Dr Trudi Seneviratne on Transitions

Dr Trudi Seneviratne speaks about transitions, the theme of our current exhibition created in collaboration with the Mother and Baby Unit, Bethlem Royal Hospital looking at identity and the everyday, framed by the complex challenges experienced during the transition to motherhood.

Artists Esther Maxwell-Orumbie and Sarah Carpenter have been working with service users and staff to create lino and mono prints inspired by the ordinary artefacts and occupations of individuals’ past and present lives.

‘Having a baby is one of the most significant life events that people can experience. It is a time of transition for both parents and the new child, individually and as a combined dyad or family unit. For the mother, both pregnancy and the postnatal period is a time of enormous psychological  and physiological change. There are numerous factors that are part of the process of transition and change. Something as simple as whether the pregnancy is planned or not, in itself poses enormous opportunities to consider the impact that having a child can have. There may be huge individual, societal and cultural expectations that the transition into motherhood should be a happy one. Yet the psychological impact of the numerous transitions may be overwhelming and at times paralysing.

The Mother and Baby Unit is a place where women are able to  recover from the fragmentation that motherhood can cause, being nurtured themselves so that they are able to nurture themselves and their babies- a place for mothers, babies and their families to be supported through the complexity of this important time’


Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE is a Consultant Adult & Perinatal Psychiatrist, Clinical Director: Psychological Medicine & Lewisham Directorate at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and is the Chair for the Perinatal Faculty , Royal College of Psychiatrists.