A great day

Watching from afar #MatExp #WhoseShoes 👍🏼

There is a big spate of #MatExp #WhoseShoes workshops at the moment, which is brilliant. But also potentially exhausting. They are all over the country. In the earlier part of the year, it was really difficult to plan ahead. Mum was terminally ill and I was looking after her. I had no idea what would be happening in the autumn. I am so lucky to have wonderful friends and associates like Anna and Carrie. We had agreed that they would run some of the workshops for me. Apart from anything, this makes things more sustainable.

I had also just been the keynote speaker at the Self Care conference. The last few weeks (indeed months) have been really crazy. As I busted a gut to prepare for the Self Care conference ... there was a certain irony.

Everyone knows that Anna is a great graphic recorder. But she is also a fantastic facilitator. And she 'gets' me, and Whose Shoes. And everything we stand for. We have worked together for over 10 years.

And Carrie Lewis is also a brilliant graphic recorder and works regularly with Anna. She has recorded many Whose Shoes events...

Including dreaming up this wonderful rocket 🚀 to launch our series of Whose Shoes workshops across the South West in Taunton.

So when Mum was so ill and I needed to plan ahead, we had a 'lemon lightbulb moment'. Anna and Carrie could facilitate workshops together!

I think this will prove to be a popular formula and one we will use quite a lot going forward – it will also enable me to focus more on development work - we have some exciting projects. 😀

I am always a bit disappointed not to be there in the room. I wanted to tell people about putting #MatExp #BetterBirths on the main stage at NHS Expo. But I didn't need to because I have written about it here.

And Anna had been there herself doing the graphic recording ...

And look where it ended up ... ! 👍🏼

Perhaps the East Kent workshop would be the BESTT one yet! Birthing Excellence Success Through Teamwork

Cake for the workers! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

It was hard watching online seeing all the energy in the room and wishing I was there. But of course that is what I wanted! And seeing the wonderful cakes. 👀 East Kent took the #MatExp #Bakeoff challenge very seriously. 🍰

I was pleased to see some A3 posters of #MatExp poems which hospitals are now displaying in strategic places to keep the conversations alive. And Anna was wearing her #MatExp #BetterBirths sash. 😀

And so was Ciaran! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 I wondered what had become of the other ones I sent for Ciaran ...

It was good to see everyone getting stuck in as equals, increasing empathy about how women, families and staff feel in maternity services.

It was good to see that the East Kent Children's Commissioning Support Team were there. They will be very interested in 'Nobody's Patient' project.

I love seeing the passionate hand gestures. I wonder what the conversation was. I hope they remembered to note the key points and make sure they were included on Carrie's graphic record.

Whose Shoes? is all about promoting empathy. Understanding how it feels to be the woman giving birth, the midwife working a long shift, the commissioner under pressure with limited funding …

#MatExp

And then coming up with real actions that make a difference!

The event was the day after the fabulous Maternity Voices Partnership event that Florence Wilcock, my #MatExp partner in crime, had been running in London the previous day.

Even as the workshop was underway, Flo did this quick poll. This is a real problem. How to spread the word about important national initiatives in the context of overstretched NHS teams and not put people off with jargon and over complication?

Carrie was doing well with the graphic record. She was wearing a sash too.

Whose Shoes is a coproduction tool - so designed to be collaborative rather than competitive. However it is amusing: people always dream up different ways to be the best! 😂

Lots of key messages were coming through – who would step forward to do something about them? The pledges at the end of the workshop are always the most important part.

So far, so good! 😀

It was great to see Flo tuning in from London, encouraging the pledges. Flo has really led the way in making sure that #MatExp WhoseShoes is always action focused.

Loving the fact that we are becoming increasingly aware of those who are stalking us every step of the way. Come on out – your time has come! You too can make a difference.

It was exciting to see that the previous day East Kent hospitals had been exploring 'Each Baby Counts'. Looking forward to seeing the power off these important initiatives working together for positive change.

And the final word goes to our young participants, who are our future! @WhoseShoes #MatExp #BetterBirths nutshellcomms.comms.co.uk

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