Birth, Parenting and Mental Wellness

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our Women's Mental Health Program has hosted a series of collaborative Facebook Live presentations with the Ottawa Birth & Wellness Centre. Feel free to watch, and be sure to follow the Ottawa Birth & Wellness Centre on Facebook to watch more videos, and to find out about upcoming events.

Perinatal Mental Health with Dr. Valérie Giroux
A conversation about the risk factors and symptoms of Postpartum Major depression and Anxiety Disorder, available treatment options, and the importance of self-care and social support with Dr. Valérie Giroux. (Disponible en français ici)

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Ask the Experts: Pandemic Edition with Midwives Teresa Bandrowska, RM and Nicole Pichette, RM
This presentation featured two Midwives from Ottawa Birth & Wellness Centre who covered topics including pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding & chestfeeding during COVID-19.

Moderator:  Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Resources for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum available here:

Maternal Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Midst of COVID-19
This week's presentation centred around maternal mental health and wellbeing in the midst of COVID-19, including highlighting community-based resources and support options.

Presenters: Emma Slaney Gose and Ann-Marie O'Brien
Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Perinatal Mood and Anxiety: A Conversation with Dr. Jasmine Gandhi
A conversation exploring when it is appropriate to seek treatment for perinatal mental health, community resources, available types of treatments, and a Q+A with Dr. Jasmine Gandhi, staff psychiatrist at The Ottawa Hospital and Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa.

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Facebook Live with Community Agencies
This week's presentation highlights local services for parents and families, and had a live Q+A period at the end.

Featuring Guests:
Courtney A. Holmes CBD/PCD (DONA), CCE
Family Outreach and Birth Companion Support Worker
Birth and Parent Companion Program, Mothercraft Ottawa

Wendy O'Connell-Smith, BSW
Coordinator, Parenting Program,
Family Services Ottawa

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Community Access Doulas
This presentation provides an understanding of the role of a Postpartum Doula, the benefits and impact of Postpartum Doulas on postpartum wellness, and how to access postpartum care. It also discusses how systemic barriers and inequality can have a negative impact on postpartum wellbeing, and highlighted personal stories of families’ experiences with Postpartum Doulas.

Presenters: Christine Crook and Stephanie Bradford

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Perinatal Gut Health
This presentation provides an understanding of what gut health is, the gut-fertility connection, how gut health can affect a baby, what damages gut health, and provides suggestions for promoting proper gut health during and after pregnancy.

Presenter: Tay Gendron, CNP, NNCP

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Understanding and Healing Birth Trauma
This presentation provides an understanding of birth trauma and suggestions to promote healing from birth trauma. It explores what makes birth trauma unique, the consequences of birth trauma, how to prevent it, and how to move forward after experiencing birth trauma.

Presenter: Christiane Laflèche, MSW, Certified Postpartum Professional

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy

Understanding Breastfeeding Grief
This presentation helped audience members develop an understanding of breastfeeding grief and how it can manifest. Included was a personal story of breastfeeding loss, an explanation of disenfranchised grief, body-based grief, and secondary losses related to breastfeeding grief. The presentation also covered impossible parenting culture and its impact on breastfeeding grief, and discussed the power of ambivalence and self-compassion in parenting.

Presenter: Laurie-Anne Muldoon, MSW, RSW, BScN

Moderator: Nancy McLaren Kennedy



group of women smiling and laughing

Santé mentale des femmes

Le Programme de santé mentale pour les femmes est un programme novateur qui a été créé afin de combler le besoin de répondre à l’expérience de santé mentale, le traitement et le retablissement unique qu’ont les femmes de la maladie mentale en raison de leurs différences biologiques et de leurs différents rôles sociaux. Nous faisons la promotion de la santé mentale et du mieux-être de toutes les femmes, afin de nous assurer que les expériences des femmes dans le système de santé mentale tiennent compte de leurs besoins biologiques, psychologiques et sociaux uniques.