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From Woman To Mother

Birth Art Cafe

Feedback from parents:

"Tamara's birth art cafe was the best thing I did during my pregnancy and the early months with Rosie!
Art can seem like the last thing you have time for when trying to keep up at work and prepare yourself
and your home for the arrival of a baby - not to mention once the little one has arrived. But taking that
time on a regular basis to tune in with myself, to find out how I am feeling physically and emotionally has
been such a gift, and enabled me to come away with a new perspective on a perceived problem or
difficulty so many many times.  My art work has been tranformed by allowing myself to make mistakes -
and I'm trying to remember that when presented with challenges in real life!" - Lindsay Grey, Milton Keynes

"I have got so much out of going to the Birth Art Café each week with my partner. It has been deeply
therapeutic and a really useful tool to process all the emotions that have been coming up throughout my
pregnancy. It has also been a lovely opportunity to meet other local expectant mums in a relaxing environment. 
There is nothing else like this available in the area – I have found everything else on offer to pregnant
women is limited and somewhat focussed on the physical changes that are going on rather than the
emotional/spiritual and the transition into motherhood. Birth Art is a really enjoyable way of expressing
and connecting to oneself." – Roma Norriss, student midwife, Bath

“I have been attending Birth Art Café both before and since my son was born and the experience has been
absolutely invaluable. A lot of what I had experienced before I attended Birth Art Cafe was focused mainly
on the physical transition taking place in my body and while that was important to me I felt that there was
something missing. I was changing physically but spiritually as well. The Birth Art Café helped and continues
to support me through my journey of motherhood and allows me some much needed time for reflection and
relaxation. Thank you!”  - Shweta Panchal, management consultant, Watford

"My birth preparation has stayed with me throughout and despite the medicalisation and trauma Elena has
suffered I feel it has been a profoundly spiritual experience. I had no fear throughout and am continuing to
trust that all will be ok.  ! am so grateful for all you did to help me prepare me for birth as the unexplainable
and unpredictable event and for the concept of trust and surrender - which somehow I have kept with me
throughout."  RB, Lawyer, St Albans

“A heart felt thank you for traversing me through the ups and downs of my pregnancy.  You have been the
most wonderful support and have such an amazing way of shining a light on the confusions of my mind,
and offering invaluable pearls of wisdom.  I have loved being pregnant and I put that down to the safe haven
of the Birth Art Café.  I’m so looking forward to continuing the journey of motherhood with you.” 
Holly Collins, Dance and yoga teacher, Chipperfield

“I also wanted to thank you for listening to me, I was really overwhelmed by all the feelings that just came
pouring out. I carried on writing things down when I came home and I was quite amazed by all the feelings
that I had been suppressing. I actually feel quite exhausted now. I'm not sure if it has helped me come to
terms with it all but it has certainly brought a lot of negative thoughts out of my head and put them 'out there'.
I can work on them now that I have acknowledged them.” (After a difficult birth)

“Attending the Birth Art Café during my pregnancy was such a privilege; to be welcomed so generously and
freely is everything an expectant woman can ask for. Having always been someone who seeks truth of self
and welcomes the exploration and expansion of awareness, I found myself warmed and comforted through
my time in the Birth Art Classes. This does not mean to say that an expectant mother attending needs to be
on the path of self discovery by any means, or any good at Art either (I am not naturally artistic), rather
that these classes offer the space and time to think about feelings and issues surrounding the process of
pregnancy and birth on whatever level suits the individual.  Sharing feelings in the group is down to how
much or little you want to impart, mediums of Art are optional – and however you feel, whatever you may
want to express through drawing, sculpting or language is okay – there are no hidden agendas or expectations. 
Tamara leads the class with a gentle and supportive holding; I was met with understanding and kindness from
other attendees also – they too are on their own journey and did not judge or make comparisons.

Prior to attending the classes I had not known where to begin in exploring my imminent motherhood, and
within one class I became aware of the importance of just allowing myself the space to consider this –
away from the business of everyday life, work, relationships and other commitments – this truly is a place
for retreat and absorbance of self – something many mothers to be do not have much time for!
In a world where we are hustled and bustled around, either by our own expectations or the pace of
others – this kind of opportunity for mothers to be is truly wonderful. I would heartedly recommend it.

I would like to leave you with the most prominent thought that Tamara gave me during my time in the class;
‘’pregnancy is not just about the journey and arrival of a baby, it includes the process of the birth of the mother’"
Jane Hansen, Mental Health Nurse, Hemel Hempstead

Feedback from midwives and other birth professionals:

“The Birth Art Café is an idea whose time is long overdue.  Taking the time to connect more deeply with our
selves which is perhaps best done by art and crafts that any woman can do, can only help us have a better
birth, connect more deeply with their babies and be happier and more easeful mothers.  Bravo Tamara for
leading the way”, Suzanne Arms - Internationally acclaimed author, photojournalist, visionary and birth activist

“I am very envious of the women of Hertfordshire who are able to benefit from these wonderful classes.”
(RK at workshop for ARM midwives study day)

“I came away full of energy, really excited.  I’ve learned so much about myself. “
(FN at workshop for birth professionals)

"It was great to see your work in action and I will definitely spread the word about what you do. I found the experience
really relaxing, I don't often have time for sitting and contemplation. Becoming a mother is a much glossed-over aspect
of birth preparation but is so important and the whole period of transition can be difficult sometimes. What you offer is
so lovely and must be such a comforting space for 'your' mothers."  - Helen Yates – midwife and hypnobirthing practitioner

Thank you for such an inspiring talk last weekend, I haven't stopped thinking about it! 
Faye Fenton - Natal Hypnotherapy Practitioner after a Birth Art Café presentation as Womb To World Conference at Imperial College 2008

"The Birth Café is a really good idea and good luck with it… Creative activities of these kinds will be of special help to any woman who has had a traumatic birth experience or who is anxious about birth” (Sheila Kitzinger)

I just wanted to drop you a note to say thank you for this sacred and noble work!!  In all of my years studying the pre- and perinatal periods, including the socio-cultural and psychological facets of labor & birth... it NEVER occured to me that the experience a woman has facing "the blank canvas" or "lump of clay"... the process she goes through as she (hopefully) engages with her own intuitive impulses and connects with that deep well of creativity... could mirror her experience of facing the process of labor & birth! … It seems like such a simple idea, to do art around the intense psychic material of pregnancy and birth anticipation... and yet DO we encourage, support and facilitate it in our culture??  No!!  So thank you so very very much for your work.” (Marcy Axness, Early Development Counsellor specialising in Fertility, Adoption, & Early Parenting, www.QuantumParenting.com)         

“ I am really excited about your work, it reminds me of what a worthy cause preparation for birth is and creating a loving environment
for a baby's entry in to the world ” (AB - midwife)

“Just a note to thank you so much for giving a thought provoking session.  It was good that so many people wanted to hear you, and encouraging that they were taking away practical ideas” (Valerie Gommon, independent midwife at workshop for ARM midwives study day)

“There is so much I would like to do to change the attitude of everyone to Birth - where does one start, but I can see that you are actually managing to
do that by your work. Fantastic!” (MN - midwife).

“As a doula, and a trained art historian your philosophy rings
so true to me and I think what you provide to new mothers and pregnant women, in the form of your Cafe, is fantastic.” (HC – doula)  

“Thank you for the great day.  I had some really deep insights.  I am looking forward to continue the journey….”  Saradadevii Hull-Jurkovic - doula





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