Birthing centre founders reflect on 25 years (and more) of supporting local parents

By Gordon Lambie

In January it will be 25 years since Marise Gosselin became the first mother to give birth at the birthing centre that now serves Sherbrooke and the surrounding area. “My dossier was number 001,” she recalled, explaining that although she worked in the auto industry at the time, she responded to a newspaper ad taken out by local midwife Jeen Kirwen for a training course to be a midwife’s assistant and quickly became certain that she wanted to know more about the re-emerging world of midwifery care in Quebec. “The stars were aligned,” she continued, noting that not long after signing up for the course she became pregnant and was able to take advantage of the care that she had spent time learning about. In the end, Gosselin’s two boys, Raphael and Hubert were both born at the Maison de naissance, and although she never ended up assisting with any other births that experience opened her eyes to an approach to maternity and birthing care that she says is still often misunderstood decades later. Jeen Kirwen, Jennie Stonier, and Lyne Castonguay were at the heart of the original pilot project for a birthing centre in the region, which got started five years before their profession was formally legalized in the province. Reached by The Record in the lead-up to an open house planned at the Maison de naissance de l’Estrie this coming Sunday, each remarked in her own way at how that 25 year mark is really just one milestone on a road that stretches back much further. See full story in the Friday, Oct. 4 edition of The Record.

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