Fall 2018

The Partner Track

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There really wasn't a focus on couples at last year's conference, but of the partners who came, we were told that they felt better prepared and more confident after attending our workshops. Some were even a bit surprised that they enjoyed the day as much as they did. These “expectant partners” also asked that at future conferences we have specialized workshops, or even a whole stream for partners. DONE!

How we’re defining “partner” for the sake of the conference has a degree of flexibility. (Hey, I’ve been a sole parent myself from the moment I peed on the stick, so I get that your main-squeeze on your baby-growing journey may not be someone your married to or at all romantically involved with.) Your “partner” might be a close and supportive friend or sib who’s going to be part of your proverbial “village” or one of your own parents (my personal go-to is always my mum).

I called this new 5th workshop stream “The Swing Stream” because all the workshops could be applicable to partners, but I also threw the introduction to solids workshop in there because I knew it wouldn’t be of interest to all parents in the postpartum year (if your babe is, say, really tiny still, or coming up on 12 months). What I have learned is that people like choice, so we’ve got four more workshops than last year, and you should go where you think you’d be happiest! You certainly don’t have to attend all of the same workshops as your significant other just because you come to the conference together.

So, non-birth parents, if I may be so bold, here’s what I had in mind for you for October 27:

If you have a partner who is pregnant (or you and your partner are planning a pregnancy), you might choose these workshops for the day:

  • Session A - 10:15 to 11:15 am: Supporting the Pregnant/Postpartum Person You Love panel discussion. We came up with this one just for you!

  • Session B - 11:30 to 12:30: Coping Strategies for Labour with Corina

  • Session C - 1:45 to 2:45pm: What is Attachment? with me, Jae, or The Art & Science of Infant Sleep with Ruth, or Creating a Healthy Home for A Healthy Baby with Emma

  • Session D - 3 to 4pm: Parenthood Awakening with Yashar, or Labour Support & Birth Preferences with me and Corina

If you have a new baby in your life, but you’re not the birth parent you might want to go to:

  • Session A: 10:15 - 11:15 am: Supporting the Pregnant/Postpartum Person You Love panel discussion. This sesh is just for you!

  • Session B - 11:30 to 12:30: Play with your Baby with Dima, or Superfood Babies with Esther

  • Session C - 1:45 to 2:45pm: What is Attachment? with me, Jae, or The Art & Science of Infant Sleep with Ruth, or Creating a Healthy Home for A Healthy Baby with Emma

  • Session D - 3 to 4pm: Parenthood Awakening with Yashar, or Pleasure After Kids with Tynan, or Babywearing Basics with Jennifer

Whatever you chose to learn about on October 27, I’m glad that the birthing person in your life has you taking a co-creative role in parenting because (you’ll have to excuse me as I get a bit sentimental here), that’s not conventionally been a given for dads in our society.

For special pricing on “couples” tickets, get yourself over to our registration page before September 28 and get $30 off an already great deal!

(As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, “couples” are not two pregnant or parenting friends because our goal is to encourage shared workload between birthing and non-gestational parents.)

Meet Melanie, perinatal physiotherapist

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Name: Melanie Stevens Sutherland

Workshop: Trimester 2 Stream: Birth and your Pelvic Floor 

Why did you become a perinatal physiotherapist?
Despite being a physiotherapist for years, I was absolutely awed of the capabilities of the human body through my own experience of pregnancy. I was also disappointed at the lack of physical and emotional care I was offered postnatally. As I struggled through my own recovery I knew I could do better for others and ultimately shifted my business model to support parents, through services and excellent practitioners, from conception to recovery.

How did you choose your care team for your birth?
I am a cervical cancer survivor, and as such was sent to the high risk program at Sunnybrook hospital for the birth of my daughter. My daughter ended up failing to thrive in the end stages of my pregnancy and I developed preeclampsia which resulted in an emergency induction. When I was pregnant with my son, although I was not treated as high risk, because of my history we decided to go with a hospital birth and an OB-GYN again. I would have loved to have experienced other birthing professionals, but was very lucky to have two excellent doctors who were very caring and did a wonderful job guiding us through what at the time felt overwhelming and scary, and was ultimately most comfortable with our choice for our situation.

What was your most useful gadget/tool/item for parenting?
I’m not sure there was one gadget that was really the be all and end all for me. If anything I think I learned through my first pregnancy that I required a lot less than I believed I needed pre-baby. The one thing I’ve used consistently with both my kids has been a carrier. It is functional, and I love how close I feel to my kids when using it.

What excites you most about presenting at 4 Trimesters’ conference?
The prospect of sharing education on pelvic floor is very exciting. Many people are not comfortable talking about their pelvic floor let alone becoming acquainted with it but it is such an integral system for almost everything we do. In North America, we are quite far behind in this area, and we need to start getting comfortable with these discussions.

To join Melanie for her workshop at this October's conference, register here.

What's new?

If you attended 4 Trimesters' conference in 2017, you know that we collected a lot of feedback by way of evaluation forms, both on the individual workshops, and the day itself.

I'm so glad we did, because it gave us the opportunity to hear how much you loved the event, and also a bunch of things to improve on. I'll be sharing quotes from the positive words we got over social media in the next couple months, and in the meantime, tell you about what changes have been made to better suit everyone's needs.

But first, let me announce the five winners of the eval-submitting draws (please keep your eye out for an email from me with a code):

  • Amy Packwood

  • Freda Langelo

  • Katherine Meisner

  • Jay Wall

  • Leticia Davolli

And now, for a rundown on all the improvements that have been made for this year:

The Space

The number one complaint from the conference last year was that a few of the rooms were squishy, and the open workshop areas made it hard to hear. So, as much as I loved being at the Centre for Social Innovation in the Annex, we have found a new home this time at the gorgeous Artscape Youngplace building, slightly west and south from our former venue. The workshop rooms are spread out in the building though, so we'll have more volunteers to usher people around without a hitch. (Note, the venue is still accessible, with both stairs and elevators running between the lower level and the second floor.)

4 Trimesters new home for the 2018 conference.

4 Trimesters new home for the 2018 conference.


The Presenters

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It was not lost on me that our team of presenters, as skilled and multi-disciplined as they were, were an overwhelmingly white group. This was not ethnically representative of our participant base, or that of young families in Toronto as a whole, and representation such a big part of inclusion. Inclusion being central to the 4 Trimesters mission, I made even more of a point for the 2018 conference to connect with perinatal practitioners of colour. I'm very grateful to the folks who responded to my call for applications, and of our new presenters this year, 50% are BIPOC. Still not as representative as I'd like it to be, but moving in a direction better aligned with our values.
Also, some presenters where not as familiar with addressing families with the most inclusive language, so I have been sharing this fantastic piece of Tynan's on gender-neutral birth terms all over the place.


Further emphasis on Community Building

We have extended the whole conference by an hour, and the in-house lunch break by a bit so you don't have to feel so rushed or cut your conversations over good food short, and we have some fun plans in the works to help you get to know your fellow attendees and hopefully carry on social connections beyond conference day.



Encouraging partners to attend

This year we are offering special pricing for pregnant and recently-birthed folks who want to bring their partners, or maybe even better to say, for partners who would also like to take an active role in learning about parenting on this day. You can take workshops together, or divide and conquer your individual learning needs! Some of the workshops I imagine will be especially popular with partners are Parenthood Awakening, Food Prep, Green at Home, Coping Techniques for Labour, The Art & Science of Infant Sleep, Babywearing Basics, Attachment & Fostering Connection, Pleasure after Kids, Superfood Babies, and of course, the panel discussion at the start of the day on Supporting the Pregnant/Postpartum Person you Love.

How you define partner is flexible - for example, if you are a sole parent, bringing one of your parents or a dedicated friend would be fantastic! Non-romantic co-parents, same deal! These tickets are not, however, available for two pregnant or parenting friends, as the intention is to support couples in sharing the parenting work (and joy!) load. "Couples" tickets come with one swag bag per couple.


Can you tell how excited I am for October 27? I hope you are too. Tickets have just been released. Be sure to get yours soon for early bird pricing, and to have first pick on workshop choices.