A group of young mothers who have written and published a children’s story about their experience of being new parents delighted youngsters at Sunflower Family Nurture Centre, Lochgelly with a reading of their work.
The group are part of Expecting Something, a project run by Starcatchers to connect artists with mothers under the age of 25 and their babies. Ellie’s Egg is the culmination of weeks of hard work, taking part in a range of creative activities to inspire, write and illustrate the story in collaboration with poet Leyla Josephine, illustrator Kate Charter and artist Hazel Darwin-Clements.
It is a beautiful, truthful story about a hen and her newly-laid egg which reflects the anxieties, vulnerabilities and wonder of becoming a new parent.
Lead artist Hazel Darwin-Clements, said: “Expecting Something is all about creating a safe space where these young women can tap into their creativity and grow in confidence.
“Ellie’s Egg started as a conversation about how the group sometimes felt marginalised and that their tastes and interests weren’t reflected in the arts. They wanted to make something for their peers and came up with the idea of publishing a book.
“Over several weeks they engaged in creative activities to inspire and write their story. The group is always filled with personal stories about being pregnant, giving birth and the highs and lows of becoming a new parent, which is such an intense, life-changing experience. These wove their way into Ellie’s Egg.”
In a playful session with poet Leyla Josephine involving a ball pit filled with poetic words, rhyming games and a huge Gathering Drum, the group began to craft the language of the book.
Scottish picture book writer Debi Gliori visited the group to talk about her career as a children’s book author, and Kate Charter’s illustrations are based on visuals created by mother and baby collaborations in which they coloured in her sketches using crayon and watercolour on huge rolls of coloured paper layed out on the floor.
“The group are rightly very proud of what they have created and this reading is a wonderful opportunity for them to share it with other children”, added Hazel.
Rhona Matheson, Chief Executive of Starcatchers, said: “Expecting Something provides a weekly safe space to young mothers to spend time with their babies and peers whilst engaging in artist-led creative activities. Our hope is that this sustained engagement with arts and creativity will help empower these young parents, boost their confidence, and help them forge new relationships and develop strong bonds with their babies.”
Expecting Something works with new, young and expectant parents under 25 and their babies in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh and Lochgelly, Fife, providing a weekly safe space to spend time with their babies and peers whilst engaging in artist-lead creative activities.
The sessions take place on a weekly basis at WHALE Arts in Wester Hailes and the Lochgelly Centre, Lochgelly. They are led by artists who have experience in working with young children and adults alike.
Expecting Something is funded by Creative Scotland, The Scottish Government and the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland and works in partnership with WHALE Arts, On Fife and the Family Nurse Partnership, Lothians.