Hobnobbing with heroes

I’m leaving on a jet plane. Don’t know when I’ll be back again!

Yes! This mama is heading off to the bright lights and big city of London. Two whole days by myself. Minus kidlets. What am I going to do, you ask?

Visit the British Museum. Eat sushi. Sleep all night long. Chat with friends and not be interrupted. And the main event… two full days at… a parenting conference!


I know, madness! Time away from children – to spend all my time learning and talking and thinking about them!

But when I heard the line-up I knew I had to be there. All of my birth and parenting heroes were lined up over two days. Dr Michel Odent, Naomi Aldort, Naomi Stadlen, Dr Margot Sunderland, Francoise Barbera Freedman and Sally Lomas of  Birthlight and Dr Kerstin Uvnas Moberg.

Each of these people, through their books and work, has personally transformed my views of parenting and motherhood, empowered and equipped me with knowledge and skills which have since become second nature to me.

My path to “aware” parenthood started in Cambridge, in the summer of 2005, with the yoga for pregnancy antenatal classes run by Sally Lomas. Then my mother bought me a copy of JUNOmagazine – which I devoured and promptly subscribed and ordered three back issues – in finding JUNO I knew I had come home.

In preparing for birth I read my stepmother’s copy of Michel Odent’s book Birth Reborn. A few years later he was the first interview I ever did!

I read Naomi Stadlen’s book What Mothers Do (Especially When it Looks Like Nothing) religiously when each of my babies were infants on the breast, bathing in its loving wisdom. It is my standard gift to new mama friends.

As my son was entering toddlerhood Dr Margot Sunderland released her seminal book The Science of Parenting which taught me how to deal with tantrums, and reassured me with brain science that I was doing the right thing not leaving my child to cry-it-out.

Naomi Aldort is on every one of my friend’s bookshelves and her SALVE method has helped me.

And finally, Kerstin Uvnas Moberg, who wrote one of the most beautiful science books I have ever written and transformed my understanding of myself, my biology and the influence of oxytocin in all areas of our lives. I have just written a feature on it The biochemistry of peace and love over on the JUNO website.

So when I was offered a ticket to go and help run the JUNO stand at the LIGHT ON PARENTING conference, I almost bit dear Saffia’s hand off!

Two days of soaking up ideas. Heaven! Two days of talking shop (aware-parenting-changing-the-world-loving-our-children-shop!), learning new tools, making new like-minded acquaintances, getting inspired and perhaps setting up some interviews for future articles.
There is one other ultimate hero of mine who will not be there: Ina May Gaskin, whose books have been with me in the preparation for every birth. But I shall be seeing her the weekend before in Dublin at the Home Birth Association Conference (see my recent interview with her in the Irish Examiner and the best bits that were too racy for print over at The Happy Womb) – where I shall also be selling JUNO!

Happy days! Hobnobbing with heroes! What would make it even more incredible is if you would join me there – and then I can meet you too! Do say you’ll come!
Come and listen to Dr Michel Odent, Naomi Aldort, Naomi Stadlen, Dr Margot Sunderland and many other luminaries at the Light on Parenting conference in central London, 5th and 6th May. For more details visit www.lightonparenting.com

Ina May Gaskin will be at the Home Birth Association’s 30th anniversary conference, Louis Fitzgerald hotel, Dublin, 29th April. www.homebirth.ie 
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