Light in Water – Birthlight International Conference – Cambridge


Listening to presenters from around the world telling inspiring stories from their work as scientists, midwifes, marine biologists, swim teachers, Birthlight tutors, yoga teachers and Occupational Therapists. Hearing how their work informs the fields of water birth, water parenting and baby swimming.

There’s lots I could write about, but one thing today that excited me was some wonderful footage of a water centre in Mexico, that had a pool with progressively deeper water – 10, 20, 40, 50cm deep. Where baby’s developmental movement patterns of being horizontal, on their tummys and travelling as they crawled, was happening at the same time that they were exploring being in water. As a Developmental Movement practitioner, it was great to see this combination of land and aquatic movement. The interaction between movement, stability and buoyancy, with such stress free exploration and growing confidence.

And after a day and a half of sitting watching presentations and film, it was SO good to move, as I offered a workshop this afternoon. I gave conference colleagues a chance to get on the floor and spread out. To let go of words and fixed vision, and come into the felt sense of the body.

We found ways to rest and yield, allow cellular ‘states’, that enabled us to reconnect with ‘being’. To allow our adult concentration on ‘doing’ to fall away, to return to ourselves. All with the purpose to both rest and restore, but also to be introduced to the states that babies and young children start from. If we can reconnect with that state in ourselves, we can more easily join with others.

I introduced the embryological and developmental journey, through simple movement ‘gestures’. Opening, closing, and shifting weight. And we found ways to sense into the body layers, of skin, connective tissue and fluid. To feel the difference of muscle and bone.

And we found ways to come into relationship and begin a dialogue, to play and experiment.


A full 2 days. Many overlaps in ethos. Discussions reflecting on how the rich opportunities and practices that are offered to the young, may also be offered to the old. As we offer water births, could we offer the opportunity to be in water as we approach our death?

It was great to be with a group of people, all of who were finding ways to bring a deep connection with the joy of being alive and in our bodies, and connected to others. Many thanks to Jo Wilson for introducing me, to Francoise Freedman for inviting me to present at the conference, and the Birthlight team. And I did get to swim too.