Senior Lecturer and Illustrator, Illustration Animation BA(hons), Kingston University
This practice-based investigation looks to illuminate women's perceptions of what constitutes a 'normal' birth experience. Working in conjunction with the patients of Consultant Obstetrician Susanna Pereira in the setting of Kingston Maternity Unit, we are developing illustration practice to explore and communicate the range of birth experiences for the women.
'What is normal?' Susannah Pereira's extensive experience explains, 'Every birth experience is different.' Through documentary conversations with patients before, during, and after birth. We are looking to familiarise and empower women through female experience and perspective.
Factors that can contribute to a childbirth experience worse than expected are a lack of or inconsistent information. Increased knowledge about childbirth choices and confirmation experiences during childbirth from Dr. Pereira’s knowledge contributes to a better experience for the mother.
The project has documented a planned C-Section of a high-risk delivery in theatre, showing the preparation and process of the birth. The communication of the range of women's stories can enable choice and aims to familiarise the woman with a vast array of equipment; she may be confronted with alleviating the anxiety of the unknown and creating a sense of empowerment. The next stages of the research will document the three stages of vaginal and natural birth, scheduled and unplanned cesarean, vaginal birth after C-Section (VBAC), and scheduled induction.
While women wait for appointments during pregnancy, there is a lot of 'empty' time where phones are scrolled through, and screens in waiting areas can be utilised to explore and share these stories. This will benefit expectant mothers and fathers and the wider community- especially services users who first language is not English.
The nature of documentary illustration can facilitate understanding and communication to audiences whilst representative and accurate to the narrative. The ability to edit and focus allows a hierarchy of visual information to unfold to tell these stories to empower pregnant women.
Jane Webster is an illustrator and educator who coordinates and delivers the Level 6 study experience of the award-winning Illustration Animation BA (Hons.) Her lifestyle, food, and architectural illustration are commissioned nationally and internationally. Her hand-drawn, reportage illustration celebrates the food and travel industry, evoking a fresh visual sense of geographic and personal place. Jane’s research interests are centred around the communication of health issues to a wide range of audiences. Her illustration work is utilised across Editorial design, Advertising and Branding and packaging. As an educator, Jane promotes the importance of the communication of socially conscience and meaningful design practices.