When I started opening up about my maternal mental health journey, I was met with responses from other women sharing similar stories, feeling the same feelings of shame and guilt and fear of being judged if they opened up about it. So, I decided I needed to make space for the conversation, to give the realities of pregnancy and motherhood a platform, and that is where the idea for GLOWING was born.
The first part of the project was an eight-week creative writing course for mums, run by me at The Miners Music and Arts Community Centre in Moston. The aim was to help other mums who have struggled with their mental health find a way to express themselves and experience some catharsis through writing and sharing their stories. Over the eight weeks, a community was created, the meetups became a highlight of the week and when the course was over, we decided we didn’t want it to end there. We’ve continued meeting up, and these amazing mothers will now be part of the ongoing process of creating the show, sharing their stories alongside mine in the show itself.
I found the start of the process challenging. It turns out writing when you only have a limited amount of childcare and a baby that does not sleep and a barely functioning brain, is almost impossible. It took a few months of getting used to not being with my baby and some mentoring sessions from the wonderful Laura Mugridge and Sophie Willan to realise I could relax and take the pressure off, using the time to be creative in whichever way felt right (sometimes that meant napping). From then on it started to come together and I’ve been working with a team of creatives to create GLOWING…
Candid, ferocious, funny and loud, Glowing debunks the myths that pregnant women are having the time of their lives and new mothers spend their days softly singing nursery rhymes to sleeping babies.
One thing Amy has always been sure of is that she wants to be a mother. She envisioned herself pregnant, in dungarees, doing yoga drinking a kale smoothy. The reality of constant nausea, exhaustion and midnight sausage rolls left her questioning, when does the glowing start?
9 months of pre-natal anxiety and several stitches later, Amy fell in love with the tiny human she’d created. But with no sleep, a national lockdown and a crying baby that refused to feed Amy found herself disillusioned with the version of motherhood we see so often in the media.
So, take an evening off from cleaning poo off your carpet or washing sick out of your hair to come to have a laugh, a nice drink and watch Amy and other mums from across Manchester work out why all mothers haven’t been crowned queen of the world in this unfiltered portrayal of motherhood.
About Amy Vreeke
With a background in stand-up comedy and a degree in contemporary performance, I now make, write, direct, facilitate and perform theatre. My last show ‘The Year My Vagina Tried to Kill Me’, co-commissioned by Contact and SICK! Festival, was a solo comedy piece that took a frank and funny look at living with endometriosis. I am a passionate advocate for women’s health and this theme runs through most of my work. Since having a baby, I’ve started writing regular blogs about navigating a chaotic life with a small human, which you can find on my website amyvreeke.com or follow me on Instagram @amyvreeke.
Keep an eye out
Glowing is a Contact commissioned show currently going through research and development, keep your eyes peeled on more updates as it develops.