Friday, September 30, 2011


Luckily, I grew up in a small town surrounded by family. My parents did a pretty good job of protecting my siblings and me. We never experienced abuse, neglect or even poverty. Unfortunately my husband experienced a great deal of chaos as a young child. His parents divorced when he was six and his mom remarried soon after. His stepfather's job required the family to move quite a bit. My husband attended nine different schools before the age of 15. These moves made him feel anxious, lonely and shy. Not only did he have to make new friends constantly, he wasn't around many family members--including his dad. This caused major stress and seemed to be very chaotic for him as a child. He even formed an ulcer in his stomach due to the stress! Academically the constant moving was not beneficial--he struggled in each grade. He did form friendships and he overcompensated the chaos in his life by becoming the class clown in each new school. He also joined sports teams--but he never felt comfortable--life was just chaotic.
Age 11
Smiling through his stress

I decided to look at the chaos caused by the 2004 tsunami. When the tsunami occurred, I recall being surprised and sad. What a horrible event! What happens after the tsunami? How do children cope or even survive? A study was conducted on the effects of the tsunami and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
"3 to 4 weeks after the tsunami 14% to 39% of children and 41% of adolescents had PTSD"(Tull, 2009).
"It is not known what the long term psychological effects on children will be, but it is estimated that many survivors will develop psychiatric disorders" (Tull, 2009).
Maybe the chaos of moving multiple times is not as detrimental as the chaos the tsunami caused, but none the less any chaos in early childhood can be traumatic.

Reference: (2011). The Psychological Impact of the 2004 Tsunami (By Matthew Tull, PhD., July 20, 2009). Retrieved October 1, 2011, from

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


This is a very important topic for me. When my daughter was born and placed in the NICU I was not allowed to breastfeed. The nursing staff wanted to make sure that my baby was getting enough nutrients and they monitored this by bottle feeding. I did pump (at that time it was just colostrum) and added what I could to her bottle. When my baby was able to come home, I tried to breastfeed. At that time, she was used to the bottle and pacifier and would not latch on. I was so upset! I was angry at the NICU staff for not allowing me the opportunity to try to breastfeed and I was angry at myself for not sticking up for something that was so important to me. I had a large supply of milk and a larger desire to breastfeed my baby. She never latched on--I just continued to pump. If I decide to have another baby I will work harder at breastfeeding. Not only is it more cost effective but the benefits! The only benefit of bottle feeding is your spouse/partner can help!
Being fed by Daddy in the NICU

Breastfeeding in Kibiito, Uganda
Looking at breastfeeding trends around the world, I stumbled upon some information in Africa. A doctor by the name of Richard Sekitoleko is working hard to promote breastfeeding among the residents. Uganda's death rate is high for children ages five and under due to diarrhea and pneumonia. Because breast milk contains the nutrients and antibodies needed to fight infection, many lives will be saved (UNICEF, 2011).  A week in August was dedicated to promoting the importance of breastfeeding. Village health teams are also in place to teach women about breastfeeding. One mother from Uganda shared that she breastfed five of her children thanks to the village health team and their positive promotion of breastfeeding (UNICEF, 2011). I think this is a great initiative and hope that breastfeeding becomes the number one means of feeding an infant in Uganda and around the world. What a wonderful way to bond and save the life of a baby!

UNICEF. (2011). Spreading the word about infant and young child nutrition in Uganda. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from

Sharing Information with Families
At my preschool center, we have several easy to read books (written in Spanish too) on the importance of breastfeeding. They are located in our Parent Room for preschool parents to take home, read and return. We even have a book written the way a child would understand! One website that I love also has great information regarding breastfeeding, so if a mom to be asks for resources, I have plenty to share.

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center. (2011). Retrieved September 17, 2011 from

Monday, September 5, 2011

Birthing Experiences

Thursday March 1, 2007
It was a Thursday morning and I was 38 weeks pregnant. My husband and I were headed to Macon, Georgia to have a baby. This was the day I was going to have my baby girl!! I couldn't be more excited---finally no more morning sickness!!! I check in to the hospital around 11:00 AM. I'm put on pitocin to speed along my contractions--it works. The pain is awful; an epidural is ordered and inserted without any protest. Later that evening, horrible storms threaten the city. I am deep in to my labor and do not realize nor care that a tornado has touched down near downtown Macon. As I am pushing, my doctor mentions that lung development may be an issue since I'm delivering early. My stubborn girl isn't budging so a vacuum is used to speed along the process. Finally around 7:35 PM my beautiful 7 pound 5 ounce girl is born. My husband and I are so excited!! We have waited 9 long months to meet her!! She starts to cry but it sounds more like a grunt. The hospital staff decides they want to keep her in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) over night for observations; they are concerned with her lung development. I'm sad but exhausted. I believe one night away will be okay--tomorrow she will be with me and soon we will go home. The next morning my doctor comes in the room and says my baby girl has to remain in NICU. It seems my sweet girl was born with a fever and they need to monitor her and make sure she does not have an infection. She is breathing fine--in fact she pulled the oxygen out of her nose. Okay, I say, if that's what is best--how long will she stay? Until her blood work comes back and shows no infection, is my answer. So everyday my husband and I go in the NICU and stay with our girl until night time. We can't wait until she is given the okay to go home. We never put her down; leaving her at night is horrible.  Finally on Monday March 5, 2007 our daughter is able to go home. She didn't have an infection, her lungs were fully developed and she is a healthy, perfect, beautiful baby. 

My beautiful baby girl in the NICU
Those five days in NICU were very trying for us, but everything turned out to be okay in the end. I love to share my birthing experience so new mom's/dad's understand that anything can happen. No matter how healthy you are, how prepared you think you are---expect the unexpected!  Now she is an intelligent four year old in Pre-K. Talking with her, you would never know she had a rough start. She developed normally, all milestones on time, her tough beginning having no negative impact on her development. She's my fighter and I adore her!!!
First day of school.
August 15, 2011
Women in Africa
Then there are the stories of mothers to be from Africa. If I thought my childbirth experience was traumatic, think of what women go through around the world. Due to a lack in transportation, many African mothers deliver at home. This method of delivery is unsafe and Africa has a high mortality rate for mothers and their babies. Women in Africa deliver to midwives, but sadly there are not enough trained midwives so instead of delivering to trained professionals, women are delivering at home. One study shows that 900 out of 100,000 women die in Liberia, due to pregnancy complications (Voice of America, 2011). After reading this article, I realize that though my childbirth experience wasn't what I had planned, I am very lucky to have such great medical care, to deliver my baby in a hospital and to have my baby girl thriving, laughing and living.

Voice of America. (2011). Pregnant Women in Africa. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from