What Manitoba’s Midwifery Shortage Feels like To One Local Woman

Winnipeg doula Jen Grisim, who blogs at Baby Lady of the Prairies, recently shared her heartbreaking account of how she was unable to get a midwife for her current pregnancy. I wanted to share it here because I think people need to hear first-hand how the province’s midwifery shortage affects women.

Jen writes that although she has a doctor she likes,

“… as my pregnancy progresses and the reality of my birth experience draws closer I am feeling increasingly frustrated and disheartened that I can’t have the care provider and birthplace of my choice. It feels a lot less like numbers and statistics about shortages and under-use of facilities. It feels like I am being denied my rights as a mother.”

They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Right now it feels like the people who are being heard are the ones who complain at every opportunity about how the government “wasted money building the birth centre”.  It’s clear that the health region is still working out a lot of kinks, but I really do believe that we are on the right track, and my impression is that they are doing what they can to improve the situation as intelligently and quickly as possible. With waiting lists of 80-90%, I think the province is well aware of the shortage and how urgent the need is. It’s my understanding that they are working at reviving our provincial midwifery program, and proactively hiring as many certified midwives from other locations. My own midwife for my current pregnancy is from Ontario and several of her classmates have also been hired here.

But in the meantime there are women like Jen who simply wait and hope and do the best they can to plan for the birth they need. And that’s really troubling.

There have been several stories lately about women who want to access the birth centre  or get a midwife but can’t (see Shortage of Midwives in Manitoba at mysteinbach.ca and Manitoba Mom-to-be Miffed She Can’t Use Empty Birthing Centre in the Winnipeg Sun). We need to keep hearing these stories. The government knows there is demand, but let’s make sure the public knows it, too.

Wondering about Midwifery Care?

The Women’s Health Clinic is hosting a free drop-in session called “Midwife in the House“. The session runs from 10am to noon on Tuesday, February 26th at the Birth Centre, and visitors can ask questions about midwifery care, choice of birth place, prenatal and postnatal care, and holistic care.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Winnipeg’s beautiful, peaceful new Birth Centre, here’s your chance!


MCP To Close Later This Year

I was really disappointed to see in a recent Herald article that Mom’s and Children’s Paradise (MCP), a consignment/second-hand shop that sells clothing and baby/children’s gear, is set to close later this year.

I’ve spent lots of time at MCP since my first pregnancy in 2009, shopping for maternity and then baby and toddler clothing, and recommending it to everyone I know! The prices are so reasonable, most the items you can hardly tell are gently used, and the loyalty program is great. I’ll be really sad to see this store close! They also sell dance gear, and I know the community will miss this offering, too.

I will particularly miss the maternity section at MCP; Once Upon a Child only sells babies’ and kids’ clothing, and I believe the only other shop in town that sells carefully vetted second-hand maternity clothing is Bug n’ Boo, which is on the other end of town from me.

According to the article, “The market is playing a role in the closure of the original store, though, as Holbrook said long-time customers haven’t been in as often, while the current generation of parents are opting to purchase more goods online.” It makes me wonder if people are more frequently buying lots of used clothing and gear from Kijiji and Craigslist, or just opting to buy brand-new items instead?

Maybe someone will step in and buy the business? It remains to be seen, but my fingers are crossed.