Tag Archives: drugs

What is a Doul-a and What Do We Do?

When I first heard the term doula, I literally spoke the words: “a what-nah?” Fast forward two years and here I am: a practicing doula. The term ‘doula’ is ancient Greek and roughly translates as “a woman who serves.” For a professional movement that aims to empower, advocate and offer caring, non-judgemental support during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, this definition, while providing the gist, falls short. (Oh, and there’s no rule that men can’t be doulas.) If you don’t know about doulas, or if what you do know makes you scratch your head in confusion or suspicion, do me this favour and bear with me as I hopefully debunk some common myths and share what I know to be true about the doula role.

A common doula image has been the hippy-dippy, placenta eating type (while the healing benefits of this practice can be argued) the bottom line is that doulas do not force-feed their clients placentas, a myth that can create real barriers to doulas being taken seriously in broader systems of care – someone who wafts into a room ripe with patchouli oil and is dismissive of doctor’s orders.

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Art courtesy of the author, Rachel.

Here are some frank but concise things to know: 1) if a doula has been trained well, they will know the role is not a clinical one, and 2) that while a ‘hippy-dippy’ approach is often scoffed at, it seems clear that our culture is starved for what might better be termed ‘holistic care.’ I feel lucky to have attended births where medical staff and holistic practitioners worked symbiotically. The outcome was stunning. Our mutual respect and willingness to complement each other’s roles disproved the notion that ‘medical births’ and ‘natural births’ must be separate entities. This type of bridging is one of a doula’s most astonishing tasks and achievements. The doula’s role is that of an impartial diplomat, offering translations, support and conflict resolution if tensions may be running high. A doula also runs interference between expectant parents and well-meaning but occasionally overbearing family members. Continue reading

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Opportunity or Catastrophe? Weighing in on the Upcoming Legalization of Pot in Canada

Legalizing recreational marijuana was part of Justin Trudeau’s election campaign platform, but it wasn’t something many people took seriously. What with the common mistrust of politicians and the opposition of the very powerful Hell’s Angels gang, who stand to lose a lot of revenue if pot becomes legal, it was hard to take Trudeau’s proposition seriously.

That’s why I was surprised to hear that the Federal Health Minister had announced plans to legalize marijuana by 2017. CBC’s recent episode of Cross Country Checkup gave Canadians an opportunity to respond with a few of their thoughts on the new legislation. Many of the callers brought some great points to my attention, some of which I’ve touched on below. However, it was apparent that some callers were still buying into weed propaganda, from exaggerated health benefits to exaggerated threats. For this post I decided to pull together a few of the best arguments I’ve heard from both camps and try to find at least a little research to support their claims.

Pros of Legalization

1. Legalization could reduce an unnecessary drain on police resources

Cannabis related offences are the most common type of drug offence in Canada, especially here in British Columbia.

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Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

According to Stats Canada, “in 2012, 43% of Canadians reported that they had used marijuana at some time in their lives, and 12% reported using it in the past year”. That means half of all Canadians could have been charged with possession at one time or another. Although in some places police will turn a blind eye to mere pot possession, there are still a significant number of cases reported by police. CBC explains that 

there were 57,314 marijuana possession-related “incidents” reported by police nationwide, according to Statistics Canada. More than 24,540 people were charged as a result. The year before that, 25,819 Canadians faced charges.

What’s disconcerting about this grey area of crime is that police can often use their discretion when it comes to actually prosecuting an offence. According to a recent CBC News analysis, where you live can affect if you will be charged. They report that “you’re almost 23 times more likely to face a possession charge in Kelowna, B.C., than in St. John’s.”

Marijuana use is so widespread that it is taking a massive amount of police resources to even pursue pot users. According to a report last year, “police report a pot possession incident every 9 minutes in Canada”. Inevitably, chasing down the almost endless amount of pot users and dealers takes police away from pursuing other criminal activity. Continue reading

2 Broke Girls, S5E9 “And the Sax Problem”: A TV Review

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Let me start by saying that it’s about time. I’m not sure how many 2 Broke Girls viewers realize this, but Garrett Morris was an original SNL cast member. With that in mind it’s almost shocking how little the show has decided to do with Earl. On a typical episode I can count all of his lines on one hand, and by the time the twenty-something minutes are up I still have a few fingers left over.

“The Sax Problem” that’s of concern this week is strictly Earl’s, and in much the same way Sophie and Oleg got the most character development in “And the Basketball Jones” last Wednesday he takes centre stage [no pun intended]. Given how often Morris has been relegated to the sidelines I was actually apprehensive about how he would do being given so much heavy lifting, but I never should have doubted him. Continue reading

Culture War Correspondence: The Police

EVAN: Rooooooooooxaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnne!

Ladies, gentlemen, and others, Gordon and I have come together today to discuss, you guessed it, The Police. You could argue that there are other greater bands from the late 70s, but you would be wrong.

GORDON: I’d like to start off right now with a story about a recent experience I had with the police, if I may-

EVAN: By all means. What was Sting like in person?

GORDON: I wouldn’t know- I only heard ’em screaming at my next door neighbor through the door.

See, readers, I live in what nobody would describe as “good neighborhood”. It’s certainly not as bad as some places, but it’s definitely not a place that anyone wants to be.

In fact, the police shaking down my neighbor for one of his “Known Associates” stated just that. To quote one of ’em “I f-cking hate this [apartment] complex.”

Needless to say, it didn’t exactly inspire confidence within me that if I ever needed help, the boys-in-blue would have my back… Continue reading

Shame Day: Treatment of the Poor

I work with a population the vast majority of whom live below the poverty line in one of tougher zip codes this side of the Rockies. I won’t say it’s the least stressful job I’ve had, but for all sweat shed and sleep lost, if nothing else you get an up close look at a part of life most people don’t want to even acknowledge exists.

Let’s talk about the poor of America, and how you’ve got a lousy attitude about them.

Now you might be thinking “Geez, stop the presses, a Commie is ranting about the treatment of the poor.”

Touché. Continue reading

Fame Day: Johnny Cash

Readers, I do what I can to keep my fame days contemporary, but with Switzerland pretty much legalizing apartheid, bloody crackdowns in Egypt, and network giant Cisco cutting 5% of it’s workforce, finding something positive today just isn’t happening. So I figured I’d reach back a bit and pull out a shining beacon of hope from days gone by- my favorite music artist of all time, Johnny Cash.

Yes, he is looking at your soul.

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Why I’m Not Afraid Of Crime

In my attempt to err on the side of caution in regards to confidentiality, I rarely speak about my job, let alone write about it. Such is the nature of social work. Even so, the subject of today’s post has been preying on mind for a while now, and while I’m still going to not disclose the entirety of what I do, I am going to put it out there that I am (essentially) a vocational counselor for individuals who have criminal backgrounds. I just want to show that I do have some basic understand of some of the things I’ll be discussing, and I’m not speaking  simply out of speculation. So what are we talking about today? Crime, criminals, and why you shouldn’t be afraid of either.

Except the Corleones, who are the Lannisters, but without the inbreeding… Oh wait- wasn’t there something up with the cousins in the 3rd movie? I try to suppress it…

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