Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
Story by DANIELLE GRIFFIN
Photo by Alex Pearson
It was springtime and my partner Cam and I were living in Fort McMurray, Alberta, but looking for a new place to call home. We had a one year old baby and we wanted to find a new community that matched our young family’s values. We had a checklist of things we wanted in this new place: an affordable housing market, a culture of outdoor enthusiasts, beaches or mountains, trendy cafes, strong public library programs, and access to a midwifery program.
On a trip to New Brunswick to visit family, we took an unplanned road trip to Lunenburg. Cue the fireworks. We fell in love with Lunenburg County! Six months later we purchased our first home and made the mo ve across the country. That was three years ago, and we have never looked back.
Everything was coming up roses until one chilly morning in January 2018. I was having tea with friends when we heard the news that the South Shore Community Midwifery Program had been suspended. I was three weeks pregnant and, to put it lightly, I was angry. Our mild-mannered tea party very quickly turned into a strategizing session.
Five days later, we organized a rally to publicly demonstrate support for the program. Over 125 pregnant bellies, families, birth attendants, and allies showed up in the middle of winter to wave poster boards and speak with anyone who would listen. I was mesmerized: we made local, provincial and national news.
We didn’t stop with the rally. We wrote letters and emails, hosted interest groups, and met with politicians and NS Health Authority officials. This was strange and unfamiliar territory for most of us, but our belief in the midwifery model of care
proved to be enough.
In the spring, we received the news that the program would be reinstated in July and would be expanded from two full-time midwives to three. One midwife would be returning from leave and two others were hired from elsewhere in Canada. We were elated.
In response to the wonderful news, a small group of us (fierce midwifery advocates!) decided to approach the community to put together “gratitude baskets” for the midwives. Yet again, I was astounded by the outpouring of support. Individuals and businesses alike contributed a plethora of gift cards and locally made goods. The baskets were more like crates in order to contain all of the generosity! Presenting the gratitude baskets to the midwives was a perfect opportunity to meet them, welcome them to the community, and thank them for choosing to do their incredible work here.
Meeting my midwife was everything I had dreamed of for my pregnancy. Janet has over 20 years experience as a midwife and is warm, kind, loving and funny, to boot. We got to know each other quite well and that continuity of care is something all pregnant folks deserve. When I went into labour in late September, I knew I was getting the best possible care. I felt supported and had the birth I chose with women I knew and trusted.
It’s now over a year later and we’ve come such a long way. International Day of the Midwife is held annually on May 5 and this year could not have been more special. In an effort to celebrate midwifery, we held a lovely community-wide picnic. It was a beautiful demonstration of support for the midwifery program. The picnic also made clear just how much our thriving little community continues to grow. For me personally, it symbolically represented the values our family hold dear and captured my love for this place. We know unequivocally that we made the perfect decision in choosing Lunenburg County as our home.