Fourteen, Photo Oxford Exhibition
Motherhood is a series of photographs that reflect and are inspired by my own experiences of becoming a mother during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You should sleep when the baby is sleeping.”
This is something every mum has heard more than once during their pregnancy or new-born days. The reality is very different.
Linking with the exhibition theme of Fourteen, I asked Oxfordshire mothers who have had their babies over the pandemic if I could photograph them for fourteen minutes during their day. My initial concept was to document mums relaxing or doing something for themselves but what I have learnt from this project is that ‘modern mums’ don’t switch off; they feel that they need to keep proactive. Most mums expressed a feeling of guilt when they tried to sit down for a break. Whether it is tidying the house, doing the washing up, or continuing to work, the busy lifestyle never stops. My inspiration for this project came from one afternoon when I had just put my daughter in her cot for her afternoon nap, I made myself a cup of tea and sat in my armchair. As soon as the tea touched my lips she was crying. Up I was again and, before I knew it, my tea was cold. This moment made me realise how important just a few minutes to yourself is.
“I have lost my maternity leave because of Covid-19, I feel cheated in some ways.”
Loneliness, anxiety, lack of motivation and during Covid-19, shielding were just some of the symptom’s mothers have talked to me about during my shoots. From my own experiences Covid-19 made me attend midwife appointments on my own, labour examinations on my own and postnatal check-ups on my own. I feel the balance of motherhood has shifted now because of Covid-19. Mothers have spent so much time with their babies there seems to be a feeling of guilt when you want to have a bit of time to yourself.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the women who have let me document them for this body of work. The stories we have shared have been incredible and this body of work is dedicated to all of the ‘pandemic mums’ out there who have overcome this unusual time in our lives.
I feel like this section flows better from before the first paragraph?