Ask A Midwife

For the next few instalments of our Ask A… series, Two Doulas will be interviewing professionals who help catch babies. This time we are hearing from Trista Leggett, one of the wonderful midwives serving Montreal families at the Maison de Naissance Lac-Saint-Louis.

Trista Leggett is soon to be fifty years old. She is Montreal-bred but has been living on the West Island for the last twenty years. Trista has been “Married forever with two grown daughters (how did that happen?!)”

She holds a BA in Psychology from Concordia and BSc in Midwifery from UQTR.

Trista started her journey towards midwifery twenty five years ago. She had some lovely travels through apprenticing as a midwife before the legalization*, working as a doula, heading back to CEGEP for her science prerequisites for the Midwifery University program, working as an aide-natale in the Maison de Naissance Community Birthing Home, and then finally obtaining a Midwifery license in 2007.

How would you describe your job in just one sentence?

Midwifery is accompanying women and their families through a journey of a lifetime.

What made you want to be a midwife?

I think originally I was somewhat obsessed with the wonders of pregnancy and babies. I could not wait to have my own. It was definitely mind blowing to learn that midwifery is so much more than pregnancy and babies.

What happens at your first meeting with an expectant parent or family?

We cover some essentials pertaining to their eligibility and motivation for midwifery care. But then we get right into the fun part of getting to know each other.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?

Oh geez, just one? The biggest misconception is that midwives are the way of the past. On the contrary, we are the past, the present, and the future.

What do you love most about your job?

Again, a question that has so many answers. The sisterhood is what gives me the constant high. I am so blessed to be working amongst amazing women: colleagues and clients. To have a job that leaves you constantly inspired, nurtured and in awe of the powers of women is just too good to be true.

And finally, when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

Probably a vet, but for horses. I was supposed to marry a man who would buy me a ranch. Lol

*Fun fact: Midwifery in Quebec was finally legalized in 1999, the same time as the UQTR program, of which Trista Leggett is a graduate, began.

Stay tuned for more interviews to come! And if you want to catch up on our previous Ask A posts, you can find them here.

Ask A Family Doctor

For the next few instalments of our Ask A… series, Two Doulas will be interviewing professionals who help catch babies. This week we are picking the juicy brain of Hannah Shenker, a family doctor caring for families here in Montreal.

We are not ready for snow yet but this actually makes wintery weather look like fun!

Dr. Shenker is a Montreal based family physician providing perinatal and well baby care. She works at the CLSC Côte des Neiges, La Maison Bleue, and the Family Birthing Centre at the Jewish General Hospital. She also spends a few weeks per year working in Nunavik, Quebec and is an assistant professor in Family Medicine at McGill University.

How would you describe your job in just one sentence?

“Cradle to grave care”. We learned that in medical school but turns out it is true.

What made you want to be a family doctor?

The opportunity to form longstanding relationships with families from various backgrounds.

What happens at your first meeting with a new or expectant parent?

I introduce myself, my role, explain that I work in an interdisciplinary team, get an understanding for the expectant family’s medical and personal background, make a general plan for prenatal care, answer questions.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?

That physiologic birth is not our priority or that we don’t understand its importance.

What do you love most about your job?

Bringing new babies into the world.

And finally, when you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

A writer or a gymnast.

Stay tuned for more interviews to come! And if you want to catch up on our previous Ask A posts, you can find them here.

Ask A Doula

Heather Collins is the newest member of the team so in true Two Doulas style, she has agreed to do an Ask A…interview.

How would you describe your job in just one sentence?

I provide emotional, physical and informational support to families as they navigate the intense, joyful but sometimes overwhelming journey through pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

What made you want to be a doula?

While pregnant with my first I wanted to learn everything I could about pregnancy and childbirth, and I wrongly assumed this interest would wane once he was born. The scientist in me loves learning about evidence-based practices and the mother in me loves being a source of comfort while nudging people towards finding their own strength. My interest in doula work is also fuelled by my own experiences feeling supported during and after the births of my two children.

How can new or expectant parents benefit from your services?

Birth is an unforgettable life changing event but it’s also unpredictable. Doulas are an evidence-based way to increase your chances of better birth outcomes and satisfaction. I provide comfort in ways that make sense to you, whether they be physical, emotional or informational. I can use soothing touch, suggest the best ways to stay nourished and relaxed during labor, be a source of encouragement, listen to fears, answer questions and anything else that will promote a safe, calm and nurturing environment for birth. I trust that you’ve got this and I am here to uphold you as birth unfolds and parenthood begins.

As a postpartum doula I offer support without judgement to ensure that you walk into your new role as a parent with as much confidence and as many tools as possible. I can help you get some rest (or a shower!), do light household tasks, bring you warm food and provide an empathetic ear to the complex feelings of bringing a newborn home. Amidst a society that is full of judgement and unsolicited advice let’s take a step back and figure out what YOU want and need and how I can make it happen. It’s easy to forget the parent when everyone is focused on a new baby. I support families as a unit to the benefit of everyone.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?

That doulas have an agenda in terms of how birth should go.  Given the same set of information two people can make different yet perfect choices. I always encourage people to make educated decisions and I can help with information but ultimately the power is in your hands and I fully support whatever you choose. This also applies to decisions made after your baby is born. Only you know what is right for your family.

What do you love most about working with new and expectant parents?

Witnessing people transform and find their innate wisdom and strength. Whether it be learning to listen to your body’s cues in pregnancy, swaying in the midst of labor, roaring baby out, breathing during surgery prep or a new parent confidently executing a diaper, feed, sleep cycle.

From the ashes of Cant’s and Don’t know hows rise wonderful and caring parents. What a wonderful thing to behold and a great honour and privilege to be a part of.

Ask a Portrait Photographer

We ask professionals who work with new and expectant parents the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS  talks to portrait photographer Natacha Silber.

Natacha Silber is a portrait photographer who has been documenting Montreal families since 2008. She graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan in 2001 with a BFA in Photography. She and her husband Mike have two wonderful kids aged 10 and 13. Silber’s heart still pangs at the pace that life is cruising by before her eyes and says her camera can’t keep up with how fast her kids are growing. When she’s not at work editing or photographing, you will most likely find her cooking or reading about cooking, training at the gym with her workout friends, at bootcamp class or on a long walk with her husband. She had no idea that she loves country music until she found Nashville on Netflix, but says she will always be a 90’s hiphop girl at heart.

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Ask A Nutritionist

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to nutritionist Naomi Berkowicz. 

Nutritionist Naomi BerkowiczNaomi Berkowicz Dt.P. is a registered dietitian-nutritionist working in private practice in Montreal. She graduated from the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University and is a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ).
Naomi specializes in pregnancy, breastfeeding, infant and pediatric nutrition. She is studying to become a lactation consultant to further her specialization. When she’s not working or studying, she can be found exercising with YouTube videos, playing with her precocious toddler, and drooling over the Food Network.

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Ask an Osteopath

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to osteopath Heather Barton.

Osteopath Heather BartonHeather Barton, BSc., CAT(C), D.O. is an osteopath and an athletic therapist with over twelve years’ clinical experience. She works at both the Spinal Mouvement St-Joseph clinic in Mile End and at the Axio Health clinic in downtown Montreal. When not working, you can find her hanging out with her delightful family, organizing her kids’ science club or trying out some new dance or yoga moves.

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Ask A Chiropractor

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to chiropractor Dr. Valérie Lavigne.

Chiropractor Valérie LavigneDr. Valérie Lavigne graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1998. She graduated in November 2014 with a Master of Science in Pediatric Musculoskeletal Health from the Anglo-European Chiropractic College. Her office is located at the Clinique Chiro-Santé Kirkland in Montreal’s West Island. When Valerie is not working she is either sailing or skiing!

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Ask an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Melissa Woodward.

Lactation consultant Melissa Woodward

Photo credit: Adorro Impressions Photography

Melissa Woodward BScN IBCLC has been working and volunteering with breastfeeding mothers and babies since 2007 and received her IBCLC accreditation in 2014.

When she isn’t working with clients, Melissa can be found training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, inventing allergy-friendly recipes for her family, and perpetually stepping on Lego. Read more

Ask A Childbirth Educator

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to childbirth educator Gillian Doria.

Photo credit: Karin Benedict

Gillian Doria is the owner of Montreal Childbirth Classes. She trained for three and a half years to become a childbirth educator and got her diploma from the University of Bedfordshire (UK). She has been a childbirth educator for 14 years and is also a birth and postpartum doula, having trained with Doula UK and MotherWit Doula Care in Montreal. She has lived in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, England and France. She has two children and enjoys running, yoga, traveling and going to the movies. Gillian offers doula services and private prenatal education classes to expectant families in Montreal. For information about her classes and other services, visit her website, www.montrealchildbirthclasses.com, her Facebook page, or send her an email at montrealchildbirth@gmail.com.

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Ask A Pelvic Health Physiotherapist

We ask health and wellness professionals the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS talks to pelvic health physiotherapist Amadea Kezar.

Physiotherapist Amadea Kezar

Amadea Kezar is a certified physiotherapist and member of the Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec (OPPQ) who has been working in rehabilitation for 11 years and practising pelvic floor physiotherapy for the past five. She earned a Master’s degree in physiotherapy from McGill University and went on to specialize in Pelvi-Perineal Re-education for men and women. Travel is Amadea’s second passion and she pursues it in earnest. When in the city, she enjoys dinner parties (where she can talk travel), long urban hikes, and having a good laugh with friends and family. 

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