This project 'EXPRESS YOURSELF. A 'MAMOIR' (exhibition and book) is about life. Giving life. Almost dying whilst giving life. Having to find a way to feed the new life, when the new life doesn't want to take the natural food from his mother.
'When Jo's baby refused to breastfeed, she documented the task of Exclusively Expressing (pumping milk) as a way to make it all a little more bearable.
Finally a brutally honest and comedic account of what happens to women attempting to maintain whoever they once were with the perfect mum you're 'meant to be'. Jo manages to debunk the myth of the magic of motherhood. A painful process that led to the amazing discovery that there are no rules, we are all warriors'.
Having a baby is quite shocking. You think you're prepared, but you're not, and then things just keep on NOT going to plan.
Two and a half years ago, our son was born.
It was a dreadful labour followed by a very unfortunate ripping of child from womb and consequently the breaking of womb in the process (Matt said that he was glad of his time working as a butcher, it helped him process the visuals). ANYWAY, it turned out that our baby boy wasn't into suckling from his mother. It also turned out that I didn't have any milk.
When the morsel of milk did finally arrive he was STILL not up for it so I chose to 'pump'.
I 'expressed' using a manual hand pump every 3 hours all around the clock for 6 months. It wasn't an enjoyable experience and I felt all sorts of weird things about it all like failure/judgement/insufficient/incapable (there is another word beginning with 'in' but I CANNOT think what it is! Anyway you get what I mean).
After the shock of the birth I tried to 'normalise' my life as much as possible, to try and get myself back on track, so that I could be of use to my baby and my partner. The fact my baby wasn't breastfeeding broke my balls so badly that I was about to start spiralling downwards into a pit of darkness.
In an attempt to stop this from happening I went straight back into doing what I loved - rehearsing/recording/writing shows so I could wear fabulous costumes etc.
So I went on a journey to document myself in these various situations whilst pumping.
I posted them on instagram on my personal account and I received a lot of love. This was way before the celebs were double pumping with their electric machines - I had to go manual because we live on a boat and don't have a mains electricity. Although I did find one that took batteries but it didn't 'suck' as well as the handheld - anyway you can read ALL about that in the book!
YES! The book.
So I took the photos (there are 12 that I have selected), then someone suggested I should do an exhibition. So I started working on that and I started working on writing a little brochure - what I like to call an 'aide memoir' not because I am middle class (proper Cornish bird me, mud under my nails and potatoes coming out of my ears, not quite but I know I sound posh, I'm really not, my Cornish accent was 'theatre-d' out of me by the age of 12), anyway yes! Brochure/aide memoir, to explain the situation around each photograph but once I started writing I couldn't stop and now it is a fairly massive and detailed account of how I lost and found myself in the new world of motherhood.
The whole point behind this project is that I wanted to share with other mothers and all humans, that this new 'mum-dom' business IS hard, and that we should reach out when we are struggling. I wanted to remind all of us that there are NO rules, and no one has a right to judge us. I wish I had taken on this realisation a lot earlier, I would've done a few things very differently. So I wanted to be a positive force on other people who maybe haven't said, out loud, that they're having a hard time too.
We are all in it together. warriors-esses.
And so to make all this happen I just need to raise some funds.
This is for -
- Printing the photographs (and a budget for getting them hung) for a free standing exhibition which is happening on Sat the 31st Aug and Sun 1st Sept in London.
- A print run of hardback copies of the book to launch at the exhibition.
- To self publish so that the book is available online.
This whole process is totally petrifying for someone who is dreadful for asking people for help. But everything is pushing me to get better at it. And so here I am. I feel that this is a pertinent issue for this day and age where we are all starting to talk about Birth and Motherhood a lot more.
The Exhibition and book launch is on Saturday the 31st August 10am-10pm
And Sunday the 1st September 10am-6pm.
At Theatre Deli Bar Exhibition Space, 2 Finsbury Ave, London EC2M 2PA.
And this is my website - expressyourselfbook.com
Thank you so much for your time and I will hope to see you there amongst the 'pumping' photos, with glass of wine in one hand and toddler in the other.
Jo, Matt and Billy Beau xxxxx
Risks and challenges
The Risks and Challenges section - I have to fill this in.
The ENTIRE thing is a risk no?
Anyway I guess it is about making sure I have all bases covered, shipping and packaging considered, the printing, the research, the budgetting - it is all accounted for in my mind.
The exhibition IS scheduled, and I will move mountains - this is one of the biggest mountains in which I have had to scale thus far - to get this off the ground.
The creative content is there and finished and ready to see the world, the actual work is about how to get it out there, and this is why I am here.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)