The Fraser Valley’s first ever “Birth Fair” will come to the Cloverdale Agriplex on February 25 and 26.
The fair will bring together prenatal services, products, specialists, practioners, care providers, therapists and related suppliers involved in the family planning and birthing process to support new parents or those who will soon become parents.
“When I really started thinking about it, I realized that all the tradeshows and fairs targeting pregnant women and new moms focused on shopping,” said Christie Weber, event producer. “While I definitely love buying super cute baby outfits, what we really need is a place to go to get good, unbiased information from a wide variety of sources.”
“I really want to see women and their partners and families asking questions, starting discussions, getting informed and feeling empowered,” she said.
New and expecting parents will have access to chiropracters, doulas, photographers, infant CPR instructors, car seat technicians, sex experts, pediatric dentists and more who will be able to provide both prenatal and postnatal care options and information.
“Our speaker line up alone is going to be so educational and fun that I actually expect some people to attend the fair both days,” said Weber.
Keynote speakers include Maureen McGrath, a registered nurse and sex and relationship expert, and Michele Kambolis, MA, a child and family therapist.
Weber said that although topics were still being narrowed down, topics covered would include the anxiety of bringing a baby home for the first time, breastfeeding, infant CPR and car safety.
The Birth Fair welcomes those who are thinking of starting a family, expecting a baby or already have a baby at home, including new or expecting fathers and partners.
“It’s important that partners are informed and able to support women through their pregnancy, labour and beyond,” said Weber. “(The fair) provides opportunities to learn about prenatal care, comfort measures during labour and tips for bringing home a newborn, all of which is important information for both mothers and fathers.”
“This event is even great for grandparents-to-be who want to learn about all the things that have changed since they had kids.”
As a mother herself, Weber wants to help new and expecting parents with the resources and information that they need. After the birth of her son, Weber had a conversation with a doula about what could have gone differently and realized that she might have made different choices during her labour if she had known about them.
“Some things that happened during my labour were not presented to me as options,” said Weber. “It made me realize that if I had hired her for her doula services I would have had the education and support I needed to make different choices and potentially avoid the need for a C-section.”
After the experience, Weber left her career in marketing and went back to school to become a doula. “I knew right away that I wanted to help educate and empower women and be a part of one of the most important days of their lives,” she said.
Now a practicing doula, she is drawing on her experience in marketing and event planning to put on the Birth Fair.
Weber plans on making it an annual event in the Lower Mainland. “In a few years, once we are really established here, I would love to take the show to other Canadian cities,” she said.
Weber is kicking off the first-ever birth fair in Cloverdale because of its central location. According to Statistics Canada, 40,000 babies are born in B.C. every year. “Sixty-one per cent of those babies are born within 50 kilometres of our venue,” she said, adding that the Cloverdale Agriplex was big, beautiful and “perfect for the event.”
Volunteers will staff the event in order to maintain a nursing mothers lounge, hand out “goodie bags” to participants, manage the speaker area and answer guest questions.
Tickets will cost $5 and the proceeds will go towards the B.C. Women’s Hospital Foundation to support high-risk pregnancies and critically-ill newborn babies in B.C.
If you’re interested in volunteering for the event or would like more information, visit: www.birthfair.com.