Wednesday 16th of November saw Liverpool Lighthouse host the community performance of A Best for Baby Too Revolution to coincide with the Cheshire and Merseyside Baby Week 2022.
The performance was co-created with and performed by a group of refugee women, featuring them sharing their own and other women's experiences of having a baby in the UK asylum system.
The purpose of the work was to introduce the voices of women with lived experience into a conversation around improving the care provided to mothers and babies in the NHS, particularly looking to address the disparities experienced by women who are from ethnically diverse backgrounds or economically disadvantaged.
These disparities lead to statistics such as a 4 times higher maternal mortality rate for black women. For women in the asylum system the outcomes are even more stark. A report in 2011 revealed that although asylum seeking women make up only 0.3% of the women having babies in the UK, they represent 14% of the maternal deaths.
The performance, which included puppetry, music, verbatim accounts from asylum seeking women and creative and impactful use of statistics was a call to action for health and social care providers and society as a whole.
Here are some of the responses to the performances by health and social care professionals, community members and others:
“Thank you for organising such a powerful afternoon yesterday. The story in the performance was utterly heart-breaking.”
“It was an amazing performance from a group of amazing women.”
“The word most used after we’d watched the performance together was ‘privileged’. The performance was a combination of ‘tough minds and tender hearts’ at work, and included stories, data, songs, poetry and a call to action across seven detailed priority areas. The performers wove all these elements together, with skill and imagination, into a single piece of wonderful theatre. The women also sent out a clear message to remind us that good health and ante-natal care can be life-saving and life-changing.”
“Wonderful to witness this great piece. Great women highlighting key issues and supported by important partnerships.”
“Please can you pass on my deep and long-lasting thanks to the amazing women who were on the stage today; my life has been touched and my professional career affected profoundly by their sharing of their journeys.”
“Incredible piece, so well constructed and performed. Such a powerful evocative informative evening. Well done everyone involved. You were incredibly brave, and emotionally connected to the audience, getting across the experiences asylum seekers suffer.”
“What a powerful performance tonight highlighting systemic inequalities for mothers and babies in the asylum system ‘it is like drowning, then you think someone has got you, they pick you up by a helicopter then drop you in a river.’”