The baby business is booming in Red Deer.
While most Canadian cities have falling birth rates, Red Deer has a younger demographic and is bucking the national trend, so it is a good place to cater to moms and babies, say area merchants and non-profit groups who gathered Saturday at Red Deer’s Sheraton Hotel.
The big event was the screening of a Ricki Lake/ Abby Epstein film, More Business of Being Born, about birthing choices.
Joelle Johnson of the Family First Chiropractic Centre, brought the latest film to town, just as she previously screened its popular 2008 predecessor, The Business of Being Born, for a local audience.
“I want to empower women to get labour support,” said Johnson, who has met a lot of pregnant women in need through her work. Some are young, single mothers, while others have husbands who work out of town and few relatives in the area.
“A lot of moms are doing pregnancy alone, and are in need of support,” said Johnson. “I wanted to bring this community together so women don’t feel powerless.”
While the local chiropractor chose to deliver her three children at home in a birthing pool, she said “I’d like to educate women to make their own choices,” whether its delivering in a hospital or home setting.
Next to the film screening area were about 30 trade show booths. The non-profits represented included the La Leche League, a support group for vaginal birthing after cesarian sections, and a booth questioning the need for vaccinations.
Doulas that offer birth support were also present, as were midwives, who can deliver babies in or out of the hospital.
A baby photographer, a retailer of organic hand and laundry soap, health foods, a studio that offers prenatal yoga classes, and a seller of baby clothing were among the infant-based businesses.
Many were home-based, including Stephanie Lesner’s Sweet Bliss Creations, which sells organic stain remover that smells like playdough and soap made with baking soda.
Lesner, who has a three-year business plan that she hopes will allow her to stay home with a child someday, has noticed more young families in Central Alberta than in her hometown of Lethbridge.
“Everybody knows a baby,” said Chelsea Flaman, who sells patterned baby leggings and amber teething rings.
Krista VandenBrink, co-owner of the Breathing Room Yoga Studio, has also noticed a profusion of pregnant mothers around — so many have enrolled in her prenatal yoga class that a second one was started.
“I’m the first one out of all my Halifax friends to be having a baby. When I moved here I noticed a lot of young people were expecting,” said VandenBrink.
Amy Judson, who has a second child on the way, was at the trade show looking for a doula to provide delivery support. She said she still wants a hospital birth because of complications she experienced with her first daughter’s delivery. But Renee McLeod, who gave birth twice in hospital, feels comfortable enough in her third pregnancy to want a home birth. She was checking out the midwives and thinking about having a water birth.