'Light in Water' conference review 2016
The comments and evaluations that we have received on the Light in Water conference are a testimony to its overall success as an international event designed to raise awareness on the potential that water has for supporting parents to be and new parents through the Primal Continuum, from conception through to the early years. Thanks to Michel Odent, and to an increasing number of other scientists and practitioners, the Primal Continuum and its fundamental importance for health and well-being in the life span of individuals and across generations are now firmly part of our collective consciousness. Mothers to be and new mothers, fathers to be and new fathers, fetuses, newborns, babies and toddlers need to be able to relax and enjoy the process so that it can unfold for the best, before, during and after birth. The evidence fills hundreds of internet pages. But if we are sorely behind in terms of what is on offer to respond to the amazing brain imaging and links that clearly show the need for relaxation, play, closeness and love for long term healthy development, water may come to the rescue in many forms: at Girton College we were mostly concerned with being IN water but the properties of ez water or ‘structured’ water are relevant.
Thanks to all the water lovers who came to our conference, already knowing the power of what Wallace Nichols calls ‘the blue mind’. When we float pregnant women, assist laboring women in birthing pools or show parents how to help their babies enjoy being in water, all of us do much more than relieving pain or teaching techniques. The concept of “water parenting” potentially shape-shifts us into epigenetics wizards, practitioners who can optimize the subtle interactions between parents and babies and their cascades of implications. Not that we should let this go to our heads, or that we should tell parents this is what we are doing, because it could cause trouble and misunderstandings. But yes, WE know. And we need more pools like Beatriz’s Essesarte’s beautiful pool in Huaxaca. This is the future world welfare.
The conference reaffirmed two models that are at the core of Birthlight. One, that if the ideal Primal Continuum is broken at one stage or other due to circumstances usually beyond loving parents’ control, it can be patched, fixed and healed. Who’s had the planned conception, uterine life, blissful birth, stress-free babyhood that we are told build perfect brains? This is where the Birthlight nuggets (actually derived from yoga) come in handy: “no guilt, no shame, no blame”, and “it’s never too late, there is always a way”. In water, this happens more easily. We feel more and solutions surface to our conscious minds. All of us working with water in birth and with babies are cultural innovators, doing something that, except for the youngest among us, did not exist in this form when our parents were born. This conference stirred all the things we do besides ‘teaching baby swimming’. Thanks to the speakers working with families who came to share their inspiring practices.
A related model, that is part of our structure as a small non-profit organization with a worldwide outreach, is our celebration of difference within a shared vision. Our team, that came beautifully together in the preparation and delivery of this conference, includes fiercely independent people but we all strive to help each of us grow while contributing to a whole that’s bigger than the sum of its parts. I believe that these dynamics, as challenging as those of a large family, support our creativity and enrich our interactions with our friends and colleagues in other countries. Thanks to all those who came to Cambridge from far away. I hope you could feel our spirit of welcome to you, because it was genuine.
Resources to support the Primal Continuum in water are critically needed at this time. Keeping the conversations started at the conference going may be a small but meaningful ways to create new currents, counter-currents and waves.
In the coming weeks and months we will be uploading posts, images and articles on the Conference webpage and we hope this will help keep the conference ‘live’ and continue our ‘conversation’ (as Wallace Nichols put it) as we integrate those two days in Cambridge in our daily work in water. Please keep looking at the page www.lightinwater.org and send documents, thoughts or experiences you would like to share. Thank you!
Some feedback on the conference
‘Loved the presentations on the emotional aspects of learning and the water’
‘The bits that weren't so relevant were still very interesting to hear so I was happy to be there’
‘I really liked some presentations - others needed more relevant evidence and research.’
‘I personally learned so much about water parenting which I can now share with colleagues and clients’
‘There was so much sitting - having practical workshops, and the chance to have more space, to sit on the floor and move, would have been great.’
‘Thanks to all then birthlight it was a very enjoyable two days. Fantastic to talk so many interesting and positive people and get and opportunity to share thought and ideas in a supportive environment’
‘Thank you! Françoise who's quiet love and dedication shone through and to all the BL staff who were very helpful, warm and friendly. BL is clearly a leader in the field of primal health, birth and early parenting. Congratulations and bon continuation!’
Birthlight Founder and Director