Dula? Doola? DOULA!

LowRes-Misty-2 The word doula comes from the ancient Greek language meaning "female servant," but it has come to mean a labour support person - someone knowledgeable about birth who will support the labouring woman and her partner before, during, and after birth. Anyone can call themselves a doula and often the woman's sister or friend will assume the role, but professional doulas are trained and some are certified by organizing bodies worldwide. Birth doulas provide information to the expecting woman during her pregnancy, emotional and physical support during her labour, and immediately after the birth. Postpartum doulas work with families in the 4th trimester (the first three months after baby is born) to help encourage, support, and provide information.

Now that we've got that out of the way, what do doulas actually do? Do you need a doula for your birth? What about after baby is born?

Let's talk about birth first. Birth doulas provide continuous support which has been shown to have many benefits including improved maternal and fetal health. Just how does a doula support a labouring woman? It depends on the woman! Some women need a gentle touch and encouraging words while some need to be left alone; some women like knowing their doula is there for ideas and suggestions; and some need a lot of physical support. Whatever you need, your doula is there for you.

Doulas are really handy when it comes to keeping mom comfortable, whether it's applying a cool cloth to the forehead, making sure the room is warm/cool enough, dimming the lights, suggesting different labour positions, or keeping mom hydrated and fed. But there are also things that are taught in the trainings - providing pressure on the back for pain relief, the use of a rebozo - a long, scarf-like piece of material - the use of a TENS machine, massage techniques and something called the double hip squeeze. These are only some of the comfort measures and tools we bring to each and every labour.

A doula can help you feel confident and empowered. A doula can hold your space and hold your hand. A doula can let your partner take a break. A doula can make a world of difference.

As for postpartum doulas, we joke that they try and work themselves out of a job. Postpartum doulas are there to answer any question relating to your new baby or your postpartum body. They are often trained to help with breastfeeding and sometimes baby wearing, cloth diapering, and can always find great resources in the community for anything challenging that comes up. They work with you to help you find your new normal, to find your rhythm, and to blossom into your new family unit.

Want to know more? Want to meet some Ottawa doulas in person? You're in luck. There is a FREE information session Tuesday, July 15th at 7pm at the Ottawa Birth and Wellness Centre. You can ask all your questions and maybe find a doula you like.

Hope to see you there!

Kamerine is mom to Little J and Little K.  She documents her life with two toddlers, a husband and a cat at The Life of KKamerine is also a birth doula, and you can find out more about her services at Tiny Feet Doula Services.


If I had a million dollars...

If you had a million dollars, what charity would you donate to? Thinking about this question had me floored for a while. How do you choose just one?? How do you decide which cause trumps another?

The answer is simple - every cause out there merits attention. Children with special needs, cancer research, hospitals, homeless shelters, environmental groups...the list goes on! What's important is that a charity means something personal to us - somehow, we have been touched by something and believe passionately that we must make a difference in the world.

So, in light of a recent conversation, I believe that my money (if there was ONE MILLION DOLLARS in my bank account...hehe, I can't help but do that in an Austin Powers voice) would go to Hopewell, Ottawa's Eating Disorder Support Centre.

Now, I think that I might be slightly biased towards this wonderful local charity. I worked there for two years as their Program Coordinator - organizing support groups, applying for funding and developing new programs. But there is no better way to get to know more about a charity than to work with one :)

According to experts, we currently have an "epidemic" of overweight and obese children in our society. When we think about weight, we normally don't think about eating disorders - that's because we picture the stereotypical case of anorexia, when an individual restricts food intake. But eating disorders run on a wide spectrum, and there are such a variety of issues. Many eating disorders begin in childhood, and children are not taught about what it means to have a healthy relationship with our bodies and our food.

That's where Hopewell comes in - although they also provide front-line services for those individuals who are very ill, they are also focused on prevention. Getting to the root cause of our challenges with food and weight are essential in solving the current epidemic. And we won't be able to do it without a fundamental shift in our thinking - shaming, extreme diets, and weight loss surgery are NOT the way to go.

If you've never heard of Hopewell, please check them out! Consider donating to this amazing organization, whether you have $5 or $1,000,000


Early Years

by Amy We just moved to an entirely new neighbourhood and I have switched to being at home all day with the kid, so we've been looking for some activities to keep her busy and tire her out a bit. The last time I was at the doctor, she mentioned the community resource centre not too far from our new house, so I went in to pick up some information and found that it's also the location of an Early Years Centre.

Every Early Years Centre has scheduled drop-ins and special programs. I had previously been to one of the centres to see a lactation consultant and they actually loaned me a breast pump. My husband also took our daughter to a drop-in for Dads when she was younger. This week I decided to try the toddler drop-in, partly because I want her to play with other kids, which she hasn't done much of since she left daycare, and I wanted to meet people from our new neighbourhood.

When we arrived I was worried we would be the only ones there, but it was packed. The Early Years Centre was a big room with a place to hang you coats and leave your bags, a few shelves of books, and then a play area and a craft area with tables. There was also a play area outside. My kid spent most of her time in the play kitchen, but I don't think she noticed the dress-up area.

After a good long play and snack time, there was circle time with songs and movement. My kid was shy at first but got right into it by the end.

I think my daughter was the oldest kid there, so next week we'll attend the open drop in instead, that one is for kids up to age six. She got some play time, so fun and interaction, and I had a couple of nice conversations too. I'm looking forward to next week.

Amy is mom to two year old Maggie and a 6 year old schnauzer named Henry. You can read her blog at amyboughner.ca where she writes about motherhood and anything else that’s on her mind. She also shares a blog with her husband at boughner.ca where they talk together about parenting a daughter.

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Flashback: Ray Friel Summer camps

As my 3 kids (and Joel too!) are taking part in City camps again (though not at Ray Friel) this summer this post seemed like a great one to bring back (they're heading to Calypso on Thursday, Kiernan is over the moon excited!). This year my 3 year old twins are taking part in the half day camps offered by the city! ~lara By Vicky

My son Joel just completed a week at Camp Central, a city of Ottawa day camp offered at the Ray Friel Rec Centre for kids ages 4-7.

The description said, [kids will] take a walk on the wild side, with weekly themes and some of the wackiest games and activities ever! I wasn't sure what to think, with this somewhat vague description, but this camp definitely did not disappoint!

Every day, the kids did a craft, went swimming, AND skating, and had a special activity at the end of the day. If they preferred not to swim or skate, there were other options for them, so they never felt pressured to do something they weren't comfortable with. They went to a nearby park, watched a movie, and even had a field trip to the Papanack Zoo!

Every morning we'd arrive for the morning wake-up, which was a bit overwhelming for a 4 year old. There was a room full of kids of all ages, and camp counsellors, shouting cheers and songs at the top of their lungs. Boy did it bring back memories! I wanted to join right in when they started "A booma chicka booma chicka rocka chicka boom!" (Tell me I'm not the only one who remembers that one!)

I can't say enough about the camp counselors. These kids are responsible, well trained, and genuinely love what they are doing. They doted on Joel, gave him lots of attention and I could tell that he really bonded with them by the end of the week.

If you live in the East end and are looking for a camp for your kids, I'd recommend Camp Central! You can register on the City of Ottawa's 123 Go registration page by searching for 'Camp Central'. It is offered until the week of August 8-12, 2011 for a cost of $150.50.

Vicky is the mom to 4.5 year old son named Joel and 2 year old daughter named Mieka. You can read her blog at blog Some Kind of Mom. She also is a Peekaboo Beans Independent Stylist, visit her on Facebook to find out more! www.facebook.com/ottawabeans

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Flashback: Summer Camps with the City of Ottawa

Summer is quickly approaching!  Here is a post by Carly about summer camps through the city. by Carly

I'm a big believer in recreation and the Little Man has enjoyed and benefited from the fantastic and highly-trained staff who look after the City of Ottawa's summer Day Camps.  Every time we drive by the community centre where he first went to a half day camp two years ago, he begs again to go back to "Animal Adventures"!  Whether you're in need of childcare this summer or just want to give the kids (or yourself?) a break for a week here and there, the options abound.  I took a few minutes to go through the City's Summer Activity Guide and picked out a few camps that caught my eye, for kids from 2 years of age and up. 


Fun in the Sun A fun filled, action packed summer with arts and crafts, games, sports, special events, outdoor activities and local trips.  This camp for 4-6 year olds has full or half day options for maximum flexibility and takes place in Orleans, at the brand new AQUAVIEW COMMUNITY BUILDING, 318 Aquaview Drive.  Call 613-580-2782 for more info.

Kinder Korner Community Camps If you live or work in the Nepean area, you’ll find these preschool camps right in your own backyard!  Amazing staff offer camps that are just the right size for your little ones.  Children 2-5 are welcome, camp runs from 9-11:30am from Monday to Thursday at a number of COMMUNITY BUILDINGS throughout Nepean.  Call 613-580-2424 ext. 41238 for more info.

Aqua Preschool Do you have a little swimmer on your hands?  Brewar Pool (613-247-4938), Deborah Anne Kirwan Pool (613-247-4820, Plant Recreation Complex (613- 232-3000) and St. Laurent Complex (613-742-6767) all offer half or full day aquatic camps for kids 3-5 years of age.  Games, crafts, and lots of fun are all on the agenda.


Big Art and Clowning & Cartooning Have a budding artist looking for a creative outlet this summer.  These two camps, taking place at the ROCKCLIFFE PARK RECREATION COMPLEX are just the thing.  Drama, games, animation techniques and the art of clowning are all on the menu.  Call 613-842-8578 for more info.

Drama, Drawing, Photography and Much More The NEPEAN CREATIVE ARTS CENTRE, 35 Stafford Road, offers a multitude of camps on everything from dance to printmaking, music to movie making.  Call 613-596-5783 for more info.

Interior Design, Project Runway & Top Chef Those are just some of the themes offered at AVALON PUBLIC SCHOOL, 2080 Portobello Drive and in French at ÉCOLE ÉLÉMENTAIRE JEANNE SAUVÉ, 1917 Gardenway this summer.  Older kids will love expressing themselves through fashion, design and cooking.  Call 613-580-2782 for info.

Computer Camps Computer camps are offered in partnership with FutureKids of Ottawa right across the City.  Kids will love creating their own animated cartoon, elaborate video games, learning how to make digital movies or exploring the world of robotics.  Check out pages 24-26 of the City of Ottawa Activity Guide (link below) for a location near you, or visit www.futurekidsottawa.ca.

Into the Woods Looking to get your kids out of the house and into the great outdoors this summer?  Get back to nature with this eco-friendly camp and get down and dirty planting gardens, following bugs, exploring forests and going on fun trips.  This camp for kids 4-12 years of age (with full or half day options) takes place at the GENERAL BURNS COMMUNITY BUILDING, 86 Argue Drive in Nepean.  Call 613-580-2424 ext. 41238 for more info.


Leadership The city offers a wide range of Leadership camps for youth 12 years and up, from Orleans to Kanata and many places in between.  Learn communication skills, program planning, team building, child development and camping skills.  Have a teen on your hands who loves working with children in recreation?  These programs are a must prior to working for the City and many offer hands-on learning experiences in camp settings.  Check out pages 38 and 86 of the City of Ottawa’s Recreation Guide for more details.

Equestrian Camps Does your pre-teen or teen dream of spending the summer on horseback?  Both the ST. LAURENT COMPLEX, 525 Coté and the NEPEAN NATIONAL EQUESTRIAN PARK, 401 Corkstown Road offer a wide variety of camps for the horse lover in your family.  For more info on the camps at St. Laurent Complex, call 613-742-6767.  For more details on those offered at the Equestrian Park, call 613-829-6925

Skateboarding, Soccer, Swimming, Hockey, Rope Skipping, Beach Volleyball, Cheerleading & More! Pages 40-47 of the City of Ottawa Recreation Guide are chock full of outstanding sports camps for children and youth.  Pre-teens and teens have their choice of sport and camps are offered throughout the City.

Summer Youth Centres Perhaps your teen just want to get out of the house and hang out with their friends this summer.  Join us for sports, movies, games, special events, camping, outings and more!  TANGLEWOOD COMMUNITY BUILDING, 30 Woodfield Drive and LARKIN HOUSE COMMUNITY BUILDING, 76 Larkin Drive are open Monday to Friday from 3pm to 10pm.  BELLS CORNERS P.S., 3770 Richmond Road and LESLIE PARK P.S., 20 Harrison Drive are open Monday to Friday from 2pm to 9pm.  Call 613-580-2424 ext. 41232 for more info.

More information on any of the camps listed above, as well as many more fantastic options can be found by visiting www.ottawa.ca/recreation. Financial assistance is available to qualified applicants for all recreation programs, including day camps.

Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 4 year old son, Jacob.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.