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Welcome to Pregnancy Winnipeg! This site is a work in progress, but my goal is to develop a comprehensive directory of prenatal and postnatal resources in Winnipeg, as well as services and programming for parents of young children. Learn about local news and events in the blog below. Read more about why I decided to build this site, and feel free to contact me with comments, questions or suggestions!

~Emma

CBC Draws Attention to Abuse of Winnipeg Moms #MistreatedinChildbirth

Did you catch this morning’s segment on abuse in the delivery room on CBC Information Radio?  In it, a local mom described some really awful treatment she received at a Winnipeg hospital after giving birth. She described how as she was basking in joy with her beautiful new baby, a nurse said “she didn’t want to see me back here in 12 months and lectured me about birth control.” (Sound odd? This mom was First Nations. Not a stretch to think the nurse was probably making discriminatory and racist assumptions). You can read more about these stories here:  New mothers upset over treatment in Winnipeg hospitals (CBC Manitoba). Be forewarned: not a pleasant read.

It turns out that CBC National is doing a whole investigation on this matter—see the following articles here (warning, they contain graphic details):

While it’s always sad and discouraging to hear these stories about mistreatment in maternity care, unfortunately, they are neither new nor rare. I was enraged but not at all surprised by any of the accounts shared in these articles or on the radio. But, I am really pleased to see the mainstream media start to cover what those who are passionate about good maternity care have known all along: women are often treated terribly – even abusively – during their maternity care.

Even comments from “leaders” in the obstetric field show an attitude of disregard and disrespect for women’s well-being. Unbelievably, Jennifer Blake, the CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, says she has never heard any complaints of disrespect or abusive behaviour.

It is true that many women don’t make complaints. Speaking from my own experience and in talking to other moms I know, I suggest there can be many reasons for this:

  1. she doesn’t want to be seen as a problem patient.
  2. it takes her a while to process and reflect on the treatment she received, and by the time she realizes that the way she was treated was not okay, it feels too late to report.
  3. birth and recovery are incredibly intimate, and some of the things she experienced may not be the sort of thing she can be candid about with a stranger.
  4. she may be carrying (knowingly or unknowingly) shame about the whole experience, and just trying to forget that any of it happened is how she is coping.

(I also relate to a mom in one of the stories, who said that “Being a new mom is very hard, I mean you’re trying to figure out how to live your life and somebody else’s life, so I mean to go forward with a complaint and to add that to your pile of things to do … it’s not really something that a new mom is going to want to do.” ).

I cannot accept that the SOGC has never had any complaints of abuse or disrespect, because it seems to me that at the root of virtually any complaint one could have about maternity care, you’d find a baseline of disrespect or abuse.  To make statements like Blake’s, or to say that “systems are rigorous at all levels such that Canadian women listening on CBC can be firmly reassured this is not a concern in Canada” (John Kingdom, chair of the University of Toronto’s department of obstetrics and gynecology) is preposterous

This “zero complaints” claim also begs the question, according to whom? Does SOGC have a checkbox for disrespect or abuse on their complaint form? I bet every one of the women who made complaints at any level would say that disrespect or abuse were part of the problem. The technical complaint might be something like “being forced to stop pushing because no doctor was available”, but isn’t the underlying cause of that the callous disregard for a woman’s health and well-being during an incredibly intense, vulnerable, and life-altering situation?

I, for one, am tired of the condescending, patronizing of “experts” who wish to assure us that this is not a problem. Often, they’ll talk about the health system now acknowledges that a mom’s birth “experience” and “empowerment” are important too (those words are usually uttered with just a hint of amusement). But you can usually tell they are just trying to humour us, women who are just asking to be treated with human decency and kindness.

No woman wants to put her baby at risk. But no woman should emerge from childbirth needing therapy for PTSD, or feel like she can’t bring another child into the world because of how traumatic the her first birth was. Even a few cruel, dismissive or offhand comments are enough to have a lasting effect on a mother’s mental health and self-perception. Emotional abuse doesn’t leave visible marks but it’s just as harmful as physical abuse.

On the plus side, I was pleased to hear a follow-up on the late afternoon news with a WRHA spokesperson, inviting women to come forward with complaints and concerns at any time, and acknowledging that these things can take time to process and articulate. I may make my complaint yet.

I hope this coverage starts to open a broader conversation about the way women are treated during their maternity care. Obstetric violence is real, it is pervasive, and it cannot be ignored.

Free Programs for Inkster Families

The Inkster Parent Child Coalition hosts a huge number of wonderful, free family programs, and they are starting up again for the fall soon! Programs include:

  • Bright Start groups at 2 locations: this is a play program for parents/caregivers and kids up to age 5. Meet other families in your neighbourhood, get information and support, talk to a nurse, and get healthy snacks (and free breakfast at the Westbrook group!) (drop-in; no registration required)
  • Wiggle Giggle & Munch: family play group (drop-in; no registration required)
  • Parent chat night: bring the kids for supper then have them supervised while you chat with other parents! (registration required)
  • Field trips: coming up this fall and winter are trips to Oak Hammock Marsh and a dinner & holiday lights event. (registration required)

Visit Inkster Parent Child Coalition’s facebook page for the full schedule and details.

New breastfeeding support group for Landmark moms

I recently had the pleasure of talking to Lynette Beard, a nurse and lactation consultant (IBCLC) who has recently launched a private lactation consultant business serving Winnipeg and surrounding areas. You can get more details on her business on her website or Facebook page, and I have also added it to this site’s breastfeeding support/resources page. I am just thrilled to see someone offering lactation consultant services that can be accessed from the client’s own home.

Kudos to Lynette – this is a much needed service here in Winnipeg. We have amazing, free resources through our WRHA breastfeeding clinics, but sometimes they aren’t the right fit or are hard to get to. Having someone who can come to your house and spend a larger chunk of time with you is invaluable.

In addition to her consultant services, Lynette also told me about a breastfeeding support group she runs in Landmark, and I wanted to share details about that here. Learn more about it by joining their Facebook group. Lynette notes that:

“Starting September 30, we will be meeting every other Tuesday evening 7pm-8:30pm. Please see facebook page for address or contact me. A small snack and water is provided. I also have a baby scale to weight babies. You can bring your breastfeeding baby, but it’s not required. Lots of moms leave their children at home since it is close to bedtime. Pregnant ladies are welcome as well!”

Late Summer/Fall 2016 Kids/Babies Clothing & Gear Sales in Winnipeg

Here are some upcoming sales to mark down in your calendar! Usually there are a couple of Y Neighbours sales in the fall as well, but I haven’t found details for any of them yet. Will update this list as needed. Happy shopping!

U of T Seeking Study Participants: Pregnant & New Mothers/Fathers< 2 Weeks Postpartum

A researcher asked me to help spread the news about a study underway at the University of Toronto. You could earn gift cards for completing questionnaires at different stages of your pregnancy or after your baby is born. Here are the details of the study — to apply to participate, visit the study homepage.

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The University of Toronto is conducting a Canada-wide study to learn about the challenges new mothers AND fathers experience together in the first two years of their baby’s life. We are hoping to improve the health care we provide to the WHOLE family during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby. We are currently recruiting 3000 couples to participate in this innovative and exciting study.

WHAT DOES THE STUDY INVOLVE?

Both you and your partner will complete your own questionnaires online or by telephone. The first questionnaire is completed by telephone with a research assistant within the first 2 weeks after the birth of your  baby and then a link to online questionnaires will be emailed to both you and your partner when your baby turns 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months old. Each questionnaire will take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete depending on how the questions are answered.

THANK YOU GIFT:

To compensate you and your partner for your time we will send to each of you a $15 gift card for each questionnaire you or your partner completes. If you both complete all the questionnaires then you will receive a $50 bonus gift card at the end of the study. As a couple, you could receive up to $230 in gift cards for completing all the questionnaires.

You may be eligible to participate if you:

  • Are pregnant or just had a baby within the past 2 weeks
  • Reside with a partner of the opposite sex
  • Read and understand English fluently
  • Are willing to take up to 1 hour of your time to complete a questionnaire every 3 months

*If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please fill out the Study Application Form below*

This study has been approved by the University of Toronto Research Ethics Board.

Birth Roots offers Birth and Baby Care Class for Grandparents!

Birth Roots is offering a wonderful new class about childbirth and infant care specifically for grandparents!

“This 4 hour class will explore and discuss recent changes in childbirth practices, breastfeeding, safe sleep practices, and newborn care. Keep your newborn grandchild safe and strengthen lifelong bonds as you support your sons and daughters through this transition. Taught by certified Lamaze Instructor Janice Koepnick.”

The classes run in late April and May, and there’s currently an intro offer discount of 50%, making the class only $40.

I think this is a terrific idea. There is SO MUCH we can learn from our parents and grandparents, but I’ve noticed there is often tension and conflict coming from both sides of the new parent/experienced grandparent dynamic. I’ve actually thought about this issue a lot. It breaks my heart to hear grandmothers downplay or second-guess their own baby care experience and expertise because “things are so different now”. And it is just as difficult to hear women my age completely dismiss the wisdom of our mothers because, “those were different times”.  A class like this will hopefully go a long way to educating and empowering generations within families.

Kudos to Janice Koepnick and Birth Roots for offering a grandparents’ class!

Upcoming event: Naturally Mom & Me Showcase

Here’s a fun upcoming event hosted by Generation Green: the 2nd annual Naturally Mom & Me Showcase at The Forks Market on Friday, April 15th from 11-7PM.

Calling all moms & dads, parents to be, grandparents & anyone looking for the perfect baby gift! Come and experience this FREE showcase at The Forks Market to learn more about eco-friendly, natural products for families. Meet local manufacturers, sample food products, win prizes and more!!!

See more on the event’s Facebook page!

 

2016 Winnipeg Community Garage Sales

I’ve done this post the last couple years — people are always interested in the community-based garage sales that happen around the city and surrounding area. This year I’m including the “traditionally held” information – that way if you’re looking at this info in the future, you’ll know what day the sales are usually held.

Here are the ones for 2016 I know about so far… if you know of others, please leave me a comment and I will incorporate it into the list. Thanks!

2016 Winnipeg Community Garage Sales

  • West St. Paul (indoors at the Sunova Centre) – Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
  • Niverville – Saturday, April 30th, 2016
  • Whyte Ridge – traditionally held the Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend – Saturday, May 7th, 2016
  • Southland Park – Saturday, May 14th, 2016 – 9am-3pm
  • Royalwood – traditionally takes place last Saturday of May – May 28th, 2016
  • Sage Creek – Saturday, May 28th (confirmed by @sagecreekra)
  • Linden Woods – traditionally held the first Saturday in June – Saturday, June 4th 2016
  • Normand Park – traditionally held the first Saturday in June – June 4th, 2016
  • Island Lakes – traditionally held the weekend after Labour Day – Saturday, September 10th, 2016
  • St Adolphe – town-wide sale. Sept. 17 and 18th

TBD:

  • Glenelm – TBD

Breastfeeding support in French – Nourri-Source Winnipeg

I recently read about a wonderful new French-language initiative from the local women’s organization Pluri-elles. It’s a breastfeeding support program called Nourri-Source, that originated in Quebec and is now the first branch outside that province. The program matches experienced volunteer support mothers (marraines) with mothers who are currently breastfeeding, to give them support, help and encouragement to meet their breastfeeding goals.  Here is the poster!

update: Pluri-elles let me know that some of their volunteers are bilingual – so English-speaking moms are welcome to get in touch for support too!

poster source: Pluri-elles Facebook page

See also: Pluri-elles lance un groupe d’entraide pour les mères qui allaitent (radio-canada)

Used Baby & Kids Toy & Clothing Sale – in Support of the PPD Association of MB

I spotted this over on the I Support Midwifery in Manitoba Facebook group – what a terrific event to support the Post Partum Depression Association of Manitoba!

source: I Support Midwifery in Manitoba Facebook group

Here are the details:

Used Baby & Kids Toy & Clothing Sale
in support of the Post Partum Depression Association of Manitoba
April 9, 2016  9am-12 | St Mary’s Road United Church, 613 St. Mary’s Rd.

Please join us and find all of the baby, kids and maternity items you need!
Entry is $2.

Please email loewensharon@gmail.com for more information about the event on about selling at the event. 

Net proceeds from the event support PPDAM.