On Father’s Day 2000 my husband took me out to breakfast. Then he took me to the hospital—St. Luke’s Allentown—to give birth to our second baby. She was (and still is) a stubborn child, she waited until 3:30 a.m. the day after Father’s Day to be born.
My husband accompanied me in the labor and delivery of each of our 6 children, providing support that I truly think I could not have done without. Ironically, the man who was instrumental in making this possible, Dr. Robert Bradley, died less than 2 months after the birth of our first baby. Dr. Bradley revolutionized childbirth in America, yet many of today’s parents do not even know his name.
When my husband’s parents were expecting their first child they went to the same hospital that our first child was born at. My father-in-law tried several times to sneak into his wife’s room—somewhere that my husband was allowed to be openly. However the nurses kept shooing him out, leaving him to express his joy at the birth of his first son by giving a cigar to a random pedestrian.
Dr. Bradley, understanding the importance of having expectant fathers with the expectant mothers in labor, lobbied strongly to move the father from the waiting room to the delivery room. He even went so far as to arrange boycotts of hospitals that would not allow fathers in the delivery room. For my parents-in-law it came too late. St. Luke’s Allentown, then Allentown Osteopathic, allowed fathers into the delivery room the year after my husband was born—their third son and last child. My father-in-law never experienced the joy of seeing one of his children be born.
In 1965 Dr. Bradley wrote the book Husband Coached Childbirth. This book was the foundation upon which the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth was founded in 1970. This organization trains childbirth instructors to teach expectant parents the Bradley MethodÒ of Childbirth. My husband and I chose to take these classes in preparation of the birth of our first child. The multi-week series of classes give extensive time to preparing the father/partner to be an effective coach as the mother labors though the athletic event of childbirth.
The satirical role of a father in labor in many Hollywood productions is someone to boil water…what that water is to be used for is never quite made clear other than to perhaps keep the father occupied. My husband, however, had a very meaningful role in the birth of each of our children. He walked with me; massaged my back; let me hang my entire weight off of him when sitting/laying was too painful, but I was too tired to really stand; whispered words of encouragement; and helped me to relax. I have a picture of him the morning after our first daughter was born that I highly treasure—he is holding our daughter looking incredibly proud, but incredibly bleary eyed. I think he was more tired than I was!
I truly believe that the education we got in our Bradley MethodÒ classes helped me to avoid cesarean in my first two labors. Many women have told me stories of their labors with less “cause” for cesarean than I had, and they indeed had cesareans. For example, in my first labor I was “stuck” at 9 cm dilation for 7 hours, most women are moved to the operating room after 2 hours without dilation progress, sometimes after only 1 hour at such high dilation. However I was prepared for this from my childbirth classes. I told my care providers that if my baby was fine, I was okay with a slow labor and preferred to avoid augmentation. So my OB never even suggested that I needed Pitocin, let alone a cesarean. After all, my baby and I were both fine, my labor was just slow.
The statistics support my belief that my education helped to avert cesareans. Expectant couples who take comprehensive classes have a c-section rate that is 30-50% lower than the national average in any given year. Knowing this makes my heart grieve when I hear women say that they “don’t have time” for a comprehensive class, opting for short classes or no classes at all.
Our third child was born at home with two midwives present. This time around my husband got to fulfill the Hollywood directive and boil water—gallons of it, which we used. But if you want to find out what it was used for you are going to have to ask him about it. By the time our sixth child was born last September his role had morphed significantly from that of his father—Steve caught our third son as the midwife looked on from across the room. Perhaps this son will catch his children while a midwife paces in the waiting room like my father-in-law did so many years ago.
Posted 3 days, 22 hours ago at 1:06 pm. Add a comment
In class Sunday night we were covering one of the post-partum units, which touched on parenting styles. I tried a new exercise where I had the expectant parents each fill out a “Parenting Values/Actions” summary, then compare their answers to see how close they were to their partner. Of course I assured them that even though they would have answers now…they WOULD change as they actually become parents. “I was such a better parent before I had children” the saying goes. I’ll readily admit that I’m not a perfect parent, and sometimes I wonder if the reason God has blessed me with 6 children is because I haven’t quite learned enough from being a parent yet.
The survey included a question about spanking, and I very purposefully did not say more about the topic beyond “it’s a big topic to consider and discuss.” Getting into that discussion could have easily derailed the class, and led to us not covering other important things I wanted to cover in class.
As fate (God?) would have it, the very next morning a mom in my favorite on-line parenting group (Parenting as Ministry–I’ve been part of this group for over 14 years, so I consider the other women friends, even though I’ve only met one in person) posted a link to a wonderful blog post examining a Biblical perspective on spanking. I encourage all of my readers–Christian or not–to read this post.
The comments to the post contained one mom asking sincerely for help…which spurred in me a desire to reply.
I want to agree with this interpretation, I do. But I would love to hear how we as Christian parents can reconcile these concepts with the responsibility of teaching respect for authority, natural consequences, etc. Not that physically spanking a child is the only way to achieve those things, but are we to believe that any punishment is wrong? Any fear of consequence is wrong? How can I, as a Christian parent, become “the boss” in my childrens’ eyes? When they (my 2 and 3 year olds) are so bent on not listening, defiance, etc. I literally can’t speak to them during a time of conflict because they are “checked out” with anger or other reactionary behavior. What else gets their attention? I’m not trying to be contrary- I’m actually very desperate here.
My heart hurts for this mom, that she is experiencing this. I have 6 children ages 14 years down to 6 months…and I’ve really never experienced the kind of defiance she is describing in children so young.
I have to wonder if her children really are being defiant and angry, or are they determined and disappointed (anger is a secondary emotion that can rise out of disappointment–it is not the primary emotion)? I find that so often in conservative Christian settings, children’s behaviors are interpretted in the worst possible manner…which I find odd since when it comes to other relationships, these same people will encourage you to try to find the most positive interpretation of the motives behind behavior.
A determined child will repeatedly try to get to a “forbidden” object not out of defiance, but out of curiosity. So a parent needs to then decide if the child needs to learn to accept the disappointment of being told “no” (in which case the parent needs to be prepared to repeatedly and calmly enforce the “no” with the action of removing the child–keeping words to a minimum–even through screams), if the parent needs to remove the object to a place where it is no longer a temptation to the child, or if the parent is going to help the child to safely explore the object to satisfy his curiosity. Note that none of these options require punishment, but yet in all of them the parent is still the authority who is determining how to handle the situation.
An alternative to the “defiant” interpretation is also “unable” or “confused.” I heard a story of a mother who thought her 2 year old child was being defiant because he would wake in the morning with a dry diaper, so she’d set him on a potty seat where he would not pee for up to 8 HOURS at a stretch! I’d put forth the idea that this child was not being “defiant” as the mother interpretted, but was perhaps confused about what he was supposed to be doing on that potty. I’d bet that there were a few times where this little guy accidentlly sprayed his mom during diaper changes, and she reacted very negatively (as an adult I still remember one of my aunts smacking me during a diaper change because I in some way was not cooperating with her–and I supposedly was potty trained before I turned 2. Kids do learn young!). He learned from this to only pee in a diaper. Fast forward…he is no longer peeing in his sleep, mom wakes him up before he’s had a chance to pee, sets him on a potty…where he desparately holds in his pee because he has been trained to only pee in a diaper. Even a child who has peed in the potty before and been rewarded for doing it may find peeing in a potty to be scary, and will thus hold in urine. So sad…
I would encourage parents to try to step back a bit from being “the boss” and instead consider being “the leader.” A good leader makes her followers WANT to do the right thing because she has made it so attractive. Since this mom seems to be in a battle of wills right now, this might mean taking an extended break from things like keeping a perfectly clean house, potty training, enforcing dinner table manners–ANYTHING that is creating conflict and is not an issue of safety or morality. A parent in this situation may need to try to minimize the number of events they are taking their children to so that they don’t have “we have to get out of the house NOW” kind of battles. Instead the parent may need to focus time on re-building the relationship with their kids. Play with them, really enjoy them. Get them to know the parent as a happy person. Once those bonds are re-built, then the parent can slowly work on *leading* them to put on shoes and coats, *leading* them to pick up their toys…making it fun with music, silly walking, things like that.
Do I believe in using natural & logical consequences in parenting? Absolutely! If my toddler hits another child, I’m going to remove her from that play situation. If she throws food off her high chair tray, that is the end of that meal time. If my older kids don’t do their chores and it is something that really must get done before a deadline so I do it…they are going to have a replacement chore that is more onerous. If I can leave the chore for them to do, they will get it done before being allowed to eat dinner. Do I use punishments–that is, inflicting a penalty in response to an offense? Yes…but rarely, and only with older kids that repeatedly disobey. But I really haven’t found a situation yet where I felt that a child under the age of 4 needed to be “punished.” Children are learning–and so they need “discipline”–that is, TEACHING, to help them learn how to behave both before they are in a situation, and after they have behaved incorrectly in some way.
I would also encourage parents who are having such repeated battles with very young children to consider having their children evaluated for autism if the steps above do not seem to improve the situation. The autism rate is rising quickly, and children with autism often have great difficulty learning to handle the world around them–which can result in extreme anger as their frustration becomes more than they can handle. These children also do not need punishment, but rather they need even more care when teaching them about the world they are in.
Posted 2 months, 3 weeks ago at 12:54 pm. Add a comment
The idea that childbirth is excruciatingly painful is cultural norm in America. It is the topic of jokes. I was told in my first pregnancy by one of the OB’s providing my care that I would be “begging for drugs in the parking lot [of the hospital]“-which of course only made me more determined NOT to ask for drugs. The idea that birth is meant to be painful even led to some religious groups opposing the use of pain medications in the 1800’s. I’ve even heard it mentioned during sermons as being Biblical.
So where does the Bible say that childbirth is meant to be excruciating…or does it REALLY say that? Continue Reading…
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 12:02 am. Add a comment
Yoplait sparked controversy with a "mail in the lid" campaign. Yoplait had promised 10 cents a lid, but consumers would pay nearly four times that on the stamp to send one in. That’s money that could have just been given directly to breast cancer research. Second, Yoplait dairy products were made using artificial bovine growth hormones (called rBGH), which are thought to increase the risk of breast and colon cancers.
If you are on Facebook perhaps you remember the bra color statuses? And the purse locations?
Its back again. And I’m annoyed. Really. Not with the person who sent me the e-mail asking me to post “I’m going to Columbia for six months” in the name of breast cancer awareness…but with the whole pink-washing of our culture that has been going on since the pink ribbon debued in the early 1990’s and led to the New York Times dubbing breast cancer “this year’s hot charity” in 1996.
I will not participate.
Why? Well first of all, unlike the bra color and purse location ideas…this one requires me to post a lie in my status.
But really, beyond that, is “awareness” really necessary? Continue Reading…
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 2:43 pm. Add a comment
So how are you doing on your fitness resolution? I hope you got some exercise in today!
My review today is of Denise Austin’s Fit & Firm Pregnancy. Denise has written 10 books on fitness and was in the longest running exercise program on TV. I first discovered her program on Lifetime in 2000 when I was pregnant with my second daughter, Katie. I used her program to help in loosing 60 lbs after Katie’s birth. My kids love her Fit Kids DVD. So I had high expectations for this DVD.
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 12:03 am. Add a comment
Today’s review is of Leisa Hart’s fitmama prenatal workout. Leisa is a Buns of Steel instructor, so I expected this workout to be very different from yesterday’s prenatal yoga, and I was not disappointed in that.
The package description lets you know that this workout includes 20 minutes of Salsa Dance, 20 minutes of Yoga Fat Burn, 6 minutes of Labor & Delivery Prep, and 8 minutes of Prenatal Stretch and Relax. Bonus features that I discovered once I put the DVD in my player included an “Easing Labor” segment that displayed a lunge, forward lean, and squat that could be helpful in labor and a “Bonus Stretch” segment that focused on lower body stretches. I found the menu to be well laid out, including an option to choose exercise tracks rather than having to use the fast-forward feature as would be needed with the prenatal yoga DVD from yesterday. I have a 2003 version of the DVD, but it was re-released in 2008.
This DVD also includes an introductory segment explaining what will be required in the work out, and safety precautions. Leisa reviews ACOG guidelines on exercise and stresses that it is important to be hydrated before, during, and after exercise.
The exercise starts off with the Salsa Dance segment, which is Continue Reading…
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 4:05 pm. Add a comment
Perhaps one of the most common New Year’s resolution themes is related to being more fit…and I hope all my pregnant readers are striving to stay fit. Exercise during pregnancy may reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes, may reduce the incidence of pre-eclampsia, and may even help in pushing efforts during labor. If that isn’t enough, Fit Pregnancy has an article listing 33 benefits to exercise during pregnancy. So if you have chosen to put physical activity on your New Year’s resolution list…this week I’m hoping to offer you some guidance on home exercise programs by reviewing some prental fitness DVD’s.
Today is a gentle start with Prenatal Yoga with Shiva Rea . The description for this DVD includes an approximate run time of 70 minutes and says
Focussed on helping you feel comfortable, relaxed and fit during pregnancy, this workout will increase your energy and stamina, and build strength, flexibility and balance….The gentle stretches help reduce fatique, tension and tightness, while promoting relaxation and improved circulation.”
So, set to work on my own resolution to exercise more, I popped this DVD in, and let it go. Continue Reading…
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 1:04 am. Add a comment
Keeping in mind that I drink a glass of wine MAYBE once every month (the Cranberry Wine from Sorrenti is a seasonal favorite in our house), and I’ve got some “sparkling cider” chilling in the garage to ring in the New Year with…so its not like I’m some kind of a lush…
It’s New Year’s Eve Day and so the internet is awash in what else…an article that intends to instill fear in breastfeeding mothers who just wanted to enjoy a toast to the New Year…
“Mother Kills Son While Breastfeeding Him Drunk” reads the headline…which is of course eye catching. But the story its self is full of holes. Continue Reading…
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 6:20 pm. 7 comments
I recently discovered a new book about childbirth and pregnancy (which I’ll more fully review later…when I can actually fit it into my Financial Peace budget) called The Christian Mama’s Guide to Having a Baby. The author of this book has an adorable blog…and this past May she blogged about Old Wives’ Tales on Labor Induction as she anticipated the birth of her 3rd child. Now if you have followed my blog or Facebook page for long, you probably know that I’m not actually a big fan of even “natural” labor induction that is not done for medical reasons because of how induction raises the risk of complications like cesarean…but in the interest of answering questions for those of you who have decided that induction is the best option for you, I’ll review the methods Erin blogged about.
Posted 1 year, 5 months ago at 3:03 am. Add a comment
One of my clients recently sent me her written birth story, and she gave me permission to post it. I think she has a great story of thoughfully considering interventions to use along her path to a low intervention birth. I hope you enjoy!
I Got Stuck in the Jacuzzi, and Couldn’t Get Out, So I Had a Natural Birth!
Posted 1 year, 8 months ago at 10:45 pm. Add a comment