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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada • 11

Location:
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Page:
11
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

The Ottawa Citizen, Monday January 25, 1993 B3 Citylife KERI SWEETMAN Citizen Staff Besides operating Ottawa only private infertility clinic and specializing in premenstntal syndrome, contraception and menopause, Norman Barwin conducts research, publishes papers and is on the University of Ottawa faculty. He's also gynecology consultant for CHEO and the Royal Ottawa and serves on a number of boards and committees HOME FRONT Everyone's talking about the weather 0 Ljx --v; I 1 i jV liL ill! i iiy I V. 'III! fii If. wv-i- i I vv' -fir i. Wayne Hiebert.

Citizen Dr. Norman Barwin is a doting grandfather Doctor in Demand of Women and the Law. And the national Planned Parenthood organization has named an annual scholarship alter him. It is targeted for women's studies. -t i VTvV JANICE KENNEDY PROFILE At Norman Barwin's, the babies are everywhere.

Pictures of them cover the mirror. Collected models and statues are found throughout the office. A carved wooden fertility doll from Ghana, a gift to the renowned infertility specialist from a grateful patient, stands in one of the examining rooms. At the moment, though, the doctor is talking animatedly about one particular baby he helped into the world: Ryan. Now two years old, Ryan is his first and only grandchild.

He was delivered by his grandfather. Recently returned from a family vacation in Cozumel, Barwin smiles as he describes the early-moming beach walks he and Ryan took daily just the two of them, while the rest of the world was still asleep. Dr. Barwin medical practitioner, researcher, consultant, lecturer, author, recipient of awards and honors is fast on his way to becoming a doting grandfather. It's an exciting role, admits the soft-spoken Ottawa doctor who wears so many professional hats.

Besides operating Ottawa's only private infertility clinic and specializing in premenstrual syndrome, contraception and menopause, Barwin conducts research, publishes papers and is on the University of Ottawa faculty. Gynecology consultant for CHEO and the Royal Ottawa, he also serves on a number of boards and committees, such as the International Society for the Advancement of Contraception, the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada and Bereaved Families of Ontario. In the unmistakable accents of his native South Africa, Barwin explains his staggering extracurricular involvement simply. "It's part of your profession to give back to the community and to society in general. I sometimes feel we focus too much on ourselves and don't give enough back to others." NORMAN BARWIN STANFORD, Calif.

One of the last things my editor said to me before I left Ottawa for a year in California was: "Don't write about the eather." This seemed like good advice. Why would anyone suffering through a Canadian winter want to read about our family enjoying sunshine and shorts weather in January? So I vowed never to gloat. It wasn't easy at first. September, October and November were gloriousa succession of hot, sunny days and cool nights tailor-made for sleeping. It rained only twice and then only briefly.

The early weeks of December were good too, colder, but clear and sunny. The kids played outdoors on Christmas Day in their sweatshirts and long pants. That was the last time I felt like gloating. Two days after Christmas it started to rain, and it hasn't stopped since. Understand that this is not the kind of rain that falls intermittently or lightly, as in perhaps it rains in the morning, then lets up in the afternoon, or it pours one clay, then sprinkles the next.

This is heavy, persistent rain. It has fallen more or less continuously for all but two clays since Dec. 27. January's rainfall is at least three times higher than normal. Many areas have received more rain in January than they got all of last year.

The results have been tragic in some parts. Just south of California, in Tijuana, Mexico, dozens of people have died or are missing due to mudslides and floods. East of here, in the Sierra Nevada mountains separating California and Nevada, two skiers have suffocated in deep snow. People here are practically in shock. There has been a major drought throughout the west foral-" most seven years the kind of drought that has led to water-ra- tioning and crises in the California farm industry And even in the years before the drought, wet winters were rare and water precious.

Everyone is talking about the weather, although they're not quite sure whether to be happy or mad about it. Newspapers devote almost as much space to the rain as they have to the Clinton inauguration, which is to say, more than most nor: mal people would want to read in a lifetime. We are Canadians and we are used to horrible winters, so we have tried not to complain, adopting the "at-least-we-don't-have-to-shovel-it" attitude so popular in Vancouver. But some days it's not easy. Keep' ing three children and sometime their friends amused inside a 600-square-foot university apartment after three straight weeks of rain is.

to say the least, challenging. Once. I caught myself almost wishing for snow. Whenever the rain lets up. our two-year-old and his five-year-old brother go out to splash in the puddles and make mud-pies in the sand pit.

(Our neighbor says they always sound like the lions leaving the den.) Their rubber boots from Canada have been the envy of the neighborhood. After so many years of drought, most stores here don't even carry rainboots. or if they have them, they are the fancy kind that promise to keep little feet dry, but never do. The same is true of raincoats. After the first week of rain, I decided our outerwear was inadequate, so I hit the stores to try' to find rubber slickers.

"Raincoats?" salesclerk after salesclerk responded. looking perplexed. "Oh. we don't cam' raincoats." "Why not?" I asked, pointing out the door at the teeming rain. "Well, this is very unusual." they said.

"Most years we don't need them." I finally found what we wanted at Sears, the department store that's not fooled by droughts. So now our coats are the best in the neighborhood too. Almost everyone else lets their kids run around outside in heavy sweaters and running shoes, to heck with the consequences. "Why don't you get some boots and coats like I ask the neighbors. "Oh.

there's no point." (hey say. "It won't rain again like this for years." (Ken Sweetnwi is a Citcen Sle Kiwrery, or Cal'f xna The fighting spirit of Barwin's quiet resolve to do the right thing was nurtured in two of the world's hot spots. Bom in South Africa to parents of Russian and Lithuanian background. Barwin chose to leave alter completing his first university degree in 1962. Newly married, he and his wife made the decision for political reasons.

"We were just so much opposed to the whole concept of apartheid. In fact, the thing that made us finally leave was when Sharpeville (the 1960 massacre) happened. I was in university, and I saw literally hundreds of people lining up to fight against the blacks. I felt, 'Gee. this is not a country I want to bring my children up in.

Maybe I can make a better contribution from He and his wife went to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where they lived for over a decade while Barwin completed his medical and specialist's training. As he began practising medicine, the pair became involved in the Alliance party, a new political group aimed at uniting Ulster's Protestants and Catholics. But a bomb that went off near his children's school helped them make the decision to leave. In August 1973, they settled in Ottawa, where Barwin had been offered a position. They liked the attitude of the young Canadians they had met "confident, but not precocious" and wanted their own four children to grow up that way.

Barwin, who long ago fell in love with Canadian winters, has put his roots down firmly in Ottawa, and says he can't imagine leaving. A number of years ago, he was offered a post at UCLA in Los Angeles. After visit ing the city, he and his wile decided they could not give up their Ottawa lifestyle. Barwin speaks of a happy childhood with a closely knit family in a privileged household. One of three boys, he and his brothers played spoils and worked summers for their father, a grocery wholesaler, whom Barwin adored.

"My father's philosophy was. 1 don't care what you do as long as you get an But I think his values were actually the most important thing we got from him. He had a lot of gentleness and a lot of kindness Barwin's feelings about his father seem to have informed much of his warm attitudes toward parenthood, a role he has described as "one ol'the most honorable professions known to mankind." He admits that he's the parent with the propensity for fussing, but he relishes it. Manned more than 30 years, he has three sons, a daughter, two daughters-in-law and one grandchild and he spends as much time as he can with all of them. When the children (now 28, 26.

24 and 22) were younger, the entire family went away together during winter and summer holi lays and at March break. With an extended family now. the tradition continues, as it did in Cozumel recently. The rest of the time when Barwin is not working or attending board meetings or lecturing internationally at conferences he is active in Jewish community affairs. Currently, his enthusiasm is channelled into projects of the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation, which promotes artistic exchanges.

And when he's not doing that, he may be found painting. Or listening to baroque music. Or skiing, cycling or playing tennis. One frequent passion is cooking French cuisine and hors d'oeim es in particular. "I like the fiddly, obsessional, neurotic stuff." A question about how he manages to do so much, lit so much in.

gives him pause, but only momentarily. He shrugs. "One finds the time. It's just a matter of making the most of it." OCCUPATION: Obstetriciangynecologist, infertility specialist AGE: 54 STATUS: Married, father of four BIRTHPLACE: Benoni, South Africa; Ottawa resident since 1973 PASTIMES: Skiing, tennis, music, painting, vacation-, ing with family COMMENT: "It's part of your profes- sion to give back to the community and to society in gener-. al.

I sometimes feel we focus too much on ourselves and don't give enough back to others." Barwin's private practice is busy. Judy McCaughey, who manages his Broadview Avenue office, says the last computer count of patients listed more than 5,000, though she points out that many are not current. Barwin estimates he sees 20 to 25 new patients a week. New patients for infertility treatment, says McCaughey, face a waiting list of up to eight months. Once in, patients are eloquent with their praise.

Says Mary Hutton, a 47-year-old mother of two who went to Barwin five years ago for alternative insemination, "He's gentle easy to talk to and confide in. I found him very open and non-judgmental." Adds McCaughey, who presented him with an award at an Infertility Awareness Association conference: "I said, 'Not only does he bring his expertise to work with him, he also brings an extraordinary amount of caring and respect for his I always wanted to be able to tell him that." Barwin has also been a driving force in the Planned Parenthood movement, both within the Ottawa chapter and at the national level, where he served as president. In November, Planned Parenthood Ottawa presented him with its first Barbara Cass-Beggs Memorial Award, named after the late renowned music educator who also championed women's reproductive rights. "The board decided to honor someone who's been an outstanding member or volunteer," explains Holly McKay, executive director. "Dr.

Barwin was the first one we thought of." His stint as president of the association has also made him a high-profile advocate for sex education and abortion rights. Although he himself does not perform abortions, he was picketed once by anti-abortion demonstrators when he went to speak about infertility issues at Saint Paul University. The experience, he says, was "quite harassing." But he has not stopped advocating, clearly and publicly, women's right to choose. "I feel very strongly about women's issues and women's rights," he says. Besides backing groups like Amnesty International, he supports the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund and the National Association Reports on flawed sex abuse poll anger Prescott residents "With all due respect, would you go to By Stephanie Small Citizen start writer Some Prescott residents are dismayed about some news media's handling of an opinion poll.

But they hope the "limited survey's results can still be used to fight child abuse. The poll was part of a $20,000 evaluation of a Prescott committee set up three years in the wake of a series of sexual abuse I -charges in that city. It was hoped the sur-; vey would give a sense of residents' under- standing of sexual abuse. Portions of the survey, conducted by a for the Ministry of Community Fewer than one per cent of the respondents said children up to the age of six bear some responsibility; 11 per cent said children aged seven to 10 bear some responsibility; and 48 per cent said children aged 11 to 15 bear some responsibility. Lubimiv.

who said he had never conducted an opinion poll before, said the poll's margin of error is between three and five per cent. But polling expert Edmund Du Rogoff questioned the survey's validity and reliability, especially for a place the size of Prescott (population "When you have a very small community, polling can make statistics lie more than they already do." the University of Ottawa professor said Sunday. Du Rogoff is ary of any survey that isn't conducted by a professional polling company that hires linguists to devise questions and statisticians to figure out margins of error. leased. Newspaper and broadcast reports this weekend gave inaccurate pictures of the survey.

For example, they inflated the number of poll respondents who said children bear some of the responsibility for their sexual abuse. The news reports also focused on Prescott, even though similar responses were found in an unnamed community in Eastern Ontario that was used as a control group in the study. "It's another example of Prescott getting only negative attention," said Sandra Lawn, former mayor and chair of the Prescott Child Sexual Advisory Committee. According to survey supervisor Greg Lubimiv. 200 Prescott residents were contacted by phone last October.

One of the questions asked was: "If an adult has sexual intercourse with a child, how much responsibility does the child have?" the doctor if you had a problem with the law?" asked Du Rogoff. "There are holes in this sort of survey," admitted Lubimiv. "You're missing people who don't answer phones, you're also missing people who hang up on you." Surveyors had to call 800 people in the control community to reach 200 people who agreed to respond, he said. Regardless of the poll's accuracy. Lawn stressed it's unacceptable for anyone to blame the victims of sexual abuse.

"We've got to work even harder to ensure that people understand that children are not at all responsible." she said. Part of her committee's work involved organizing education and prevention programs. The complete report evaluating the committee's work is expected to be released by the province in a few weeks. nt rmifYrpnrf Rut tfl 1 ICXUU tn-ru the full survey, including questions asked and methodology details, has not Deen re.

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