Authors(s), Creator(s) and Contributors: Eleanor Shaw & Tracy Evans, People Speak Up
Publication Date: 15/05/2019
Categories: Evaluation / Reports
Supporter(s)/Funder(s): Ffwrnes Theatre, Hywel Dda UHB, Carmarthenshire County Council, Llanelli Town Council
People Speak Up Pilot project, Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli
Birth Cafe was developed as a partnership between People Speak Up and Dr Tracy Evans in 2018/19. It was created in response to a number of identified needs: In 2017 PeopleSpeakUp held a women’s gathering storytelling project with Rachel Taylor-Beales, supported by Fusion Llanelli. Participants expressed the need to come together and share their stories especially when they had experienced trauma or post-natal depression. Dr Tracy Evans completed a PhD in the area of birth storytelling at Aberystwyth University in 2017.* Her research identified a number of studies in which the number of women who suffer from post-natal depression and PTSD after giving birth is alarmingly high, including:
- A 2017 international study shows that that around a third of women experience trauma whilst giving birth (Reed et al 2017);
- An earlier study found that almost 20% of women experience some Post Traumatic Stress symptoms after giving birth (Beck 2011).
- In 2014, the Royal College of Midwifery
In 2017 PeoplespeakUp held a women's gathering storytelling project supported by Fusion and Communities First Llanelli. Participants expressed the need to come together and share their stories especially when they had experienced trauma or post-natal depression.
We know from an international study that around a third of women experience trauma whilst giving birth (Reed et al 2017). Another study found that almost 20% of women experience some post natal traumatic stress symptoms after giving birth (Beck 2011).
The Royal College of Midwives reported that nearly 60% of women felt down or depressed after giving birth (Pressure Points Report 2014). We know that a mother's mental well-being effects the bond she has with her baby. (Fancourt and Perkins 2018) and yet there are very few programmes to support women emotionally after this life changing event.
In 2019 we created a partnership with Dr Tracey Evans and created Birth Cafe - a project that seeks to go beyond offering women a copy strategy. The project aims to support women to express and share their birth stories in order to empower them so they have more agency and self-determination, leading to an increase in well-being, as well as increasing social connections through a caring and supportive peer community. The sessions included signposting women to specialist help. We established a referral network through hands on demonstration sessions with local perinatal mental health workers, midwives, trauma specialists and health care professionals.
The projects comes out of Tracey's practice based PhD research about the ways women perform their birth stories 'Giving Birth to Maternal Subjectivity - Narrative, Rhythm and Caesura in an Autobiographical Practice of Birth Storytelling' (Aberystwyth University 2018) funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Tags: Birth, Midwifery, storytelling, Movement, speaking, listening