Feb 11 2019 Posted: 09:13 GMT

CREATE: The Art of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond, is a free art exhibition developed by the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, taking place around the campus of UHG, that spotlights pregnancy and newborn journeys, the people who make them, and the research that impacts them. The exhibition will run from 2 - 28 February, and local breastfeeding groups in particular are invited to take in the exhibition.

The exhibition touches on topics like perinatal mental health, bereavement and pregnancy loss, IVF, prematurity, labour and birth experiences, and breastfeeding, as well as exploring how health research helps women and newborns.

The pregnancy and neonatal journey can be beautiful and scary, joyous and heartbreaking. It can be miraculous, frustrating, sought after or unexpected. It can be straightforward, or it can wind and twist through our lives. We think of it as nine months, but it can be years of trying. It can end unexpectedly. It can resonate for decades afterwards.

In this exhibition, the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network, a network of obstetricians, neonatologists, midwives and related professionals brought together to carry out research on women’s and children’s health, hope to highlight common pregnancy and newborn health issues and celebrate the impact of perinatal research on mothers and babies in Ireland and internationally.

The exhibition provides a safe, non-judgmental space to explore these issues and listen, through new and existing artworks, to the experiences of women and the doctors, midwives and researchers who care for them.

Some of the exhibition’s highlights include:

  • The Other Side - A new work by Emma Sheridan that deals with her own experiences of perinatal mental health issues. A self portrait of sorts that captures how she felt following the birth of her first child – the exhaustion, the doubts, the terror. The artist writes:
    “I wanted the image to look, like me, as if it was disintegrating. For others to look into her eyes and say, that feels like me and not me alone. This painting is also full of hope and positivity. The colours are vibrant, I feel beautiful, I am owning all of it. Yes, I am tired and it is hard but I am no longer trying to be perfect and neither is this painting. It is me.”

 

  • The Children’s Remembrance Tree – A striking and colourful collaborative community project, led by the Bereavement team in Cavan Hospital. During a remembrance service in 2015, families were given colourful beads to hold on to – as a physical symbol of the baby or child families were there to remember, the grief they carried and the uniqueness of each story. After the service, the beads were collected and over the following three months were sewn onto the fabric by a local craft group with help from friends and family. The Tree, its branches, and its falling vibrant leaves, represents strength, family, the fragility of life, and the sense of belonging to a community and the support that brings.

 

  • Everyday Breastfeeding - This series of simple, black and white, hanging illustrations by Fiona Carey depicts everyday experiences of breastfeeding – the lovely, chaotic, precious, mundane, lived reality of it. While breastfeeding is the common theme, it is not the central focus of these images; it is simply one component of life as a parent of babies and toddlers. Sometimes, the images we commonly see of breastfeeding make it seem inaccessible and incompatible with modern life. Rarely do we see images of breastfeeding fitting in with work, family, exhaustion, eating, resting, socialising, travelling, sleeping, life. These illustrations portray modern women’s relationships to breastfeeding, as part of their modern lives, capturing the ordinary and extraordinary, the mundane and magical.

This exhibition is supported by the Health Research Board through their Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Award which aims to maximize the uptake of research findings into policy and practice.

For more information, contact Cormac McAdam on motherandbabyexhibition@gmail.com or phone 01 4022548 or 087 2329101.

The full list of artworks and events is available at www.hrb-mbctni.ie/create and www.hrb-mbctni.ie.

Follow on Twitter @HRBMumAndBaby and www.facebook.com/HRBMotherAndBabyCTNI

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