In Review: My First Home: A Body Positivity Workshop for Mothers from Mum’s the Word
I first met the lovely Kate Thirlwall of Mum’s the Word when I was five months pregnant and she had an exhibition at Silvie – The Newborn Mother: Illustrated Poems. The exhibition was the result of a creative exchange between Kate and her friend, artist Tim Smyth, as they embarked on parenthood in two different cities: Oxford and Norwich.
Now Kate, as well as working on poems exploring the toddler phase, runs wellbeing workshops for Mothers which focus on rediscovering creativity to process experiences, thoughts and emotions. As I am now a mother to a four-month-old, she invited me along…
Her workshops are held in her beautiful, relaxed East Oxford home and I was promised a morning of nurture and celebration of the female body. Three other Oxford based women came and we got settled in with a good cuppa and a getting to know you exercise. These round-the-room sessions can often fill people with dread but Kate’s gentle and encouraging facilitation got us all opening up about our positive and negative birth and body experiences.
Kate applied the same kind reassurance to the creative exercises and began by reading one of her own poems from The Newborn Mother. I’ve not drawn in a very long time, especially not for pure enjoyment and certainly haven’t written a poem since school. However, the way Kate approached these was without judgement and if we didn’t want to share the outcome, we didn’t have to. It was lovely to partake in a purely creative activity.
This element of ‘indulging’ in an activity for ourselves (and often the guilt accompanying it) was something we explored, and Kate talked us through a series of mind and body self-care practices. It included mindfulness, stretching, breathing exercises as well as self-massage and exchanging compliments with friends and family. This was something we did as a group and having a stranger pay you a compliment was wonderfully uplifting! It was also very humbling to hear others in the group share their experiences of birth and motherhood so openly.
I know even before having a baby I was dreadful at finding time for myself and it’s even more challenging now, but through the various exercises and discussions, it was lovely to take the time to understand which areas of our body and mind need a little more love and nourishment.
Armed with a goody bag of locally sourced treats (Jericho Coffee Traders Coffee, locally produced tea and Littlemore Candle Company Candle), I certainly came away from Kate’s workshop feeling positive about my body and what it has achieved and equipped to continue feeling this way.
If you’re a mother and want to take some time for yourself or you’re looking for a gift for a mother you know, Kate’s workshops are ideal you can book upcoming dates here. Kate also provides one to one wellbeing coaching and copies of The Newborn Mother are on sale via her website and in the Indie Oxford Market Place.
January 11th – My first home: a body honouring workshop
January 18th – Creativity and self care
February 8th – Self love
February 15th – Self love
March 21st – Mother and Daughter workshop – celebrating the mother line
March 28th – Mother and Daughter workshop – celebrating the mother line