Nine years ago right now, I was preparing to launch the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network. The group has met monthly since January 2009, hosting dozens of terrific speakers on topics relevant to health and wellness, parenting and natural living. This coming January, as the chapter celebrates its ninth anniversary, the group will convene a discussion reflecting on its past and envisioning its future.
The fourth annual Grow Your Health Festival of Gardening, Local Food & Wellness was a huge success for the event, and for me! It can be tough to bring kids along to an event that you are “working,” that is staffing a table as I was for Mindful Healthy Life, but the family-friendly nature of the event made the whole day really enjoyable! My kids learned a lot and had a great time. Read More
In a world that can easily feel cluttered with information, distraction, and “stuff,” the concept of “Simplicity Parenting” is gaining interest. Jenna Martin, the guest author for the post below, is an educational consultant who has been trained through curriculum developed by a colleague of Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids. Payne will be giving a keynote address at the October 24 Holistic Moms Network Natural Living Conference in Newark, New Jersey. Locally, on September 24, Jenna is presenting to the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network. She offers this guest post as a Simplicity Parenting primer.
This fall I’ve had the opportunity to attend several events at which I’ve learned great information on health and wellness that I’m using at home and at my children’s school. My reaction to these learning opportunities tends to be first elation, then the heavy weight of responsibility, thinking about all the things I need to research and do for my health and my family’s health, and then the desire to write about what I’ve learned, both to process it for myself and to get up here on the site.
And yet, what most of those events have had as their fundamental lesson is the importance of reducing stress! And the importance of cultivating an atmosphere of gratitude. So rather than bemoan the fact that I haven’t yet done in-depth reporting on all of these events, I’m going to shift my perspective to consider it a gift that I got to go to them and that I can share them with you in this fall recap.
Okay, I’ve rolled up my sleeves so here we go!
The fall health and wellness season launched for me at the end of the summer, when I gathered five other panelists to address the topic of “Supporting Children’s Emotional Health” with me at Holistic Moms Arlington/Alexandria’s August meeting.
We talked about positive parenting, calming ourselves and modeling healthy coping strategies for our children, food as trigger or healer, energy healing modalities (Reiki, Accunect and hypnotherapy) and bodywork (craniosacral therapy, chiropractic and massage), spiritual coaching, and more. We then did a daytime meeting repeat in October, at which got another demo of Accunect, read the children’s book Anh’s Anger and talked more about our challenges and shared strategies.
When the Freedom for Family Wellness Summit came to town in 2010, it was an impressive gathering, to say the least! For anyone interested in health and wellness, and especially the connection between healthy birth and future health or between a sound physical structure and optimal energetic wellness, this conference is not to be missed. The event is the third of its kind organized by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA), which runs 150 seminars a year for 4000 members and publishes the Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, reaching an audience of some 35,000.
I attended the 2010 summit with my two-month-old daughter, who had been born at home (a home VBAC, or HBAC) four years after her brother had been born via c-section. I had my mind blown by the summit speakers, and while I was staffing the Holistic Moms Network table, I got to talk with midwife extraordinaire Ina May Gaskin, who was at the table next to us with Safe Motherhood Quilt project and who also got her first chiropractic adjustment at the event!
The HMN table was also right behind the table of Dr. Jennifer Mercier whose knowledge about women’s pelvic pain helped me to understand that it was my c-section scar that was causing me discomfort since my daughter’s vaginal birth.
I’m excited to go back this year to the large gathering for lots of reasons (including to watch Dr. Jennifer’s new movie about fertility, which I hear she will be screening at her exhibit hall booth), and I hope to to cover at least a slice of what I learn this weekend to share here.
But with more than 30 speakers and 50 exhibitors, the possibilities are endless. If you’re into family wellness, this is a stellar conference to attend! There’s no telling when or if an event of this magnitude will return. Ina May is coming back this year and is joined by numerous other speakers including Business of Baby author Jennifer Margulis, Karen Brody, author of Birth the play and founder of the BOLD method, and Jeffrey Smith of the Institute for Responsible Technology and Genetic Roulette.
I had a chance to speak with ICPA Executive Director Dr. Jeanne Ohm who referenced the event’s subtitle: “Celebrating the Shift to Conscious Choice.” She said she senses a powerful shift of people wanting to reclaim their right to informed choice, and she hopes the event will empower parents and practitioners to believe that we have the right to make informed choices for our children.
A chiropractor, Dr. Ohm says the event promotes respect: “Whatever you want is what’s best for you and your family,” she says. When parents approach her unsure what to do about a medical decision, she tells them that a state of fear is not the place from which a parent should make any choice. She recommends you ask yourself what resonates with your highest core value.”
And she also recommends having a respect and trust for the intelligence of life. She’s written about the paradigm called “vitalism,” which she wants to describe now simply as “life is intelligent.” She referenced a saying of Einstein’s that the most important decision we’re going to make is whether we live in a hostile universe or a friendly one. “It’s a friendly universe when you trust that the universe knows what it’s doing,” Dr. Ohm says. “If you think your body doesn’t know what it’s doing, you live in fear. When you believe it’s friendly, you can let go and enjoy life a little more.”
The purpose of the event is to bring together groups of people who are all saying the same thing but from different perspectives, that of holistic practitioners, psychologists, parents, educators, and more. “In chiropractic,” Dr. Ohm says, “we call it the above down inside out lifestyle. There is intelligence inherent in all of us. So respect the child and let her educate herself, respect the body in birth instead of trying to regulate and control it, respect the body that it will do the right thing rather than subject it to unnecessary intervention.”
What this weekend is about, she says, is that there is a sense of order and intelligence in life, and how can we respond accordingly in our personal choices. See registration information here.
See this full roster of speakers and the complete schedule of the event that opens Thursday, November 13 and runs through Sunday, November 16 at the Hyatt Regency Reston. In addition to these presentations will be a packed exhibit hall with practitioners, businesses, organizations and authors. See this list of sponsors and exhibitors.
Exhibitors include the following:
- Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH)
- Biomat Network
- Birth Boot Camp
- Birthworks International
- Information Medicine
- Books Institute for Neural Freedom
- Chiro Ink
- Chiropractic Leadership Alliance
- DOTERRA Essential Oils
- Dr. Kate Engelhardt/ Bennie Gets Adjusted – A Chiropractic Story
- Educated Pregnancy
- Elizabeth Eyre Seltzer Designs
- Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation
- Full Circle Coaching & Co
- Holistic Moms Network
- International Chiropractic Pediatric Association
- International Federation of Chiropractors & Organizations (IFCO)
- League of Chiropractic Women
- Life Chiropractic College West
- Life University
- Love Your Body
- Makin’ Miracles
- Marialuchsinger.com – Sammy the Centipede Books
- McCoy Press
- Med-Chem Labs, Inc. (Lauricidin)
- Mercier Therapy
- National Vaccine Information Center
- OptiMOM Coaching
- Palmercare Chiropractic
- Pathways to Family Wellness Magazine
- Serola Biomechanics
- Sherman College of Chiropractic
- Smart Health, Inc.
- The BOLD Method
- White Light Media (Happy Healthy Child)
- Whole-Listic Children’s Foundation
- Wuji Firgrove
- Young Living Essential Oils-Lemon Dropper
- Wellesley Chiropractic Office
Also exhibiting are One More Page Books and authors: Maria Gavriel, Tara Gesling, Kathleen DiChiara and Nydia Kastra.
Photo credits (except Dr. Mercier demonstrating pelvic self-assessment): Christine Zichittella-Heeren.
Disclosure: I’ve been offered a complimentary press pass to attend this event.
Holistic Moms Network is a cool enough group for local and online support for living holistically, but it’s even more fun when you get to meet people in person from different chapters around the country. The non-profit organization is holding its annual Natural Living Conference on Saturday, October 25 in New Jersey at Montclair State University just outside of New York City.
Okay, it’s not in DC, Maryland or Virginia, but it’s only about four hours away. By car. Last year I got to meet some of the leaders from California chapters. They had to be on a plane for more than four hours!
Breakout sessions include:
- Yoga Basics with Kristen Ambrosi
- Living with Food Allergies with Amy Hull Brown
- Making Healing Tinctures and Infusions with Jessica Cicerone
- Contemporary Homesteading with Jay Gruen
At just $55 for the whole day or $40 for a half, the event is a great deal for all the information it will impart as well as the goodie bag treats and all the other samples you’re likely to find in the exhibit hall. There, parents can learn about wonderful products — food, skin care, and more – and services like Well Amy. One could really spend the entire day in the exhibit hall (and you can do just that for a reduced rate of $20).
The conference is an adult-focused event where babes in arms are welcome. Children may come into the exhibit hall for a reduced price ticket ($10) but need to pay the full rate if they require a seat in the sessions and workshops. The keynote is in the morning and the film screening and Q&A is in the afternoon. Lunch can be purchased separately.
And if you’re looking to make a trip of it, I’m told there is plenty of fall fun to be had in New Jersey, including pumpkin and apple picking. Budding artists might enjoy the Montclair Art Museum, future naturalists will want to explore Brookdale Park and Verona Park, and animal lovers will get a kick out of Turtle Back Zoo. TripBuzz has a list of Things to Do With Kids in Montclair, NJ, and the New Jersey Mommy Poppins site also has a list of 15 Fun Things to do in Montclair, NJ along with plenty of additional ideas for exploring the area and for weekend happenings.
So take the family up with you if you have a partner, friend or family member who can treat the kiddos to some New Jersey (or even New York City) adventures while you learn lots of wellness tips to nourish your family and connect with other like-minded parents.
Holistic Moms Network has over 100 chapters around the country. In the DC area, there are HMN chapters in Arlington/Alexandria, Northern Virginia (Fairfax) and Loudoun County. The Burke/Springfield chapter will be relaunched soon. Anyone can start a chapter, too. There’s an awesome leader meeting on Sunday, October 26, the day after the conference, so if you’ve been thinking about starting a chapter, now might be a great time to see what that’s like!