Wow. What an amazing pair of launch party "Make Dates" for Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves at MK Gallery!
Thank you so much to all the mums who came and shared their stories, jumped in and got creative, and spent precious time celebrating mothers together.
Take a peek at some of the gorgeous pictures taken by the wonderful Andra Alexander, and hear what we all got up to...
When mums began to arrive at our evening Mums' Make Date, they were nervous about sharing their stories. Many had no idea what to expect!
Mums eased ourselves in with a bit of a look round the exhibition, which included images and stories collected by Proshanti, screens displaying I'm a Mum and a... photos, words collected from mothers around the UK, and a beautiful quilt made by local mums.
After getting creative together, we settled down to hear our Mums' Poem re-created by Caroline Davies, and to watch some My Mum Story films - five honest, moving and heartfelt stories from brave mums, including me!
Each film is made up of just 10 photos that capture the core of each mums' mothering journey, and 20-30 seconds of words for each image - find out more below, watch the films, and come and join us at our next event! Browse through some of the material collected at MK Gallery here.
Soon we were all busy chatting and making Mama Mash-Ups (we'll be sharing these on the website soon...)
Then it was time for the My Mum Story sharing. Some mums read their words over their images, some busked their way through (erm, me...) and some introduced their films - whatever worked best for each of us.
I spoke about how motherhood had challenged my relationship with my husband, what I'm learning from my kids, and the things that I still struggle with every day (watch it here).
Hannah Kitchen shared her experience of parenting her two daughters, one with autism: on the experience of arriving in 'Holland' when you thought you were going to 'Italy', and how having children has transformed the way she sees the world (watch it here).
Su Mumford talked honestly about the experience of parenting three boys, including twins - the unexpected challenges, joys and more (watch it here).
We ended with a wonderful reading from poet Caroline Davies. She started with a poignant poem about her own mother, and then shared her process to create a wonderful kenning from some of the submissions from mums worldwide to the Join Our Mums' Poem. We'll be sharing that here with you very soon. At each venue, another poet will curate their own poem from our words, so add a line to our big communal poem right now!
At the end of the evening, we couldn't stop talking to each other and sharing our stories - the pain and challenges, the joys, the way we related to what others had said. The feedback from mums was amazing - how they felt inspired and celebrated, moved and honoured. Mums said they finally felt normal and glad it wasn't just them, they felt better, exhilerated and wonderful. No longer invisible.
It was an incredible feeling to know that in that moment we had achieved our ambitions for Story of Mum, that bringing mums together to get creative and share our stories can impact on mothers' lives in a truly positive way. Come and join us at our next event, on your computer or somewhere in the UK...!
A huge thank you to Victoria and the brilliant team at MK Gallery, Andra for her wonderful photos, Caroline for her poetry, Roshmi, Su, and Amy for all their help in gathering stories and entertaining children and mums. Thank you to Claire for making fabulous Identity Parades with mums, Su again for collecting I'm a Mum and a... photos, and Jane and her team of mums for the stunning quilt and stories (we'll be sharing those here soon too). Last but not least, thank you to all of the mothers who shared their stories, baked cakes, got creative and celebrated motherhood with us.
Tomorrow we'll tell you a bit about our Family Make Date too... what a weekend!
If you're free this Saturday 18 May, come and join our Mums' Stories event at MK Gallery. Simply email 10 mothering photos that mean something special to you to [email protected], and book in for a slot to turn these into your very own My Mum Story.
We would love to see you on the exhibition tour. Find out about the latest events on our exhibition page. Visit and join in with the online exhibition here. And if you'd like to host a virtual exhibition tour stop on your website, we'd love to have you - just let us know!