A local program believes healthy mothers make healthy babies.
Funded by provincial Pregnancy Outreach Programs (POPS), Baby’s Best Chance is designed to help ensure local mothers have the healthiest babies they can possibly have.
Program coordinator Linda Kempling, who has been with Baby’s Best Chance since 1992, said she can see that the program is very important to Campbell River.
“It’s huge because we really get a lot of people who are saying ‘I don’t know what I would do without it,’” explained Kempling.
It offers free prenatal vitamins and supplements, food vouchers, an emergency food cupboard, rides to doctor’s appointments, and bus tickets to mothers with financial problems, among other things. Kempling said the bus tickets and emergency food cupboard are new aspects to the program created in response to a greater need in the community.
“We find that so many more families are so much hungrier than they were in the past,” said Kempling. “The economy is a little scarier in Campbell River right now.”
Although the program helps women in financial need, it is about more than that, according to Kempling.
“The support aspect really is huge, that is one of the biggest things that we do here,” explained Kempling.
The program has a developed support network for mothers-to-be and mothers-who-are, offering weekly drop-in pre and postnatal groups, walking and swimming groups, picnics, and expertise from a registered dietician and a registered nurse, among other services.
Twenty-two-year-old Kari Wasylciew joined the program about eight months ago as a mother-to-be. She struggled to put into words how valuable the information and support was to her as single woman pregnant with her first baby, repeating that it was “invaluable,” and that the support and knowledge she gained helped her greatly.
“You’re getting the proper information, but you’re also getting the experience,” said Wasylciew. “To have somebody that you know is going through the exact same thing that you are is so relieving.”
This past Tues., Wasylciew was at her last prenatal drop-in with her daughter Kaya, who is just over a month old. She was telling her birthing story to all the expectant mothers to prepare them for their own big day.
And it doesn’t end there; Wasylciew has can continue on in variety of different programs until Kaya is six.
The program also accommodates women who don’t like group sessions by offering one-on-one support.
While designed for women who have a high risk pregnancy, that can include something like social isolation as well as economic or medical stresses. Kempling said women who would like to participate in the program who don’t need the extra financial help are more than welcome.
“It doesn’t have to be low income; it’s just for women who really truly need that extra little bit of support, maybe they’re brand new to town,” said Kempling, “if a woman feels like she needs the extra support then she feels like that for a reason.”
The office is located at 487 10th Ave., and is open from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays. For more information or to set up a time for an intake interview call 250-287-2421.