This weekend I made the 4 hour round trip to Whitstable to go the Carmen Pagor IBCLC’s #fillyourcup day with the wonderful Zainab Yate and Lindsey Hookway as guests of topic. I’m still getting over the anxiety of the whole event as I struggle being away from my family and my comfort zones. Luckily, I knew many of the people attending any way, and I was flanked by La Leche League Leaders too so had my comfort zone with me in effect. I also have a great but long-distance friendship with Zainab Yate. Zainab and I have met on a number of occasions to do with breastfeeding.
Zainab is the “go to” person for Nursing Aversion and Agitation (she’s got a support group and has a support course too). Having experienced this herself and not finding any information when she searched, she began a long and fruitful journey of discovery which has helped thousands of women finally put a name to at times very scary experiences they had gone through when breastfeeding their children. I can tell Zainab has a book in her we’ve just got to get the energy and time to get it done (if anyone knows were more energy comes from when you are a parent let me know)
The day started with tea and some sweet treats many of which were vegan which is great and catered to everyone pretty well. We had group discussions with Lyndsey Hookway and Zainab at the “helm”. Lyndsey is the author of “holistic sleep coaching” a new to the scene book aimed at health professionals to guide them on how to advise parents who are often at their wits end in terms of sleep and their kids. Lyndsey runs a 14-week course for professionals to take which includes case study work and weekly webinars and then gives the title of holistic sleep coach.
Carmen’s house is a beautiful space. It felt safe. We covered the topics of sleep and aversion with conversation running in different directions with ease and before I knew it, we were at lunch time.
Lunch was two different vegan soups with bread (Carmen’s husband is a very skilled baker so we were treated well in this area).
Lunch ended and we went back to our seats. We introduced ourselves at my request as having a knowledge of who was in the room really helped in terms of networking and addressing people according to their ability. There were many IBCLCs as well as tongue tie practitioners, breastfeeding councillors and birth workers (other professionals too with amazing skills). We continued the conversation around sleep and ideas of things to introduce with the parents who really want some sleep strategy ideas and are at the end of their tether.
Zainab spoke about the different cohort groups she has identified that might experience nursing aversion and agitation. There was a group that might score higher on a test called an ACE score, these individuals may well have had traumatic childhood’s, a cohort group who had experienced sexual assault, a cohort group who were highly stressed and a group who were pregnant or tandem feeding. There may well be other groups of mothers but so far Zainab has identified these and is working at collecting relevant information about them to potentially help in the future. Every time I hear more about it, it makes sense. I experienced nursing aversion which can be a really strong scary and powerful experience so it’s a topic close to my heart and I see many women enduring it in my daily work.
The event was an excellent way to meet some people I’ve only been lucky enough to meet online so far. I wish I had more time with them to talk in an even smaller environment and look forward to doing that in the future. This connection of my peers in the larger community means a lot to me. I feel we can do bigger and better things by being connected like this. I want us to all connect to gather ideas and energy to make a difference in the breastfeeding world especially with all of our skills. I want those women who start out wanting to breastfeed to be able to do that and feel we might all hold the collective key to make that possible.
The travel to the day made it hard for me to unwind into things I felt but, I have been getting over a virus that seems to be causing havoc to my vocal cords and giving me the feeling like I’m dragging a ton weight around my head currently so that is probably a contributing factor. Sadly, my cup doesn’t feel filled but I can fully see how it will and does fill other peoples. (Please don’t take this as a negative think I’m just not 100%)
Carmen organised the day beautifully, we had little goodie boxes given to us at the end too which was a lovely touch. We also had tea and cake brought to us as the day was coming to a close which was lovely.
I wonder if there will never be enough hours in the day for me to talk or listen about these topics because they for some reason mean so very much to me. I am so privileged to be able to even be part of these conversations and I must never forget that. These link ups and talks all mean something, they make us better at our passion.
Thank you, Carmen, for organising and hosting the event, thank you everyone for going to it and thank you for reading this.
*This event cost me £100 to attend plus travel.