It’s September already! Summer is (almost) behind us, although it looks like we still have some sunny days ahead of us. We hope that you were able to relax, that you could find some quiet time alone or with your loved ones from everything that demanded your attention and energy in the past year, and that you have beautiful things to look forward to!
At ACE Aware we are also going back to work. We’ve got a few more special interviews lined up that deserve to be fleshed out as soon as possible, so that the wisdom the interviewees have shared with us becomes available to you!
For example, we spoke with Bertus Jeronimus, who works at the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the University of Groningen (RUG). There he studied clinical and developmental psychology and Dutch law and obtained his PhD on research into the interaction between personality and life events. He is currently working on a better understanding of personality and how people experience their well-being. We spoke to him based on his article about ‘The (un)happiness of a corona generation’, in which he draws attention to the fact that close proximity is a necessity for young people. He mentions that a lot of pain among young ones causes damage that you do not immediately see and that is therefore underestimated.
We also interviewed Jessica Boerema, also in Groningen. From her own practice ‘Contact in beeld’ (‘Contact in view’) she provides training courses to parents and professionals to create more insight into the importance of effective communication with young children at difficult moments. Communication in which you as an adult understand the baby or young child well and learn to decipher the signals, helps enormously to ensure that a baby feels safe and develops trust in the world. That is of course a wonderful way to support a child’s resilience from an early age.
In Amsterdam we met with Beatrijs Smulders, well-known author and midwife. She has played a prominent role in midwifery care for the past four decades and is a passionate advocate of home birth and an innovator at heart. Nowadays she no longer supports labouring women in childbirth, but provides personal guidance and advice in the field of women’s affairs through consultations. She has helped thousands of mothers and fathers get started in parenting over the course of her career and has developed idiosyncratic views based on her professional experience, combined with scientific insights. In short: a fascinating discussion partner, with ideas that invite and challenge you to think more deeply!
There are also some special professionals who said they would like to be interviewed, but with whom the date has not yet been set. We will also follow up on this shortly. Are you working in healthcare, education, the judicial sector or are you a professional who works from a trauma-informed approach? We would love to hear from you and perhaps set up an interview!
In addition, there are interviews with people who have lived through adverse experiences while growing up. We honourably call these ‘people with the lived experience’, people who are experts, because they have first-hand knowledge of what the impact of toxic stress and trauma can be. Of course we can’t share their names, but that doesn’t make their stories less important. In fact, it is those stories that are at the heart of the work for ACE Aware NL; they show how early experiences affect later life. When people look back on their youth in a phase in which they have been able to take a little more distance, many things sometimes come to the fore. Also, sometimes it is confronting to face aspects of that life stage when they have to make choices in their parental role. The needs and individuality of their own children can sometimes be very confronting. These can raise questions about what it was like as a child to need your parents’ support and not get it, or to feel like you were not seen and were hardly ever ‘good enough’. That can release a lot of grief. That grief can look like anger or frustration or impatience, but at the core, the pain and the feeling of insecurity and loneliness are often underneath. And what do you do in that case…? Do you manage to be kind to yourself? Do you allow yourself time and space to talk about it with a loved one? Do you have a social environment available paying attention to you where you can safely be vulnerable? It can already help if you know that you are not alone in your grief and that it can be liberating to talk about it, especially when parenthood is imminent or has just started. We will also give concrete form to this aspect this year by setting up meetings.
At the beginning of October, Marianne Vanderveen-Kolkena will give a presentation for GOLD Learning on behalf of ACE Aware NL in the Early Years symposium. Among other things, she will talk about the difference between avoiding risks and looking for beneficial aspects of human life, or, put differently, the difference between a salutogenetic approach (what do we need to stay healthy?) and a pathogenetic approach (what should we avoid to not get sick?). It will also be discussed that health is not an individual matter, but is socially constructed and is therefore the result of the interaction between the environment and the individual. Furthermore, the idea of ‘adult supremacy’ will be looked at, the idea that adult interests often outweigh the interests of the dependent young child that is still fully developing.
In short: there is a lot that we will work on!
During the holiday period, some themes took shape in a more creative way and we are happy to share a photo with poem with you.
Enjoy the reading and we look forward to meeting you somewhere, live or online!