Military Mothering of Multiples

Posted on May 28th, 2018


How one Canadian corporal is advocating for more postpartum support on base.

It’s Multiple Birth Awareness Day AND The International Day for Women’s Health here in Canada.

One of the core values at Bebo Mia is teaching excellence, and we strive everyday to help create a platform for people advocating for pre and postpartum mental and physical health to share their stories and bring change to their own communities.

Military woman and Mother of multiples Jae Day is a leader of change for CAF parents, and is advocating for increased access to better support systems in the areas of maternal mental and physical health.

“On May 20th, 2017, on my second son’s first birthday, my husband and I found out we were having twins. We were shocked but very excited because to be given the chance to have multiples is definitely a blessing.

My first son was born in Halifax, NS with a severe heart condition where I battled mild postpartum depression. I gave birth to my second son in 2016 in Hamilton, ON and we moved to Borden, ON due to my husband’s training with the CAF. My twin girls are now 6 months old who were born 2 months early and spent 7 weeks in the NICU. I am a now a Mother of 4 under 3. My kids are the better part of me, and even though I have four children, I still feel like a new mother.

Women in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) are expected to get back into their pre-pregnancy bodies very quickly after giving birth. We are not given the physical, mental and emotional support that comes with the pre and post natal phases of motherhood.

After attending the 4 week early parenting series led by Mountain Momma Collective, I am motivated now more than ever to launch a postpartum program I have been dreaming about since 2015.

The program’s focus will help new mothers and parents of multiples by providing the opportunity to come together with the purpose of sharing our experiences, and make new friends at the same time. It is geared specifically to support military families. Women in our CAF are resilient and so strong, however there has been an increase in the number of parents being diagnosed with  postpartum depression and perinatal mood disorders.

The military life is very different.  We can be deployed or posted to a new base during and after maternity leave, and because of this, continuity in postpartum care and resources is sometimes impossible. We are also limited through our insurance coverage in the choice of primary care providers for our pregnancies, and are not currently able have prenatal or postpartum care of Midwives. I believe through developing a military centred program that can be implemented at CAF bases across Canada, a healthier and more compassionate focus to the physical and mental needs of young families will be achieved.

Having workshops that discuss our birth stories, breast & formula-feeding, self-care, baby wearing, and especially how to prepare safely for the FORCE fitness test when returning to work, with an emphasis on safe activity for your core and pelvic floor, is how I feel this programming will bring change. The CAF has all the resources to implement this programming, we just need a champion (me) to bring everyone together and help empower and support one another. My goal is to test run the program at my home base and then create a platform for it to be easily implemented across bases nationwide.”

Corporal Judith Day has been serving in the Canadian Armed Forces for 10 years ( May 28 2008 was her swearing in ceremony) and is currently posted to CFB Borden, near Barrie, Ontario. She also happens to be in the running as MAXIM CANADA’S next cover girl.

Jae tandem feeding her twins.

 

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FREE TOOL: Be in the know for all the doula 'birthy' days!

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4 Responses

  1. Elysia says:

    I’m not sure about the MFRC in Barrie, but there were multiple weekly programs offered like this at the MFRC in gagetown where they even had a nurse attend to talk about breasts feeding and answer questions that pop up being a parent, and very few people attended it. It’s unfortunate but sometimes these programs are run as a pilot program and don’t take off because they don’t get used. (I can’t say for sure if it is something that is still ongoing)

  2. Diane says:

    Hi Jae,
    I would love to chat with you more about your interest to develop more support for women in the CAF for prenatal and post partum services. I will provide you my background and my knowledge and interest in this area during our conversation. You can send me an email anytime. Look forward to hearing from you.

  3. Jae says:

    Hi Diane,

    Please contact me.

    Thanks!

  4. Jae says:

    Hi Elysia,

    I appreciate the comment.
    However, this is strictly for mothers in the military as often at times we don’t feel like we can relate with civilian mothers. This program is very different and it meets all expectations of a military mother.
    It is unfortunate, but this is something that is definitely needed and will continue.
    It’s all about funding sometimes.

    Thanks.

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