I live in one of those states where there are really no baby shows or fairs. In fact, I would have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to be able to get to the nearest one. It makes me sad since I wish more women had access to baby shows/fairs/trade shows. So, I was so excited when I ran across The Birthing Circle’s Birth and Babies Fair. If you live around Washington D.C./Maryland then this birth and babies fair is for you, but it is different from your average baby show/fair. Held at the Carroll Creek Park in downtown Frederick, MD The Birthing Circle’s Birth and Babies fair brings together some of Maryland’s Midwiferies, Doulas, Chiropractic offices, Massage Therapists, Maternity & Newborn Photographers, and more to help you in your pregnancy, delivery, and parenting journeys. Admission is free and it was more of an informational baby fair, but is totally worth the drive to attend. (You can purchase a VIP ticket that comes with a bag full of goodies and extra raffle tickets.) I loved having the opportunity to talk with different Midwife and Doula practices, learn about belly wrapping and home births, and just walk among the vendors soaking up the vast array of knowledge that was in attendance. This fair was not just about babies, but about mothers and birth. One of the fair’s goals, and the goal of The Birthing Circle, is to help educate women and families on their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum options, and to help them find resources in their area. As an individual looking to rock a VBAC this second time around I found this Fair to be so helpful and inspiring. Below are just some of the vendors, my favorites, who attended the fair and what I learned.
Doulas: There were two Doula’s that stood out to me at the fair that I loved chatting with. The first one was Doulas of Central Maryland. The moment I walked up to their booth there were smiles on all of the ladies faces and they were so welcoming. They helped give me a sneak peek on how to wrap my postpartum belly, and also how to use a ring sling as a belly support band while pregnant. (I believe it was Deborah who assisted me.) They infected me with their smiles and kind heartedness, and it carried with me throughout the rest of the day. The other Doula who stood out for me was Alyssa of Bella Rose Birth Services. She as well had an aura of happiness, and love for her profession. While I am already seeing a Midwife, I personally, have not delved into the world of Doulas, but after leaving the fair and speaking with these ladies I am personally looking into using a Doula.
Maryland Families for Safe Birth: As a woman who feels like my C-Section was unnecessary, and that more could have been done to assist me in getting the natural birth I so wanted the Maryland Families for Safe Birth booth really spoke to me. Their goal is to help lower the C-Section rate in Maryland, which is over 33%, and to help eliminate/close any racial gaps in maternity care. I can tell you first hand that in the state of Maryland something must be done to change maternity care. Doctors are not the only ones who can deliver babies, and actually they are the ones that carry the higher C-Section rate. (And with a higher C-Section rate there is also a higher maternal mortality rate.) Women deserve to be able to have access to all maternal/birthing care options and to be able to choose how they give birth, and in the state of Maryland, Maryland Families for Safe Birth is working towards this goal.
ICAN (The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc.): Is an organization that believes in promoting VBAC births, provides support for women who have had C-Sections, and wants to reduce the percentage of unnecessary C-Sections. This is done through educating women or their birth options, and providing peer groups for women to discuss and receive information. When I went up to the ICAN booth there was so much information available for me to read. I walked away with multiple booklets of information going over the myths of repeat C-sections and VBACS as well as how to tell if your hospital is VBAC tolerant or friendly. (I have found many OB offices will say they are VBAC friendly when in fact they are actually VBAC tolerant. There is a difference.) Visiting the ICAN booth just further emphasized how much information was not shared with me by my OB’s office or in my birthing classes.
Other Booth’s and Activities: Since the park, where the Birth and Babies Fair was located, was huge there were so many booth’s and activities. From essential oil, skin care, pharmacy’s, swimming schools, and more there was something for every stage of parenting. There was also a raffle at the end of the Fair. If you purchased a VIP ticket you get a bag filled with awesome samples, and also receive more raffle tickets to up your chances of winning something during the raffle. I was super excited I won a pumping essentials gift basket. Even though I plan on breastfeeding my second child I am aware, from my experience with my first, sometimes things do not go as planned and having the resources already on hand to pump can be crucial.
So again, if you are in the Washington D.C./Maryland area, looking to start a family, pregnant, or looking for more information regarding your birthing choices, make sure you look up the Birth Circles Birth and Babies Fair. If you have any questions please feel free to drop them below in the comments!