I'm so glad you found your way here, and appreciate your interest in me and my work. If you'd like to hear about my background and why 4 Trimesters is the most exciting thing I've created in years (if we don't count creating my kid!), I've answered some questions below.
Want to know more? I'd love to connect with you in person, just drop me a line.
What does "perinatal" mean, and how are you an expert in it?
Perinatal is the time before, during and after birth, or in other words, the prenatal (pregnancy), intrapartum (labour and birth), and postpartum (postnatal) period. All things perinatal fascinate me. I have a Midwifery degree from Ryerson, which involved attending almost 200 births and working with countless families both in clinic, home and hospital. I currently provide prenatal consulting and postpartum in-home support through my business, HyggeMama, and am also a babywearing educator, have recently completed graduate studies in Infant Mental Health, and am a mama myself.
How did you come up with the idea for 4 Trimesters Conference?
I began HyggeMama and working as a postpartum doula about a year after my daughter was born, because as much as I loved midwifery, the on-call life required by the profession wasn't going to work for my family. I was meeting all these brand new parents, often with babies who were only a day or two old, and hearing from many of them that they hadn't really known what to expect when it came to breastfeeding, normal expectations for newborns (sleep, hygiene, dress, exposure to cousins with coughs and colds) and care for themselves after the experience of giving birth. I thought, what a challenge it can be for first-time parents to be physically, mentally and maybe even emotionally exhausted, and to have to learn a new set of skills on top of that. What if parents could have at least the basics under their belts before baby arrived? And wouldn't it be fantastic to connect people in all stages of baby-growing with local perinatal professionals from a variety of disciplines, who can share what they wished pregnant people and people with newborns knew before they ran into difficulties?
Why a conference? Couldn't you just offer information online?
I've also noticed, since having my own baby, how much peer Q & A goes on on parent groups on Facebook, and I thought wouldn't it be nice to foster old-fashioned face-to-face connections between people travelling on similar paths? Pregnancy and parenting can be tough and it's affirming to know you're in solidarity with others nearby.
I also believe in the power of hands-on learning. For example, if you don't know what osteopathy is, here's the opportunity to meet a real, live expert in it. And once you hear from Janet, our manual osteopathic practitioner, about how much additional strain baby-growing can be on your body and then benefit of treating it right, how would you get feedback about your posture and movement from her without actually being in the room for her alignment workshop (it's workshop 1D here)? Or, how would you believe in the deliciousness of whole and colourful plant-based food if it wasn't familiar to you, and you didn't have the opportunity to try the fantastic lunch Earth + City will be serving us on conference day?
How do you chose your conference presenters?
Some of the presenters are professionals that I've seen for myself and my family personally, others I met as colleagues when building HyggeMama or are folks who have sought me out since the word about 4 Trimesters has spread. I've worked to bring together a group with diverse backgrounds, but who are all approaching wellness from holistic and evidence-based place, and understand that what we're offering aims to be inclusive of many kinds of new parents, not just "moms". It's a treat to be able to collaborate with them to make this amazing day happen.
If you are a health and wellness practitioner yourself and would like to introduce yourself because you're interested in presenting at a future 4 Trimesters conference, please do send me an email.
What did you do before working with new and expectant families?
I graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in 2006, and then studied shiatsu, reiki and craniosacral therapy while I wrote my first cookbook, Get It Ripe (2008). I wrote most of my second cookbook, Ripe from Around Here, before I began midwifery school, and it was published in 2010.
What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time has become a rare and valuable thing since becoming a parent! But when I'm not working, I do a lot of breastfeeding and picture book-reading with my toddler. We hit up our local farmers' market most Mondays. If I had more time I would pick up one of my abandoned but beloved quilting projects, or enjoy a yoga class or bike ride. I also used to cook and bake for fun; these days it's more for function.
How do people get in touch with you?
I'd love to be in touch if you're looking for prenatal or postpartum support of some kind, or would like to collaborate on an aspect of 4 Trimesters. I'm accessible by email, or can be found easily on Instagram and Facebook. Please don't hesitate to reach out. I believe connection is one of the greatest sources of meaning in our lives.