Ode’imin a new step in reconciliation journey
By Louise McKay
Winnipeg Regional Health Authority
Published Monday, February 7, 2022
Ode'imin (ooh-day-min) located at 603 St. Mary's Road, at the fork of St. Anne's and St. Mary's Road, has been home to what Manitobans have known as the Birth Center for the last ten years. On December 9th it was gifted with its Spirit name of ‘Ode'imin', the Ojibwa word for strawberry. The Elder's teaching accompanying it is that "this is where new life comes from."
At birth, Creator promises us all a good life - our responsibility is to make the decisions for that to happen. Many of the people who were there at the start of The Birth Centre came to welcome Ode'imin and to be there at this new beginning.
Over the last few years, the Women's Health Clinic (WHC) began a reconciliation journey by hiring a Traditional Elder as part of their management team. Since that time, many changes have taken place at the WHC, including the use of a Grandmother's Circle in the hiring of their Executive Director. The ceremony and name Ode'imin was another step in the WHC's reconciliation journey. What you will continue to see over time is this ongoing shift towards a more traditional, Indigenous perspective in everything we do.
Another important part of this journey is to honour those Indigenous ancestors whose land we borrow the use of today. To do this, Ode'imin welcomes you in Ojibwa, Michif French, Cree, Michif Cree, Dakota, Dene, and Oji-Cree – greetings that are on an eye-level plaque visible as soon as you open the front door.
Ode'imin is a safe, comfortable, family-centred place for those having a low-risk pregnancy and under the care of a WRHA midwife (midwives are health professionals who provide support during pregnancy, labour, birth, and care for the first six weeks after the baby is born).
We offer a beautiful, multi-purpose space with ample free parking, plenty of natural light, large birth rooms fitted with comfort and safety measures, meeting spaces, and a garden. All areas are wheelchair accessible.
Ode'imin uses a wholistic (the elder-preferred spelling of "holistic") approach to all the services we offer and we put you and your care at the center of everything we do. The first thing we do is get to know who you are and build a relationship with you so that we can better support your choices. You have complete ownership in your birthing experience.
We are open to everyone and offer a wide variety of programs and services to the public, including prenatal classes and care, a place for birthing, and group/workshops for parent-s. You don't have to give birth at Ode'iminto receive midwifery care or attend our workshops.
Ode'imin is also home to a Breast Milk Bank where donors may make deposits for use by new moms and we operate a Universal Infant Hearing Screening Program. Our newest program is the Dragonfly Support Program for those whose pregnancy resulted in a birth in Spirit world instead of in the human world.
If you are in active labour, you will be admitted to one of our four birthing rooms. This birth room is where you will progress through labour, give birth to your baby, and then rest for three to six hours after the birth and before your discharge.
Our birth rooms are spacious and can accommodate doulas, family members, support people, and/or photographers. There is no limit on the amount of people you can have with you, provided there is enough room for the midwife and birth centre assistant.
The birth rooms are full of amenities for you to use during and after labour including:
- a private bathroom that include a shower;
- a tub which can be used during delivery;
- yoga/peanut balls to open your pelvic area for an easier birth;
- ladders/rebozo for support and stretching;
- heating pads/cold packs;
- and a large adjustable bed.
Wi-Fi is available or you can make a playlist of your favorite relaxing songs. You are also welcome to engage in your personal and cultural or traditional practices of smudging or other ceremonies during your labour and postpartum.
We say Meegwetch / Ekosi / Marsi for spending taking the time to learn about Ode'imin. Should you decide to visit us or wish to access any of our services, please either drop in while following COVID-19 protocols or contact us at 204-594-0900.
Louise McKay is an Elder with the Women's Health Centre, non-profit, charitable organization that provides a range of accessible health and mental health services, health education, and advocacy.