About Us

This is a not-for-profit event, created by four mothers, two of whom are also healthcare professionals. To contact us please email growfamilies@gmail.com

Our mission is to tackle the postnatal information that desperately needs covering for new families. To explore expectations and evidence around the early days with baby. To keep ticket prices low, with no expectation of making a profit, in order to open up the event to as many people as we can. To ensure that support for the event comes from ethical organisations and those who share our interest in evidence based information and family wellbeing. To give new families the confidence to face the challenges ahead.

Helen Calvert


Helen is a mother of two, former marketing executive and now a parent advocate and social media campaigner. Helen lives in Cheshire with her husband Phil and sons Edward and David. She runs a private Facebook group for UK mums, and campaigns for better breastfeeding support on paediatric wards under the hashtag #hospitalbreastfeeding (hospitalbreastfeeding). Helen is also part of the #MatExp (maternity experience) campaign, and is Chairman of her local playgroup, Raglan Road Preschool.  Helen blogs at Heart Mummy Musings and brings together all of her projects here at the heartmummy connection: https://heartmummy.co.uk/

Elena Abell


Elena works as a Business Unit Director for healthcare communications company Watermeadow Medical in Witney, Oxfordshire. Elena’s background is molecular biology having studied to PhD level at Imperial College London. Elena became interested in the communication and understanding of information relating to parenting and babycare when she had her first baby, Benjamin, in 2012. Surprised at the poor quality of much of the ‘expert’ parenting advice in mainstream books and magazines, she teamed up with the Growing Families committee to support with disseminating sensible, sensitive and importantly, evidence-based information to new parents and parents-to-be. Elena lives in Cheltenham with her husband John, 4 year old Benjamin and brand new baby Jocelyn. She (occasionally!) has time to write articles for her blog at www.trustyourbaby.co.uk and is also a qualified babywearing consultant having trained with one of the Growing Families expert speakers, Victoria Ward at the School of Babywearing.

Vanessa Aparicio-Hancox

Version 2

Vanessa has been involved in healthcare for the past 29 years, as a nurse, a lecturer & later in Specialist Community Public Health. She has worked in a wide range of settings in the UK & abroad, but her heart lies with children & families.

For the last 10 years her focus has been advocacy, preparation for parenting & life as a family, leading to the formation of Family Landscapes in 2015. Family Landscapes is an organisation encompassing her deepest values, linking with a range of smaller charities & organisations and providing support, signposting & ongoing care to families.

With emotional health & wellbeing of children & their parents central to everything she does, Vanessa supports national campaigns to improve maternity services (#MatExp) for all women & babies, #hospitalbreastfeeding, the improvement of care standards & education about infant feeding in hospitals, as well as a range of community health projects for families.

Vanessa lives in South East England with her daughter, wife & cat! She is a qualified Infant Massage Teacher, an exponent of positive touch & movement play for all children & passionate about the importance of human connection.

Emma Jane Sasaru


Emma Jane is an NHS infant feeding support worker, blogger and perinatal mental health survivor and campaigner. She campaigns to raise awareness of perinatal PTSD and birth trauma after suffering for many years following the birth of her first daughter. Emma Jane runs Unfold Your Wings, a place of support and hope. She also helps train health professionals on the effects of PTSD and birth trauma on families, as well as working nationally with the #MatExp campaign and with her local trust to improve maternity services and access to perinatal mental health services. Emma Jane has a particular focus on families who experience neonatal care. She blogs about parenting and her journey of recovery from PTSD at Loving Baby. Emma Jane lives in the Midlands with her two daughters.