The reason I give for why I set it up was because I wanted to establish a support network for a mother, where she could reconnect with her pre-mother self and be in a group where the focus was on her rather than the child. This is all true, but there is an additional dimension. I’m an actor (and sometimes writer). Unless you have established yourself as a serious contender and/or have ‘staff’ and/or live in London, it’s pretty much game over for some years if you have a child. Work is scarce, poorly paid and irregular – it certainly doesn’t fit into established childcare hours. This certainly contributed to the panicky despair I felt when I became a mother. I couldn’t see then how I would be able to work at all.
Being a wily thing and also in possession of a partner who works in the arts and could see a way of using the situation I was in to my advantage, Mothers Uncovered was developed as a project for our company and registered charity, Livestock. We have always had an element of creative arts about our activities, whether it’s writing, photography, art or performing. Not only is it what I know, I genuinely feel it is beneficial and therapeutic for participants to explore their new situation through a range of mediums. Even in the bigger events I’ve organised, such as Big Sunday, I have insisted on a balance between the creative elements, especially performance, and the other workshops/activities on offer.
Last autumn I ran some training sessions for five past participants to become facilitators. They are Crimson Boner, Charlotte Baxter, Heidi Brydon, Mia Taylor and Morgan Nichols. I’d like for Mothers Uncovered to expand and I can only be in one place at a time. It also provides a new opportunity for mothers, who find it difficult to fit work in around childcare obligations. I am still looking for ways for Mothers Uncovered to become more self-sustaining – grants funding is increasingly hard to come by, but we are raising our profile, slowly but surely, thanks to the efforts of Emma of SoMeForYou (also a special nod to Chelle and Claire at Brighton Mums). And the good news for my actor self is that a new performance idea is in development. An improvised show with some other actor/mothers called Mothers Uncorked. Our aim is to perform monthly, using audience suggestions to explore issues around motherhood.
I can’t think of a neat sign off to this, beyond a slightly trite ‘Watch this Space’, so will turn to the world of Shitverts as Charlie Brooker terms them. …‘The future’s bright. The future’s [green and] Orange…’
Maggie Gordon-Walker (oh, and here's my website www.maggiegordon-walker.com)