Free therapeutic art sessions help women express feelings about IVF
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
IVF treatment is something many couples undergo in secret - but a therapeutic art group in Ipswich aims to help them express their feelings.
Artist Marie Grueberova, who has herself suffered the grief of two miscarriages, is running sessions to offer women a chance to express themselves during and after IVF, pregnancy loss and grieving.
"A lot of people don't tell anyone what they are going through," she said. "IVF is long and strenuous, and it is a sensitive subject.
"It's very private. Often everyone around you is getting pregnant, and you want to be happy for them."
She added there were also so many social media images of babies and happy families, which can be hard for someone going through the lonely process of IVF.
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Creative Nest art sessions are run by the registered charity Perspectives Ipswich at the Fletcher Centre in Crescent Road, and are free to attend.
Those taking part can use many different artistic techniques, from painting to collages and clay work.
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"In my own experience, art becomes a universal language when no words can be found," Marie said.
"Everyone's experience is different - there are women who are at different stages in their journey, women who can't conceive, those who have conceived and had an early miscarriage, or a later miscarriage or stillbirth."
Marie, 40, is originally from the Czech Republic, where she studied art and worked as a primary school teacher, and has lived in Ipswich for many years.
She has personally undergone three IVF treatments, resulting in two pregnancies, but sadly suffered a miscarriage on each occasion.
Marie trained as therapeutic arts counsellor at the Tobias School of Art and Therapy in East Grinstead, which takes a holistic approach.
Perspectives started offering the art sessions last year, and at first they had wanted to have a support group, but clients then requested one-to-one sessions. Women often come along with their partners or a supporter.
Marie has previously created an exhibition, The Grieving Mother, which she says "portrays an eight-year long journey of coming to terms with a child loss caused by a miscarriage."
She said: "I had to process it first before I was ready to share it. It's got to be the right time to share your story. I wanted to make something out of it.
"As soon as I opened up to my friends, I found out how many people have had a miscarriage but had not talked about it. It's a big taboo."
The exhibition was previously held in Kesgrave Arts Studio and St Mary's Church in Mendlesham, and is now looking for a new home. Marie also plans to publish her artwork from the exhibition as a book in the new year, and is currently working on art for a second exhibition.
If you would like to book a Creative Nest art session, search for @CreativeNestPerspectives on Facebook for more details.