,  • June 12, 2018

Lauren McLaughlin

90% of new mothers admit to feeling isolated and lonely after having children and with young mums even more vulnerable to social isolation, it is no wonder that 49% of mothers aged 18-25 feel lonely often, or always.

It is a situation I myself am very familiar with. Catapulted into motherhood from a chaotic and unstable childhood, I found myself alone with a baby, surviving on benefits at the age of 20. My confidence had hit rock bottom, I didn’t know any other mums my age and I felt too insecure to join any mum and baby groups. With no social media or smartphones back then, I had lost touch with most of my friends, days and weeks would go by and I wouldn’t have a conversation with another adult. Those early days just melded into one another as I breastfed, and cleaned, and changed, and bathed and pushed the buggy around Leith in a haze of loneliness. Art gave me a purpose beyond motherhood, and by setting myself small creative projects, I found something I could achieve that was just for me, in turn, slowly improving my mental wellbeing.

My own journey has not been an easy one, and I faced regular childcare barriers as a young mum trying to access education right through to working professionally in the creative industries. Thirteen years later as a professional artist, curator and creative educator, I founded Spilt Milk with the mission of ‘making motherhood visible’ and finding innovative solutions to the barriers mothers face in both art and society.

Not only are mothers hidden and isolated in our community, but mothers in the visual arts industries are vastly underrepresented and unsupported. Spilt Milk promotes the work of professional artists who are mothers through our tailored membership network, exhibitions, workshops and events. Profits from the venture are re-invested into creative programmes for vulnerable mothers living in Leith and North Edinburgh.

While many parent and family opportunities focus on the needs of the child, we believe that the wellbeing of the mother is paramount to the wellbeing of the entire family. Our focus is to provide the resources for mothers to creatively express themselves, meet others and improve their mental wellbeing therefore quality childcare is crucial to everything we do.

Find out more and help us in our mission at www.spiltmilkgallery.com


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