Weaving a New Story
Weaving a New Story investigated how mindful textile work can support mothers with postnatal depression through a collaboration between clinical psychologist Dr Tamara Russell from King’s College London’s Department of Neuroimaging; textile artist and psychologist Liz Finegold; Cocoon Family Support; and the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence.
Working with Cocoon Family Support, seven new mothers who were experiencing moderate to severe postnatal depression were recruited for a pilot study. They participated in a 10-week course of mindfulness and textiles where they learned the importance of self-compassion and creativity and found a sense of community. Critically, they also learned to accept that it was OK to make mistakes when sewing and being creative and that the same lessons apply to being a mother.
Using a neurocognitive foundation to maximise the opportunities for these mums to train the neural networks needed to help them combat low mood and enhance rumination and judgement, the creative work was harnessed for maximum therapeutic effect.
Each of the participants contributed personalised squares to a quilt that became part of an art show for family and friends at King’s College London. The quilt was displayed at Guy’s Hospital and creative canvases produced by the group were exhibited in the Atrium of the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the IoPPN campus in Denmark Hill.
Two Master’s students from King’s gathered quantitative and qualitative data from the mothers participating in the project. A non-parametric test showed a significant decrease in depression with the average postnatal score lying just below the clinical cut-off boundary for postnatal depression (a score of 11 or higher on the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale). The graph on the right illustrates the EPND Scale score for the seven mums who took part in the pilot, before and after the 10-week intervention.
Weaving a New Story is a collaboration between King’s College London Department of Neuroimaging and textile artist Liz Finegold, and is supported by Cocoon Family Support and the university's Culture team.