Over the weekend, I was at the London Baby Show, representing “my” charity, NCT. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard of NCT. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard of NCT. But just in case you haven’t, NCT is the UK largest charity for parents.
I’ve been volunteering for NCT since (gulp) 2002. I was even nominated for President two years ago.
One of my first volunteering stints was helping out at the NCT stand at the London Baby Show 15 years ago. That’s when I first saw Sue Saxey (former NCT President) speaking on stage. Immediately, I said to myself “THAT’S what I want to do”.
Fifteen years later …. here I am, billed as one of the “experts” providing one-to-one support for parents AND running NCT breastfeeding taster sessions.
Persistence and patience pays off.
If you are an NCT practitioner or volunteer, you may well be throwing up your hands in horror at the word “experts”.
NCT’s decision to take a stand after many years of absence was a controversial decision. However the charity felt this was an opportunity to expand our reach and modernise our image. Many felt that being part of the Baby Show contributes to the commercialisation of becoming a parent. Others were unhappy with the ethics of the Baby Show organisers.
However I know that I made a difference to the parents that I supported at the weekend and that despite their tears, they went away feeling listened to: the mum still coming to terms with not exclusively breastfeeding her first baby; and the Dad who talked for the first time about the overwhelming guilt he feels because his partner had not been able to breastfeed the way they had expected.
In between the one-to-one slots and the taster sessions, I was helping out on the NCT stand giving out goody bags, talking to parents about the services that NCT offers, and helping expectant parents find the right antenatal class. Not forgetting running backwards and forwards SO many times to refresh the stand with 100s and 100s of goody bags. Oh, and also, filming some short soundbites for the Baby Show to promote their next event on social media
It’s been a full-on weekend. Brilliant, amazing, inspiring … but I am absolutely shattered.
Here are a few photos ‘behind the scenes’ of the Baby Show.
If this is your first time visiting my blog, I mostly write about career, confidence and leadership challenges faced by mums in the workplace. The Confident Mother is an independent coaching practice and advocates an approach focused on celebrating and loving life as a woman and as a mother. Outside of my business, I work as an NCT Breastfeeding Counsellor and lead a beginners running course for my local running club.
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