Five things I learned editing Issue 53

I always enjoy the different things I learn through editing JUNO. Each issue brings connection with so many talented and generous people and exposure to new books and ideas. Here I’d like to share with you what I learned from preparing the latest issue, published 1 February.

1.  Hands are an integral part of birth

Take a look at Jo Robertson’s amazing photographs! When Jo started sending me material for these pages I realised how many great images there were, and in how many aspects of birth hands feature; they show tension, pain, love, care, practicality and nurture. It’s made me reflect on how we can learn so much from studying details.

2.  Creating art at home can be so easy

I found Nikole Verde’s column about unschooling and art very exciting and inspirational. It reminded me that we can all be creative in many ways and that as parents we need to encourage this in our children just by letting them have a go. This does not need to be expensive or involve classes. As Nikole says, we just need to provide a bit of space, patience for temporary mess and minimal resources – for example some glue to help our child make something with boxes and paper that might be in the recycling box.

3.  Things we say to other parents can have a really negative impact

I think Rosie Knowles’ Sling Shaming article is really powerful. I heard Rosie talk about this topic at the APUK Conference last September and it really made me reflect on how our well-intentioned advice can impact on other parents. Working on this article made me stop and think all over again how things we say, whatever our intentions, could do irreparable harm. Can we change how we speak to other parents? Should we take more care with “advice” we share on social media?

4.  We should respect plants

I like how Michael Isted writes about plants in his recipes feature on plant tonics. Michael reminds us how central plants are to our lives, how we have evolved with them and should respect them, and how even a simple vase of flowers on the kitchen table can have a positive impact. Why, then, he asks, do we treat plants and nature with disdain?

5.  I got to know more about the Amish community

For me, A Midwife’s Story: Life, Love and Birth amongst the Amish by Penny Armstrong and Sheryl Feldman, published by Pinter & Martin, was fascinating. I appreciated being able to read about an Amish community in an inclusive way, and I found Armstrong’s account of birth and her career as a midwife highly engaging. You can read my review on the Books for Adults pages.


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