Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day – October 15th
“I’m sorry, there isn’t a heartbeat.” “Your baby has died.”
Let the weight of those words sink in for a moment.
For families who have experienced the loss of a child before or after birth these are more than sad sentiments. These are words that destroy dreams, shatter hope, and alter lives forever. These are words that turn unimaginable nightmares in to reality.
As many as 25% of pregnancies will end in a loss. 1 in 4. Chances are, this includes someone you know. Each year on October 15th, Ontario acknowledges the experience of loss families through Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. This was proclaimed a protected event as part of a larger piece of legislation passed in 2015 (Bill 141: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Research and Care Act). The Act also requires research to be undertaken and programs to be developed to address the impact of pregnancy loss and infant death for families.
Another ritual carried out within the pregnancy and infant loss (PAIL) community on October 15th is the Wave of Light. People are asked to light a candle at 7pm and let it burn for an hour as a sign of support and remembrance.
Why should we talk about this? The simple answer is: because it matters. It matters that parents feel supported when they are told their pregnancy has ended or they have lost their child. It matters that healthcare and support providers communicate with families in a sensitive and compassionate way. It matters that there are resources available to help parents navigate through a very complicated and traumatic kind of grieving.
It also matters that we see these families and hear their stories. Acknowledgement of the devastation and ongoing struggle to make sense of a pregnancy or infant loss is so important for many parents. It means they don’t need to explain why they may be completely different people after their loss. It means they don’t have to be afraid or feel ashamed to express their pain. It means they are surrounded by an informed, compassionate community.
Education & support are key components of acknowledgement. The Pregnancy & Infant Loss (PAIL) Network of Ontario is a good place to start and provides information about these types of losses and how families can access help. In Kenora, the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Coalition serves as a resource for support, education, and awareness within the community. This group is made up of healthcare and support providers from various organizations, including representatives from the Sunset Country Family Health Team, as well as volunteers with lived experience. The Coalition will be hosting a PAIL Network Compassionate Care Workshop in November. This session will provide an opportunity for local professionals to increase their PAIL-related knowledge and skills. Kenora also has PAIL Network-trained peer support volunteers who are providing one-on-one counselling and will soon be starting a Circle of Support (ie. support group) for local families.
October 15th is an important date for us all to mark on our calendars. The PAIL families in our community require sensitivity, compassion, and support each and every moment following their losses. Take some time to learn, reflect, and share with friends and family this week – because it matters.
Summer is coming to an end … which means school is starting … which means lunches need to be packed … I can hear the *sigh* of every parent from here.
Before we get started I have something to admit … I am a “new to school mom” … I may be a Registered Dietitian but my little one only starts kindergarten this year which means I don’t have a whole lot of experience packing lunches … but this also means it is at the forefront of my mind right now. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert (obviously I’m not, my little one hasn’t even started school yet!) but I am going to share a few tips.
1. Aim for a variety of food groups.
Each food group provides different nutrients to help fuel your child’s body and brain! An easy way to ensure they are offered a variety of nutrients throughout the day is to make sure you choose a food from each of the following categories.
*Bonus tip – print this chart and have your kids choose what they’d like!*
2.Think outside the lunchbox.
It is easy to get stuck in a ‘sandwich cycle’ – day after day, sandwich after sandwich. Consider your child’s favourite food and think of how you can incorporate it and still include at least one food from each of the categories listed above.
My little one LOVES pancakes and muffins (who doesn’t?!). Get creative and work the food groups into them – quinoa egg veggie muffins, cottage cheese pancakes (I know you are thinking, “there is no way my kid will eat that” but give the simple 3 ingredient recipe a try and you may be surprised … if you still aren’t convinced add a few chocolate chips), pizza muffins, chickpea blondies (yes – a Dietitian just suggested brownies for lunch).
*Bonus tip – premake and freeze any of the above recipes for quick & easy lunch packing!*
Bento box / smorgasbord / lunch box buffet / charcuterie lunch pack / homemade lunchable – whatever you want to call it, kids love it! Use a store-bought compartmentalized container, mini tackle box, or make your own by adding silicone muffin cups to a container you already have. Fill each compartment with a different choice – don’t forget to include all of the food categories!
It was decided on in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly, that August 12 would be named International Youth Day. This day is made to raise awareness of the importance and value of youth to our society.
They are our future leaders and representatives. For this reason, on this day we address how important it is to ensure that all children have a safe place to live and grow. These safe places allow them to expand their knowledge, creativity, humanity, and to embrace their self-expression.
Fact: 1 in 10 of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school.
Many youth live in conflict zones where they are put into spaces with racism, religious discrimination, child labor, and many more issues. On top of that many of them are not in school, which leads them to have a lack of knowledge and understanding needed for our society today. When our youth don’t receive the protection and care that they deserve, it is affecting not only them, but each one of us. They are our future and they are going to be what makes our world function, why not take care of them now? We all must come together to raise awareness of things happening to our youth and be the difference in their lives by raising awareness and making changes where needed.
“The future promise of any nation can be directly measured by the present prospects of its youth.”- John F. Kennedy
“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.” – Aristotle
“Youth is the trustee of prosperity” – Benjamin Disraeli
So don’t be afraid to speak up for the youth!! It could make a world of difference!
Safe patient care depends on accurate information. Patients benefit when clinicians work with patients, families, and their colleagues to collect and share current and comprehensive medication information.
Medication reconciliation is a formal process which should be done at care transitions, such as when patients enter the hospital, are transferred or go home.
Should you ask for a medication review?
– Are you, or is someone you know, on five or more medications?
– Have you, or someone you know, been recently discharged from the hospital?
– Are you concerned about the side effects you’re experiencing or seeing in a loved one?
What can you do?
Patients and caregivers can ask their Doctor, Nurse or Pharmacist for a medication review.
Use the following 5 questions to guide your conversation.
Changes? Have any medications been added, stopped or changed, and why?
Continue? What medications do I need to keep taking, and why?
Proper Use? How do I take my medications, and for how long?
Monitor? How will I know if my medication is working, and what side effects do I watch for?
Follow-Up? Do I need any tests and when do I book my next visit?
Together, we can be sure you are getting the most up to date, accurate and safe care possible. We all have a role to play!
Self-care is the caring of yourself. Caring for yourself helps to establish and maintain good health, and prevents and manages any chronic disease. Self-care helps us to maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves and others, it helps to boost self-esteem, self-confidence and positive feelings. Self-care can also help manage our stress.
Self-care strategies are varied and include eating healthy foods and food portions, exercising daily, and management of stress. Self-care is also the self-management of chronic disease. An example of self care is if you have a chronic disease such as diabetes your health care team supports you in the management of your diabetes. These supports assist you in the understanding of diabetes but also how to self management your diabetes. Self management strategies is understanding how and when to do home glucose monitoring, what are the steps to avoid hypoglycemia and what to do if you do have low glucose readings.
Self-care makes you the “driver of your own health train”. Self-care empowers you with the knowledge and actions to keep you healthy and allows you to have the best quality of life. There is no one-size-fits all approach to self- care. It can look different for every single person and can even differ for you day to day.
Some self-care quotes
“Self-care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”
What are some examples of self-care that we could do in Kenora
Watch a beautiful sunset
Walking on the Harbourfront
Lie on a beach
Go for a kayak or boat ride/paddle boat.
Go to one of the many free summer concerts
Listen to the loons
Do a puzzle
And so forth
Many more self-care resources and suggestions online.