My Conference Journal
Rochester MN USA
From LEAVEN, Vol 43 No. 4, October-November-December 2007, pp. 90-91
It's incredible how reading a copy of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING in 1985 impacted my life. What a journey! I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the seven Founders of LLLI.
Transitioning (or "reentering" as my co-Leader Beth Werven and I termed it) back to "normal" life after attending the 2007 LLLI Conference (without my family members), I find myself continuing to carry the reassuring and content rich Conference experience.
Just as I was determined to breastfeed my children, I decided in 2005 to attend the 50th Anniversary LLLI Conference. This journey began by putting very small amounts of money aside in a jar at the back of my closet. Unexpected family expenses had required our already stretched budget to tighten. Not much was being added to my savings jar, but my determination to attend the Conference remained.
I was a fortunate recipient of the Ripplewood Scholarship for the Conference registration fee, and received a second scholarship from the Minnesota/Dakotas, USA Area, which assisted with travel and lodging. Several of my co-Leaders suggested I go to Las Vegas, Nevada, USA when they learned that I had won an autographed copy (by all seven Founders!) of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING.
I didn't think things could get much better. I was wrong.
Being at the Conference with 3,000 registrants, 1,000 children, and 100 teenagers, in a city I had never been to before, seemed at times to be a bit overwhelming. Soon I was making incredibly intimate individual connections with people from all around the world. It was absolutely heartwarming and wonderful!
I found myself feeling a bit "star struck" as I saw, listened to, and spoke with a variety of authors of the books I often use as resources -- not to mention sitting in a "parlor visit" (which had a similar atmosphere as a Series Meeting) with two of the Founders! Under it all was the commonality that we each were parents, sharing our experiences and our passion for breastfeeding.
Thoughts and Quotes Paraphrased From My Conference Journal
First impressions in the International Ballroom on Opening Night
Marian Tompson, LLL Founder
Kim John Payne, MeD (Master of Education)
Nils Bergman, MD, MPH, PhD
Kittie Frantz RN, CPNP-PC
Robert Sears, MD (Dr. Bob)
Ina May Gaskin MA, CPM
Linda Smith BSE, FACCE, IBCLC
William Sears, MD, and Martha Sears, RN
Peter Hartmann, BrurSe, PhD
Jack Newman MD, FRCPC
Back home, I find myself pulling strength from my experience. Family always comes first; trust your instincts, listen to and follow children's cues, and honor/trust what the amazing body can do!