Our first lived experience team lost mothers’ workshop

The very first meeting took place in London on a bright and frosty January day – we started by introducing ourselves and how we met Birth Companions and what Birth Companions meant to us. We introduced the Lost Mothers project and how the Lived Experience Team (LET) was going to be intrinsic to it, with their ownership of the project an essential component. The conversations around the table were open and candid with women who had experience of being separated from their babies or who had gone the through the mother and baby unit decision-making process. When we had been talking about prison experiences one of the women used the phrase ‘feeling lost’ and it was a good opportunity to explore the title and whether it reflected the project overall – particularly the phrase ‘lost mothers’.

We agreed that the word ‘lost’ was an appropriate way to describe feelings about their experiences. Women talked of how they connected with the word lost and that to them it symbolised:

  • feeling out at sea
  • alone
  • isolated
  • undeserved
  • caught in the middle
  • feeling forgotten about
  • in a lost and empty space
  • losing who you are

Another purpose of the meeting was to design a logo. We had lots of arts and crafts bought with funds from University of Hertfordshire participatory research. One of the women took hold of some pink / mauve crepe paper and started cutting out shapes. What ensued was the most amazing and beautiful logo within quite a short period of time!

The logo you can see is picture of a heart / womb which is broken at the top symbolising a broken heart. The little heart attached to the womb inside the broken heart symbolises the baby attached to the mother. The three waves coming from the broken heart are like three birds flying away and letting go, symbolising a broken heart with pieces floating away. One of the LET members had been thinking about the logo and described how she imagined a baby in a basket, being left alone in the river, in a Moses basket, left all at sea. The crepe paper on the lost mothers’ logo is symbolising the sea with its wavy design. The three waves / birds also gives us room to represent having three main principles coming from the project.

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