I’m sure we started as we usually do… each offering our own strong opinions on whatever the latest news was, chatting about the trials & tribulations faced by many families we know or have been made aware of, as they make their journey to & through parenthood. From what I can recall, the conversation was peppered with passionate outbursts & strong declarations of what ‘should’ be happening to support them…. For those of you that know either or both of us, that’s no revelation!
So there we were, two like- minded souls creating the ‘new world order’ when Helen mentioned an idea she had had, something that had grown from deep within, from personal experience & from her very great passion…. An event, for families (old, new & those still on the way). I remember thinking “Yes! Yes! Yes!…. we can do this, it must happen, it will happen”, I think Helen may have laughed at me. But by the time we reached ‘the idea’ everyone else had left the restaurant, the chairs were on the tables & the floors were mopped (not sure when that happened?!) .. We were escorted out of the building into the dark night… reluctant to leave our animated conversation we stood in the cold November air & talked some more. When we parted ’the idea’ was fermenting in our brains….. By March 2015… we had settled it (& been escorted from the same pizza restaurant for a second time at midnight!)… by October we had our first face to face meeting with our new colleagues Emma Jane Sasaru & Elena Abell. The location this time was the lounge of a motorway hotel near Northampton & it was here, after much discussion (cake & coffee) that the name ‘Growing Families: facts, fiction & other stuff” was born.
Maya Angelou said “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”
Well, in order to do better, we have had to learn (a lot!), grow (a great deal!), make mistakes (many!), ask for help (often), make decisions, be fair & perhaps not always popular (it’s happened), not make judgements about others, be nice to each other even when frustrated, trust, be honest & acknowledge that in reality this wasn’t always going to go exactly to plan. How could it? We didn’t have an instruction manual & this conference of ours was a stranger to us, a living thing in which we have all invested….it is our baby. Yet, it was only when I sat down to write this first post that the penny finally dropped… the whole process from conception to infancy has been a journey & one for which we were not always prepared. Humans are social animals & our lives are interwoven with the relationships we form. As a new ‘family’ people have offered us well meaning advice, words of wisdom & plenty of opinions… but we have maintained our integrity & we have grown as parents, we chose our ‘parenting style’ a long time ago & we are holding fast to it. We have selected & been drawn to the people that form our ‘tribe’ as we take this journey & others have found us along the way. The naysayers have been heard & so have the countless kind & generous souls that are supporting us in our efforts to make this happen – from logo design to the listening ears – we are truly grateful.
June 1st marks the start of our blog series – 4 months & 6 days till we watch ‘Growing Families: facts, fiction & other stuff’ take its first steps into the big wide world (no hand holding). So we are going to make the most of our time with you & will be sharing thoughts from our speakers, sponsors & Growing Families friends as we myth bust, discuss facts and explore the topics relevant to parents today & the professionals who work alongside them.
Welcome to all, whether father, mother, grandparent, friend or doula, if you are deciding to become a family for the first time or are weaving together two families, if you work as a health care professional, or are just interested in learning more, please come in. Join us, read about the realities of becoming a family, share evidence-based information, promote choice, provide opportunities for conversation & support one another … Help families to grow in confidence, strength & love.
“Growing Families: Facts, Fiction and Other Stuff” is taking place in Manchester on Thursday 6th October 2016. For ticket price information and to book your place please click here.