My Story

We had just witnessed the most amazing thing in our lives to that point and could not wait to discuss it.

When we got to the lovely patisserie, on the same street as our apartment in Outremont, Quebec, the smell of coffee and freshly baked, buttery croissant wafted through the air.

My husband of two years and I picked a table near the window. We sat down across from each other.

Eyes wide open. Our mouths emblazoned from ear to ear with full grins!

Words escaped both of us. So giddy with joy that all we could do was just bashfully beam at each other, radiating a bliss that cannot be explained!

We had just returned from the ultrasound. Our first. We witnessed our little miracle take shape. Ten little fingers. Ten little toes. All accounted for through a crystal clear, grainy black and white image. A little heart beating loud and strong.

Smile hard, through damp eyes is all we could do!

I had always wanted to be a mom. From a young age. I dreamed of a big family. Five kids is what I envisioned.

When I met my husband, he used the words, ‘a little league team’ to describe the size of family he pictured.

And now, here we were, walking the first leg of that journey.

Pre-natal classes soon followed.

Excited, joy-filled and full of wonder, we also wanted to be absolutely prepared for life with a baby.

Both creatures of research and preparation as young journalists, both visual learners, we hung on every word and corresponding image shared by the nurse instructor, Heather, who taught the class.

Back in 1996, video was still a somewhat new phenomenon. Before Heather hit play on the ‘bathing a newborn video’ she prefaced it by saying — watch the first 30 seconds, then we will fast forward the next bit, and then we will watch the last minute. That’s because some of the information was outdated or did not apply to a Canadian audience. The video was made in the U.S. several years prior. It was the only resource the hospital had as a teaching tool.

The bells sounded, the whistles went off and my head started to explode at her words.

I turned to my husband and said, “I can do better than that.”

Three short years into my career as a television reporter at that time, I became enthralled with, then intentional about the idea of creating quality visual resources for new and expectant parents.

A blend of images and words, delivered by medical and health professionals, visually-rich, conveying key information in a how-to format — imparting knowledge, alleviating anxiety, inspiring confidence — for the most important job on the planet that comes with no instructions, manual or playbook: parenting.

With my immediate family 525 kilometres away, my ‘belle famille’ a 45-minute drive away, no one in my workplace or within our friend circle who was pregnant or who had young kids — we needed to sort it out on our own.

The internet was still a figment in 1996. Books could only offer so much. Seeing is believing. Making videos was a natural-fit-no-brainer for this subject matter, without question.

Our VHS then DVD on newborn care, followed by one on nutrition for babies and toddlers, each in English and French and featuring leading Canadian medical and health professionals — were soon used as teaching tools across North America in pre-natal classes like the one my husband and I attended.

These were followed by a book, radio and television shows, blogs and hundreds of interviews.

More than 20 years later, Where Parents Talk remains joyfully tethered to our roots — supporting parents with quality information, proven tips and trusted advice — from other parents.After all who else could possibly empathize and relate more than a fellow mom or dad, steering through the side streets and highways, manoeuvring along the mountains and valleys of raising little humans.

As my three children have grown, so too has our parenting community — now in a digital space — traversing the ages, stages and constant evolution that is parenting.

The key development phase of adolescence brings with it unique questions, challenges and opportunities when it comes to being a parent. I soon realized that while the internet is filled with parenting websites and information, much of it does not pertain to pre-teens, teens, youth and young adults — unless of course it is negative.

Determined to infuse joy, confidence and a relentlessly optimistic mindset into this stage of parenting is the focus of Where Parents Talk today.

This is achieved in much the same way as in our early days — across all multi-media platforms through credible information, leading experts, trusted advice — all imparted by other parents.

Inspiring moms and dads to raise happy, thriving, independent children remain a driving force — especially important in an uncertain world.

I remain amazed for so many reasons, like that day in 1996 in that coffee shop about what a gift it is to be a parent and what we can all teach and learn from each other.

A community of moms and dads who want and actively strive for the best for their children.

Better parents grow here.

Learn more about our Lianne Castelino’s consulting services.

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