Sunday, 8 June 2014

Inspiring ABM Conference #ABMConf14

My alarm woke me, confused and half asleep at 4am yesterday.  Trying not to interrupt the peaceful snores of my family, I dressed, grabbed my already packed bag and slipped out to the car.  A short drive to the train station found me Birmingham bound, ready for this year's Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) conference.

I didn't go last year.  I had not long qualified as a Mother Supporter and had a lot on my plate with a 6 month old baby.  But I heard such amazing things that as soon as the tickets went on sale I put my order in.  Although I have had my reservations - booking a day that cost me an 8 hour train journey and a day away from my babies - I was foolish.  It was amazing.

The speakers for the day were just...timely.  Arriving at the exact moment I needed to them,

Naomi Stadlen - "Can't you pull your socks up darling?" Grandmothers, supportive and not-so-supportive.
Naomi made me see the grandmother through the mother's eyes and vice versa.  You can understand that some can make errors of judgement and the repercussions can be huge.

Anne Harper - Connecting the dots - social media and breastfeeding support in the C21st
Well, here I am with my blog associated to Facebook and Twitter.  I use breastfeeding support sites online and have done since before I became a mother.  Of course I also love the 'Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths' site so it is wonderful to put a face to a name.

Louise Hunter - Teenage Mothers who breastfeed :exiled on the Postnatal ward, exiled at home.
I sympathise hugely with young mothers, but what I took from this talk was that I also empathised.  I may have been in my twenties when I became a mother, but I was still naive, afraid and vulnerable.  We can learn so much from these strong young ladies.

Sarah Oakley - The Sharp End - Rising to the challenge of supporting mothers with tongue-tied babies
I have come across a few cases of tongue tie.  It is something that I find fascinating - it can have such an impact and cause such heartache.  With 1 in 10 affected it seems so important to raise the profile of this condition and ensure support.

Hollie McNish - A story from birth to work
I have been subscribed to Hollie's YouTube channel for a while.  She is just amazing.  The room was silent, except when filled with laughter.  She made me laugh and she filled me with emotion.  I hope she gets her book deal :)

Along with these speakers were a host of fascinating exhibitors, who were all so helpful, informative and friendly.

So, an emotional, inspiring day.  Really, at times it made me feel sick with excitement and emotion (and the migraine I nursed all day).  I arrived home at half past nine exhausted, emotional, excited and dying to go next year. Oh, and I'm writing again, with the quiet passion I had at the start.

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