up costs to enable me to run free and low cost workshops for parents.
In a nutshell, I need the following:
- Tools, such as paint, tote bags for screen printing, as well as general craft and photographic resources.
- Jesmonite AC100 Water Based Casting Resin in bulk, to make non toxic geometric planters.
- I also want to be able to create resources for sessions, for parents to take away with them.
- Additional baby stuff for the Hub, to stop me raiding my own child's playroom.
- I want to create sensory boards and activities for mini people.
- I want to commission a research project to evaluate the benefits of art therapy and maternal mental wellbeing.
- I want to develop a specific support group for those experiencing perinatal depression and anxiety symptoms.
- I want to pilot workshops in Hackney Wick at The Breakfast Club, as well as taking them to people's homes, and wherever the need may be.
And so if the above proposal has touched a nerve in any way, please please do donate whatever you can. Please also do check out the rewards on offer, as I essentially hate just asking for money.
All supporters will be credited visually within the Cabin and on my website, a AC hall of fame if you will.
Thank you so so much for your time in reading this,
Kt and Arlo x