Friday, November 9, 2007

LLL of MO Conference

Last weekend I enjoyed the LLL of MO conference in Columbia. It was really well put together and I enjoyed myself thoroughly (I also got thoroughly exhausted--it was a packed schedule--and came home with a nasty, wracking cough). I "won" some cool stuff in the silent auction and raffle too--such as a Peekaru baby carrier cover and a Moby Wrap. And, the conference tote bags are cool--nice black and red with a stylized line drawing of several mothers and babies in a half circle. Really very nice. It was great to see old friends and get to know new ones better and also to meet people face-to-face who I only know through email. Face-to-face makes SUCH an important difference and is so much more real than "virtual" connections are.

I presented my session on Celebrating Pregnancy through Art and it went well. This was the first time I've presented at a conference and it was a delight. My session did not have many participants, but more than had originally signed up for it, so that was encouraging. The picture here is of the display board I made of different types of art during pregnancy (most of which hang on my wall in real-life. This was like a portable birth art wall for me! The picture below is of figurines created during this same session at the FoMM retreat in Sept. I didn't take a photo of the figures from the LLL conference session.

My favorite sessions were those presented by Diane Wiessinger. She gave an amazing session called "Watch Your Language" that was about how we talk about breastfeeding. An example, using the word "special" to describe breastfeeding--a "special bond" a "special nursing corner" etc. and also using the word "perfect" (which communicates something that isn't reasonable or that "real" people can't do or live up to). She encouraged us not to "glorify breastfeeding" like this. Breastfeeding ISN'T special, it is NORMAL. A breastfed baby has a "normal bond" with its mother! Human milk isn't the perfect food for babies, it is the NORMAL food for babies. I just loved it. I love language and hidden "messages" in our words. I could go on about this presentation for hours. It was great. She also gave a meaningful talk about "Changing Thoughts on Latch" that was really important.

I also really enjoyed a session by Deanna about "Following Your Passion While Raising Your Family." One of the insights I re-had following this session was whether I would prefer people to say after I die, "She did everything she was supposed to do, "OR, "she was joyful." I feel like much of the way I live my life would garner me the first response--I did everything I was supposed to do (but didn't have a whole lot of fun doing it...) WAH! I need to do some serious thinking and reorganizing and re-prioritizing. I'll keep you posted as to what develops...First thing might to reconsider the "serious" thinking and do some "joyful" thinking instead, LOL! ;-)

The link was made several times during this conference (by both headliner speakers--Diane & then Dia Michels) about the need to more explicitly link birth with breastfeeding. As Dia said, there needs to be a new word, "birthandbreastfeeding." Sometimes in LLL settings I feel apologetic about my passion for birth or like I need to make sure to keep it low key, so it was nice to have it affirmed that the connection is undeniable. The two are inextricably linked and it DOES matter how and where you give birth. As Diane said, "It's the birth, silly!"

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