Hi friends! Hoo boy, do I have things to write about!
A few days after I returned from my California vacation, I went to a birth conference, hoping to learn and make some connections to start me on my doula journey. This was my first real life jump into the birthing world as a profession and I was terrified! However! That feeling quickly washed away when I was greeted by so many welcoming and cheerful women who were knowledgeable and inspiring. Most of the attendees were doulas, public health nurses and midwives. The conference was the first to be hosted by the woman at Vesta Parenting, after not wanting to travel long distances to see some of their favorite speakers they decided to invite them all to London and host their own conference! Some of the more recognizable speakers (at least, the ones that I have heard of before the conference) included Robbie Davis-Floyd, Dr. Jack Newman, Dr. James McKenna and Gloria Lemay.
I chose to only attend one of the four day conference ( there was also a pre-conference, which was a full day on the topic of the Anthropology of Reproduction) and, after arriving and starting my first session, regretted not attending for the full weekend. I was trying to be modest and not jump into four full days of jam packed birthing fun (which sounded extremely intimidating at the time) and chose to go on the day that best fit in with my future goals. I’ll never make that mistake again! I’m already researching other conferences happening in the area before the end of the year.
The session that I felt correlated best to my future was a two-part “Birth Companions” session taught by Rivka Cymbalist. I learned so much information and could have seriously sat there and listened to her tell stories all day (this was a running theme throughout the day.) After that, half of my day was over! I had a hard decision to make for the next session and ultimately decided to listen to Dr. Jack Newman speak about Breastfeeding and Adult Health, as I had never heard him before and he’s Kind of a Big Deal in the birthing world. Next up was possibly the one session I was most excited about, because it was being taught by Robbie Davis-Floyd herself and was a topic I was ultra-interested in, Ritual in the Hospital: Giving Birth the American Way (pictured above.) I purchased her book, which she happily signed for me:
And there went all of sessions! The topics for the day that I was really sad to have missed:
- Placenta with Gloria Lemay
- Norms with Dr Jack Newman
- Childbirth – Whose Decision? with Hélène Vadeboncoeur
- The Amazing Female Pelvis with Gloria Lamay
Unfortunately, I couldn’t be at more than one place at a time. Number one disappointment with the above list was never being able to hear Gloria Lemay speak. Until…
After the sessions were over, there was a one-hour panel discussion on Cesarean and VBAC ( that is: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) where I was privileged to hear not only Gloria Lemay and Hélène Vadeboncoeur but I was introduced to Sheila Stubbs and was able to listen to all of their back-stories featuring c-sections and the VBAC births that followed and was truly moved by their strength. All three women were so different, but were able to convey a similar message. Gloria was absolutely hilarious and told a really charming story about placenta (you had to be there), Hélène was so very sassy and I loved the deep burnt orange pants she was sporting (I couldn’t not mention them!) and Sheila had me tearing up with her moving story of a home birth after she was told by her doctor that she only had a small chance of ever having a “normal birth.” After her experience, she decided to write a book, get it copied herself locally and sell it by word of mouth. And, I bought one!
And now, for something you’re more used to:
Hey, look at that! Not only are there are couple more things that are checked off, I also added some fun bonus items! Now we’re into October and I am inching closer and closer to my workshop date and getting increasingly excited (and nervous!) about it.
In the doula spirit,