Baby Book Lovers

February is I Love to Read Month and Winnipeg Public Library is celebrating! The following event is listed in the January/February issue of the @The Library newsletter.

“Babies Love Books! Celebrate I Love to Read Month with a special story time for babies and the people who love them. Sharing rhymes and stories with your baby is a wonderful way to share the joy of learning new words and sounds!

Discover great books and music you can take home to keep reading and rhyming.

For newborn to 24 months with parent or caregiver.

St Vital Library
Saturday, February 15, 10:30-11:15am.
Call 204-986-5632 to register”

Run for Mums Organizers Among Ace Burpee’s Most Fascinating Manitobans

I’m a little late on this one but wanted to mention it anyway. In his 2013 list of “100 Most Fascinating Manitobans”, Ace Burpee named the four organizers of the inaugural Run for Mums, an event to raise awareness of postpartum depression.

34 – 31) Ashley Tully, Eddie & Brenda Marion-Gerula and Jenn Wittick

From the extreme sadness of the passing of Lisa Gibson and her children, rose “Run for Mums.” These four individuals organized the walk/run in support of Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba as a way to raise awareness of postpartum depression. I was there, and it was honestly one of the most well-run and pure events I attended this year. People were free to speak openly on PPD, and it felt like the hundreds and hundreds of people who showed up were all in it together. It was therapeutic and uplifting in a time of great sadness.”

The event raised almost $14,000 for the Mood Disorders Association of MB. According to the Run for Mums facebook page, there will be another race this year, on September 10, 2014.

Birth Trauma Resources in Winnipeg

Over the last couple of years I have met many women who are struggling with impact of traumatic birth, but who have either been suffering in silence or haven’t been able to get the support they need to process and start to recover from their birth experience. Birth trauma isn’t limited to physical injury. I personally think that any time a woman feels dis-empowered, disrespected, violated or otherwise poorly treated or unsupported during her labour and birth, trauma can result.  Some of the things these women report: feeling extremely anxious, sick, upset, or angry when driving past their birthing place; feeling apprehensive or anxious about subsequent pregnancy; and feeling like the trauma they experienced prevented them from having the best possible start in bonding and attaching to their baby.

As someone who also experienced a tough first birth and recovery, I think there needs to be a lot more awareness about the effects of a difficult birth on a mother’s (and family’s) well-being. This is one of the reasons that I love the Women’s Health Clinic’s Coping with Change series, held at the Birth Centre. The very first series topic is birth experiences. The facilitators explain that in our baby-focused culture, many women never get a chance to really talk about or process their own experience, and so for participants to do so in a safe and supportive environment can be very helpful.

I decided to add a section to this website on resources for coping with this type of postpartum mental health issue but found there was virtually nothing online. I reached out to Dr. Carrie Lionberg, a well-respected local psychologist who specializes in postpartum depression, via Twitter. Here is what she said:

“Good first step would be a given woman’s Public Health Nurse, who can provide pathway to service w/n Winnipeg healthcare system. Another route, if she has a Benefits Plan/EAP [Employee Assistance Program], to seek counseling on a private basis. The Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM) may also be helpful, given that a major symptom of trauma is anxiety.”

I have added these suggestions to the page on Emotional and Physical Birth Trauma.

Upcoming Program at the Birth Centre: Nobody’s Perfect Parenting

I am subscribed to the Women’s Health Clinic email newsletter, which means I always get a heads-up about upcoming programs, like this one starting next week at the Birth Centre. It’s called “Nobody’s Perfect Parenting” and it’s free for parents with kids up to age 5! Also, props to WHC for their nicely redesigned website!

Nobody's Perfect Parenting - WHC

Share questions, concerns, and ideas about being a parent; Work together with the support of a trained facilitator; Discuss real-life parenting situations; and Discover positive ways of parenting”

Tuesdays 6:30-8pm,  Jan. 14th – Feb 18th, 2014  – see the program flyer for more details & how to register.