Friday, October 12, 2012

Birth and Beyond Conference

Not long ago I attended the first 'Birth and Beyond Conference' in London, Ontario. It was a lovely inaugural conference- small but intimate, with the opportunity to engage the speakers personally and meet the organizers. I really enjoyed attending many of the sessions (not usually a luxury at most conferences) and visiting with other attendees.  I was lucky to attend co-sleeping, breastfeeding, attachment, post-partum depression, supporting through loss, creating a social movement, some breech dialogue, the pelvis...the list goes on! (James McKenna, Diane Weissinger, Rivka Cymbalist, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Gloria Lemay, Jack Newman, Teresa Pitman)  It was lovely to see my friends Heather and Shannon from Choices Childbirth Services too!

One unique thing the conference offered me was an Artist Reception.  This was a wonderful way to attract the attention of London by inviting the public to view the artwork, mix and mingle and hear my artist talk.  The Artist Reception was picked up by two local newspapers including this one: Birth, in all its primal beauty .I was so thrilled with the media interest! I was also interviewed by the Fanshaw radio station. I never got to hear this fully, but it was fun to do the interview.

As a result of all this press there were actually community members at the event! This was amazing. I gave a short artist talk about why I believe in visual communication and painting birth.  One highlight of the night for me was speaking with an elderly gentlemen who came to the reception because he read about my work in the paper. He explained he wasn't present for his own two children's birth- he was even told to go home- and when he read about my work he was so curious he felt he had to come down to see why someone would paint childbirth. Wow! We spoke quite a bit, he was interested in the tub and why someone would deliver in water. Pretty cool conversation :)

Another great moment was being told about an overheard conversation between two hotel staff. One youngish man exclaimed he would 'totally catch his wife's baby', to which the other replied, 'no way! gross!' The conversation went on, getting a little more explicit, but hey- it began a conversation!