A new healthcare service was born out of an idea from three women who all believe in providing comprehensive care and support for mothers and their children.
Located at 15 Lewis Rd., The World Of My Baby (WOMB) Guelph is a facility with over 20 practitioners specializing in multiple services for children and parents, including acupuncture, massage therapy, counselling, doula support, pelvic health physiotherapy, yoga classes, workshops and more.
With locations across southern Ontario, the private healthcare facility describes itself as a 'wholeness centre' focusing on the mental, emotional and physical needs of a person.
"We support you through any life transition," said Lindsay Newby, co-owner and administrator at The WOMB Guelph.
Open since Nov. 28, the three are hoping more expecting parents and new families learn about their services. Close to local hospitals, The WOMB Guelph also serves Wellington County, Kitchener and Breslau.
Co-owners Courtney Clayson-Russell and Natalia Rey-Caughlin are naturopathic doctors from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. They agree the other practitioners are excited about the opportunity to collaborate, share knowledge and provide care.
"They were drawn to that idea of 'We're all going to work together to make this person better,'" said Rey-Caughlin.
Besides being a healthcare facility, The WOMB Guelph wants to be a place where new parents can go to find community. The reception area is called the 'living room' and comes with couches and chairs for people to sit, chat and feel less alone.
"Some people do come in just for tea or coffee," said Clayson-Russell.
Newby first heard of The WOMB while attending a class at the Milton location in 2015. The first facility was opened there in 2014 by Lorri Fleming and Angie Stenback.
Struggling during postpartum, Newby said she didn't feel community support until she went to The WOMB.
"When I walked in there, it was the first time in my postpartum journey I felt loved," said Newby. "It felt like everything was going to be okay."
Newby wanted to bring that type of community support to Guelph, but the opportunity didn't come until the pandemic. In January, she learned about the opportunity to own a franchise and she set out to find some specialists to team up with.
"It was just me and you need practitioners and you need that side, obviously, it's very important," said Newby.
This is when Clayson-Russell and Rey-Caughlin come into the picture. Both certified naturopaths, Clayson-Russell met Newby during an acupuncture appointment where they talked about The WOMB. Like Newby, both were also interested in bringing The WOMB to Guelph.
"I've been practicing for over three years now and I feel that there's so many great practitioners, but they're all over the place, like there's nothing under one roof," Clayson-Russell said about services available in Guelph.
Clayson-Russell adds Rey-Caughlin also had worked at The WOMB Woodstock prior to moving to Guelph, and one day, both were talking about the facility while on a walk.
"We were talking about how we wished there was a place like The WOMB here in Guelph, and then that same day, I had the appointment with Lindsay."
Clayson-Russell adds having a central location for all these services helps people realize they're not alone in dealing with issues pre and post-pregnancy. She said their most-used services are education on fertility and postpartum.
"We see women, who are usually on mat leave with their baby, and they're like, 'Now what? How do I support myself? How do I support my baby?'" said Clayson-Russell.
Rey-Caughlin said historically people had elders and communities to help them with a new baby. Now, she said a lot of families experience isolation after having a baby, even before the pandemic happened.
"When you're a new mom, getting out of the house can be intimidating," said Rey-Caughlin.
Based on her experience, Newby agrees.
"When you become pregnant, or you first have your baby, you have all these issues that you need addressed, but you're like, 'Where do I go?'" said Newby.
Besides providing community space, The WOMB Guelph is looking to support local businesses and entrepreneurs by offering their products and will also be launching an angel fund to help provide healthcare services for those in need. Undergoing renovations, the clinic is also looking for registered massage therapists.
"The WOMB is for anyone who came from a womb," said Rey-Caughlin.