An art exhibition celebrating the journey that people go on through pregnancy and welcoming a newborn into your life is on throughout UHG this month.
CREATE: The Art of Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond was developed by the HRB Mother and Baby Clinical Trial Network to spotlight topics around pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn children.
It touches on a wide range of issues that can be beautiful and heartbreaking such as perinatal mental health, bereavement and pregnancy loss, IVF, prematurity, labour and birth experiences, and breastfeeding.
It also casts an eye on the future by exploring how health research helps women and newborns.
While it may be easy to think of pregnancy as a nine month experience, it can be the result of years of trying for a child, and its impacts will certainly resonate in life for many years after.
Some of the works on display throughout the campus of University Hospital Galway as part of this free exhibition include The Other Side, a new work by Emma Sheridan exploring perinatal mental health.
A self portrait of her own exhaustion, doubts, and terror after the birth of her first child, Emma said that when people look at it she wants them to be able to relate their own struggles.
“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 is a striking 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 is a series of simple black and white illustrations capturing the wonderful, mundane reality of breastfeeding every day.
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.
These images seek to counter an idea that’s often expressed that breastfeeding is somehow incompatible with modern life.
These illustrations portray modern women’s relationships to breastfeeding, as part of their modern lives as a part of work, family, socialising, and travelling.
This free exhibition is on at UHG until February 28.