Learning To Swim

D and I learned to swim as adolescents. We agreed that we wanted the girls to learn much earlier. With the proverbial swift kick from my mother we enrolled them for group and private lessons at our local Y. 

 

Initially, CC was afraid because of her pool scare on Mother's Day. During the second session she did much better and was willing to push through her fear.  There is no real way to "drown-proof" your kids, but I want them to learn to swim and be aware of water safety.

 

According to the CDC: 

Between 1999-2010, the fatal unintentional drowning rate for African Americans was significantly higher than that of whites across all ages. The disparity is widest among children 5-18 years old. The disparity is most pronounced in swimming pools; African American children 5-19 drown in swimming pools at rates 5.5 times higher than those of whites. This disparity is greatest among those 11-12 years where African Americans drown in swimming pools at rates 10 times those of whites.

Factors such as access to swimming pools, the desire or lack of desire to learn how to swim, and choosing water-related recreational activities may contribute to the racial differences in drowning rates. Available rates are based on population, not on participation. If rates could be determined by actual participation in water-related activities, the disparity in minorities’ drowning rates compared to whites would be much greater. SOURCE

So why don't more Black people learn how to swim?!  According to Southgate the problem has its roots in slavery, where most problems for Black folks began, "it has been documented that before slavery, many West Africans could and did swim. But a slave who could swim was a slave with another means of escape, so slave owners went to great lengths to make it impossible to keep this skill alive." The article goes on to say, "Later, segregation took its ugly toll at public beaches and pools. According to the historian Jeff Wiltse in an NPR interview, “whites set up, essentially, sentinel guards at the entrance to the pool, and when black swimmers tried to come in and access them, they were beaten up, sometimes with clubs.” One white motel manager was caught on camera pouring acid into a pool in which blacks were staging a 'swim-in.' Institutionalized racism was shored up by specious scholarship, like a 1969 report titled 'The Negro and Learning to Swim: The Buoyancy Problem Related to Reported Biological Difference.'” SOURCE

 

 First Swimming Lesson

First Swimming Lesson

All in all our little ones will be excellent swimmers and will be well aware of how to ride out a rip current while at the beach. By next year this time they will have had hundreds of hours of swim time at the EO YMCA. 

The Contracting Power of the Uterus

We think in pictures and we should be painting accurate pictures. The cervix nor the vagina bloom. The cervix is not a zip lock bag. The purpose of labor is NOT the creation of an opening or a hole... The purpose of labor contractions and retractions is to BUILD the fundus, which will, when it is ready, EJECT the baby, like a piston. Without a nice thick fundus there is no power to get baby out....the cervix does not dilate out....it dilates UP as a result of the effort to pull muscles up into the uterus to push muscles up to the fundus. The cervical dilation is secondary to that. The cervix is pulled up as a result of the building of the fundus. Assigning a number to cervical dilation is of little consequence and we make a huge mistake by interpreting progress or predicting time of birth to that number. Any experienced midwife or OB can tell you that the cervix can be manipulated and that a woman whose cervix is at 7 could have the baby in a few minutes or a few hours. 



If more providers and educators knew the truth about birth physiology, we could make a huge difference for mothers. What is important is to keep her well supported for the purpose of the appropriate chemistry, to keep her well hydrated and nourished for muscle strength, and to believe in her. We should be supporting her so that her physiology and that of her baby are unhindered, so they can finish what they started. 

We should not be measuring, poking, or interpreting her labor. THIS CHANGE in teaching about labor could make such a difference for women who are imagining what is happening in their bodies during labor. How much more strength might they have if they have an accurate picture?"

Source: Carla Hartley

 


Happy Father's Day: Statistics of a Fatherless America {long}

Growing up my sisters and I were part of the minority of African American children with both parents in the household. My husband and father didn't have long-term relationships with their fathers, in spite of this they are excellent fathers. D has only had twenty-six months of experience, but he's made a vow to not continue the cycle as my father did over 33 years ago. For D, the first step to breaking the cycle of single-parenthood was to marry me. This vital step (1) ensured our family's stability, (2) broke the cycle of poverty often associated with single parent households, and  (3) gives our daughters a living, breathing example of a successful marriage. My parents were worried we would continue to shack up, but they didn't need to fret because marry was our ultimate goal. We purchased a house, lived together for five years before marriage so I can understand there concerns.

"Today, one-third of American children – a total of 15 million – are being raised without a father. The majority of black children nationwide – 54 percent – are being raised by single mothers. In all but eleven states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 70 percent of white children do. In all but two states, most Hispanic children do." {source}

It's a sad state of affairs. And the problem just seems to get worse. Mentalities about marriage and family need to change, particularly for African American girls in this country. They need to see examples of successful African American marriages and not be bombarded with images of being a fly baby mama. Being a baby mama is never something to aspire to become, but they haven't received the memo.

Found this website wanted to share . . .

Sexual activity. In a study of 700 adolescents, researchers found that "compared to families with two natural parents living in the home, adolescents from single-parent families have been found to engage in greater and earlier sexual activity."

Source: Carol W. Metzler, et al. "The Social Context for Risky Sexual Behavior Among Adolescents," Journal of Behavioral Medicine17 (1994).

A myriad of maladies. Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Survey on Child Health, Washington, DC, 1993.

Drinking problems. Teenagers living in single-parent households are more likely to abuse alcohol and at an earlier age compared to children reared in two-parent households

Source: Terry E. Duncan, Susan C. Duncan and Hyman Hops, "The Effects of Family Cohesiveness and Peer Encouragement on the Development of Adolescent Alcohol Use: A Cohort-Sequential Approach to the Analysis of Longitudinal Data,"Journal of Studies on Alcohol 55 (1994).

Drug Use: "...the absence of the father in the home affects significantly the behavior of adolescents and results in the greater use of alcohol and marijuana."

Source: Deane Scott Berman, "Risk Factors Leading to Adolescent Substance Abuse," Adolescence 30 (1995)

Sexual abuse. A study of 156 victims of child sexual abuse found that the majority of the children came from disrupted or single-parent homes; only 31 percent of the children lived with both biological parents. Although stepfamilies make up only about 10 percent of all families, 27 percent of the abused children lived with either a stepfather or the mother's boyfriend.

Source: Beverly Gomes-Schwartz, Jonathan Horowitz, and Albert P. Cardarelli, "Child Sexual Abuse Victims and Their Treatment," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Child Abuse. Researchers in Michigan determined that "49 percent of all child abuse cases are committed by single mothers."

Source: Joan Ditson and Sharon Shay, "A Study of Child Abuse in Lansing, Michigan," Child Abuse and Neglect, 8 (1984).

Deadly predictions. A family structure index -- a composite index based on the annual rate of children involved in divorce and the percentage of families with children present that are female-headed -- is a strong predictor of suicide among young adult and adolescent white males.

Source: Patricia L. McCall and Kenneth C. Land, "Trends in White Male Adolescent, Young-Adult and Elderly Suicide: Are There Common Underlying Structural Factors?" Social Science Research 23, 1994.

High risk. Fatherless children are at dramatically greater risk of suicide.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, Survey on Child Health,Washington, DC, 1993.

Suicidal Tendencies. In a study of 146 adolescent friends of 26 adolescent suicide victims, teens living in single-parent families are not only more likely to commit suicide but also more likely to suffer from psychological disorders, when compared to teens living in intact families.

Source: David A. Brent, et al. "Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Peers of Adolescent Suicide Victims: Predisposing Factors and Phenomenology." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 34, 1995.

Confused identities. Boys who grow up in father-absent homes are more likely that those in father-present homes to have trouble establishing appropriate sex roles and gender identity.

Source: P.L. Adams, J.R. Milner, and N.A. Schrepf, Fatherless Children, New York, Wiley Press, 1984.

Psychiatric Problems. In 1988, a study of preschool children admitted to New Orleans hospitals as psychiatric patients over a 34-month period found that nearly 80 percent came from fatherless homes.

Source: Jack Block, et al. "Parental Functioning and the Home Environment in Families of Divorce," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 27 (1988)

Emotional distress. Children living with a never-married mother are more likely to have been treated for emotional problems.

Source: L. Remez, "Children Who Don't Live with Both Parents Face Behavioral Problems," Family Planning Perspectives(January/February 1992).

Uncooperative kids. Children reared by a divorced or never-married mother are less cooperative and score lower on tests of intelligence than children reared in intact families. Statistical analysis of the behavior and intelligence of these children revealed "significant detrimental effects" of living in a female-headed household. Growing up in a female-headed household remained a statistical predictor of behavior problems even after adjusting for differences in family income.

Source: Greg L. Duncan, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Pamela Kato Klebanov, "Economic Deprivation and Early Childhood Development," Child Development 65 (1994).

Unstable families, unstable lives. Compared to peers in two-parent homes, black children in single-parent households are more likely to engage in troublesome behavior, and perform poorly in school.

Source: Tom Luster and Hariette Pipes McAdoo, "Factors Related to the Achievement and Adjustment of Young African-American Children." Child Development 65 (1994): 1080-1094

Beyond class lines. Even controlling for variations across groups in parent education, race and other child and family factors, 18- to 22-year-olds from disrupted families were twice as likely to have poor relationships with their mothers and fathers, to show high levels of emotional distress or problem behavior, [and] to have received psychological help.

Source: Nicholas Zill, Donna Morrison, and Mary Jo Coiro, "Long Term Effects of Parental Divorce on Parent-Child Relationships, Adjustment and Achievement in Young Adulthood." Journal of Family Psychology 7 (1993).

Fatherly influence. Children with fathers at home tend to do better in school, are less prone to depression and are more successful in relationships. Children from one-parent families achieve less and get into trouble more than children from two parent families.

Source: One Parent Families and Their Children: The School's Most Significant Minority, conducted by The Consortium for the Study of School Needs of Children from One Parent Families, co sponsored by the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, a division of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation, Arlington, VA., 1980

Divorce disorders. Children whose parents separate are significantly more likely to engage in early sexual activity, abuse drugs, and experience conduct and mood disorders. This effect is especially strong for children whose parents separated when they were five years old or younger.

Source: David M. Fergusson, John Horwood and Michael T. Lynsky, "Parental Separation, Adolescent Psychopathology, and Problem Behaviors," Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 33 (1944).

Troubled marriages, troubled kids. Compared to peers living with both biological parents, sons and daughters of divorced or separated parents exhibited significantly more conduct problems. Daughters of divorced or separated mothers evidenced significantly higher rates of internalizing problems, such as anxiety or depression.

Source: Denise B. Kandel, Emily Rosenbaum and Kevin Chen, "Impact of Maternal Drug Use and Life Experiences on Preadolescent Children Born to Teenage Mothers," Journal of Marriage and the Family56 (1994).

Hungry for love. "Father hunger" often afflicts boys age one and two whose fathers are suddenly and permanently absent. Sleep disturbances, such as trouble falling asleep, nightmares, and night terrors frequently begin within one to three months after the father leaves home.

Source: Alfred A. Messer, "Boys Father Hunger: The Missing Father Syndrome," Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality, January 1989.

Disturbing news: Children of never-married mothers are more than twice as likely to have been treated for an emotional or behavioral problem.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey, Hyattsille, MD, 1988

Poor and in trouble: A 1988 Department of Health and Human Services study found that at every income level except the very highest (over $50,000 a year), children living with never-married mothers were more likely than their counterparts in two-parent families to have been expelled or suspended from school, to display emotional problems, and to engage in antisocial behavior.

Source: James Q. Wilson, "In Loco Parentis: Helping Children When Families Fail Them," The Brookings Review, Fall 1993.

Fatherless aggression: In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed "greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households."

Source: N. Vaden-Kierman, N. Ialongo, J. Pearson, and S. Kellam, "Household Family Structure and Children's Aggressive Behavior: A Longitudinal Study of Urban Elementary School Children," Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 23, no. 5 (1995).

Act now, pay later: "Children from mother-only families have less of an ability to delay gratification and poorer impulse control (that is, control over anger and sexual gratification.) These children also have a weaker sense of conscience or sense of right and wrong."

Source: E.M. Hetherington and B. Martin, "Family Interaction" in H.C. Quay and J.S. Werry (eds.), Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979)

Crazy victims: Eighty percent of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals come from broken homes.

Source: J.B. Elshtain, "Family Matters...", Christian Century, July 1993.

Duh to dead: "The economic consequences of a [father's] absence are often accompanied by psychological consequences, which include higher-than-average levels of youth suicide, low intellectual and education performance, and higher-than-average rates of mental illness, violence and drug use."

Source: William Galston, Elaine Kamarck. Progressive Policy Institute. 1993

Expelled: Nationally, 15.3 percent of children living with a never-married mother and 10.7 percent of children living with a divorced mother have been expelled or suspended from school, compared to only 4.4 percent of children living with both biological parents.

Source: Debra Dawson, "Family Structure...", Journal of Marriage and Family, No. 53. 1991.

Violent rejection: Kids who exhibited violent behavior at school were 11 times as likely not to live with their fathers and six times as likely to have parents who were not married. Boys from families with absent fathers are at higher risk for violent behavior than boys from intact families.

Source: J.L. Sheline (et al.), "Risk Factors...", American Journal of Public Health, No. 84. 1994.

That crowd: Children without fathers or with stepfathers were less likely to have friends who think it's important to behave properly in school. They also exhibit more problems with behavior and in achieving goals.

Source: Nicholas Zill, C. W. Nord, "Running in Place," Child Trends, Inc. 1994.

Likeliest to succeed: Kids who live with both biological parents at age 14 are significantly more likely to graduate from high school than those kids who live with a single parent, a parent and step-parent, or neither parent.

Source: G.D. Sandefur (et al.), "The Effects of Parental Marital Status...", Social Forces, September 1992.

Worse to bad: Children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school. Children in single-parent families are nearly twice as likely to drop out of school as children from two-parent families.

Source: J.B. Stedman (et al.), "Dropping Out," Congressional Research Service Report No 88-417. 1988.

College odds: Children from disrupted families are 20 percent more unlikely to attend college than kids from intact, two-parent families.

Source: J. Wallerstein, Family Law Quarterly, 20. (Summer 1986)

On their own: Kids living in single-parent homes or in step-families report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families.

Source: N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, Americican Sociological Review, No. 56 (1991)

Double-risk: Fatherless children -- kids living in homes without a stepfather or without contact with their biological father -- are twice as likely to drop out of school.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Survey on Child Health. (1993)

Repeat, repeat: Nationally, 29.7 percent of children living with a never-married mother and 21.5 percent of children living with a divorced mother have repeated at least one grade in school, compared to 11.6 percent of children living with both biological parents.

Source: Debra Dawson, "Family Structure and Children's Well-Being," Journals of Marriage and Family, No. 53. (1991).

Underpaid high achievers: Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes.

Source: "One-Parent Families and Their Children;" Charles F. Kettering Foundation (1990).

Dadless and dumb: At least one-third of children experiencing a parental separation "demonstrated a significant decline in academic performance" persisting at least three years.

Source: L.M.C. Bisnairs (et al.), American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, no. 60 (1990)

Son of Solo: According to a recent study of young, non-custodial fathers who are behind on child support payments, less than half of these men were living with their own father at age 14.

Slip-sliding: Among black children between the ages of 6 to 9 years old, black children in mother-only households scored significantly lower on tests of intellectual ability, than black children living with two parents.

Source: Luster and McAdoo, Child Development 65. 1994.

Dadless dropouts: After taking into account race, socio-economic status, sex, age and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.

Source: Ralph McNeal, Sociology of Education 88. 1995.

Takes two: Families in which both the child's biological or adoptive parents are present in the household show significantly higher levels of parental involvement in the child's school activities than do mother-only families or step-families.

Source: Zill and Nord, "Running in Place." Child Trends. 1994

Con garden: Forty-three percent of prison inmates grew up in a single-parent household -- 39 percent with their mothers, 4 percent with their fathers -- and an additional 14 percent lived in households without either biological parent. Another 14 percent had spent at last part of their childhood in a foster home, agency or other juvenile institution.

Source: US Bureau of Justice Statistics, Survey of State Prison Inmates. 1991

Criminal moms, criminal kids: The children of single teenage mothers are more at risk for later criminal behavior. In the case of a teenage mother, the absence of a father also increases the risk of harshness from the mother.

Source: M. Mourash, L. Rucker, Crime and Delinquency 35. 1989.

Rearing rapists: Seventy-two percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. Sixty percent of America's rapists grew up the same way.

Source: D. Cornell (et al.), Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 5. 1987. And N. Davidson, "Life Without Father," Policy Review. 1990.

Crime and poverty: The proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rate of violent crime and burglary, but the community's poverty level does not.

Source: D.A. Smith and G.R. Jarjoura, "Social Structure and Criminal Victimization," Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency25. 1988.

Marriage matters: Only 13 percent of juvenile delinquents come from families in which the biological mother and father are married to each other. By contract, 33 percent have parents who are either divorced or separated and 44 percent have parents who were never married.

Source: Wisconsin Dept. of Health and Social Services, April 1994.

No good time: Compared to boys from intact, two-parent families, teenage boys from disrupted families are not only more likely to be incarcerated for delinquent offenses, but also to manifest worse conduct while incarcerated.

Source: M Eileen Matlock et al., "Family Correlates of Social Skills..." Adolescence 29. 1994.

Count 'em: Seventy percent of juveniles in state reform institutions grew up in single- or no-parent situations.

Source: Alan Beck et al., Survey of Youth in Custody, 1987, US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1988.

The Main Thing: The relationship between family structure and crime is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature.

Source: E. Kamarck, William Galston, Putting Children First, Progressive Policy Inst. 1990

Examples: Teenage fathers are more likely than their childless peers to commit and be convicted of illegal activity, and their offenses are of a more serious nature.

Source: M.A. Pirog-Good, "Teen Father and the Child Support System," in Paternity Establishment, Institute for research on Poverty, Univ. of Wisconsin. 1992.

The 'hood The likelihood that a young male will engage in criminal activity doubles if he is raised without a father and triples if he lives in a neighborhood with a high concentration of single-parent families.

Source: A. Anne Hill, June O'Neill, "Underclass Behaviors in the United States," CUNY, Baruch College. 1993

Bringing the war back home The odds that a boy born in America in 1974 will be murdered are higher than the odds that a serviceman in World War II would be killed in combat.

Source: US Sen. Phil Gramm, 1995

Get ahead at home and at work: Fathers who cared for their children intellectual development and their adolescent's social development were more like to advance in their careers, compared to men who weren't involved in such activities.

Source: J. Snarey, How Fathers Care for the Next Generation.Harvard Univ. Press.

Diaper dads: In 1991, about 20 percent of preschool children were cared for by their fathers -- both married and single. In 1988, the number was 15 percent.

Source: M. O'Connell, "Where's Papa? Father's Role in Child Care," Population Reference Bureau. 1993.

Without leave: Sixty-three percent of 1500 CEOs and human resource directors said it was not reasonable for a father to take a leave after the birth of a child.

Source: J.H. Pleck, "Family Supportive Employer Policies," Center for research in Women. 1991.

Get a job: The number of men who complain that work conflicts with their family responsibilities rose from 12 percent in 1977 to 72 percent in 1989. Meanwhile, 74 percent of men prefer a "daddy track" job to a "fast track" job.

Source: James Levine, The Fatherhood Project.

Long-distance dads: Twenty-six percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children.

Source: US Bureau of the Census, Statistical Brief . 1991.

Cool Dad of the Week: Among fathers who maintain contact with their children after a divorce, the pattern of the relationship between father-and-child changes. They begin to behave more like relatives than like parents. Instead of helping with homework, nonresident dads are more likely to take the kids shopping, to the movies, or out to dinner. Instead of providing steady advice and guidance, divorced fathers become "treat dads."

Source: F. Furstenberg, A. Cherlin, Divided Families . Harvard Univ. Press. 1991.

Older's not wiser: While 57 percent of unwed dads with kids no older than two visit their children more than once a week, by the time the kid's seven and a half, only 23 percent are in frequent contact with their children.

Source: R. Lerman and Theodora Ooms, Young Unwed Fathers . 1993.

Ten years after: Ten years after the breakup of a marriage, more than two-thirds of kids report not having seen their father for a year.

Source: National Commission on Children, Speaking of Kids. 1991.

No such address: More than half the kids who don't live with their father have never been in their father's house.

Source: F. Furstenberg, A. Cherlin, Divided Families. Harvard Univ. Press. 1991.

Dadless years: About 40 percent of the kids living in fatherless homes haven't seen their dads in a year or more. Of the rest, only one in five sleeps even one night a month at the father's home. And only one in six sees their father once or more per week.

Source: F. Furstenberg, A. Cherlin, Divided Families. Harvard Univ. Press. 1991.

Measuring up? According to a 1992 Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of all adults agreed that fathers today spend less time with their kids than their fathers did with them.

Source: Gallup national random sample conducted for the National Center for Fathering, April 1992.

Father unknown. Of kids living in single-mom households, 35 percent never see their fathers, and another 24 percent see their fathers less than once a month.

Source: J.A. Selzer, "Children's Contact with Absent Parents," Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50 (1988).

Missed contact: In a study of 304 young adults, those whose parents divorced after they left home had significantly less contact with their fathers than adult children who parents remained married. Weekly contact with their children dropped from 78 percent for still-married fathers to 44 percent for divorced fathers.

Source: William Aquilino, "Later Life Parental Divorce and Widowhood," Journal of Marriage and the Family 56. 1994.

Commercial breaks: The amount of time a father spends with his child -- one-on-one -- averages less than 10 minutes a day.

Source: J. P. Robinson, et al., "The Rhythm of Everyday Life." Westview Press. 1988

High risk: Overall, more than 75 percent of American children are at risk because of paternal deprivation. Even in two-parent homes, fewer than 25 percent of young boys and girls experience an average of at least one hour a day of relatively individualized contact with their fathers.

Source: Henry Biller, "The Father Factor..." a paper based on presentations during meetings with William Galston, Deputy Director, Domestic Policy, Clinton White House, December 1993 and April 1994.

Knock, knock: Of children age 5 to 14, 1.6 million return home to houses where there is no adult present.

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, "Who's Minding the Kids?" Statistical Brief. April 1994.

Who said talk's cheap? Almost 20 percent of sixth- through twelfth-graders have not had a good conversation lasting for at least 10 minutes with at least one of their parents in more than a month.

Source: Peter Benson, "The Troubled Journey." Search Institute. 1993.

Justified guilt. A 1990 L.A. Times poll found that 57 percent of all fathers and 55 percent of all mothers feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children.

Source: Lynn Smith and Bob Sipchen, "Two Career Family Dilemma," Los Angeles Times, Aug. 12, 1990.

Who are you, mister? In 1965, parents on average spent approximately 30 hours a week with their kids. By 1985, the amount of time had fallen to 17 hours.

Source: William Mattox, "The Parent Trap." Policy Review. Winter, 1991.

Waiting Works: Only eight percent of those who finished high school, got married before having a child, and waited until age 20 to have that child were living in poverty in 1992.

Source: William Galston, "Beyond the Murphy Brown Debate." Institute for Family Values. Dec. 10, 1993.

63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census)
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (Source: Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes (Source: Criminal Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26, 1978.)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools.)
75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes (Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children.)
70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (Source: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988)
85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home (Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections 1992)
Original Source here

Pregnancy Gender Myths

Last month I broke down and decided I had to know the sex of BC2. My midwife suggested I try a relatively new test called the Panorama Prenatal Test. For the test you simply needed to have your blood drawn and a host of results would be expected. I will share all I learned in a later post. In this post I wanted to share this super cool infographic from Cryo Bank. Check it out!

 

 

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

I've been teaching for nine long years, during this time I have seen a host of children with a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical disorders. Most stem from the reckless behaviors of their mothers while they were in the womb. One such group of disorderes I see time and time again is FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME (FASD). The behaviors of students who have FASD often look like ADHD. On Friday, my mother went to a workshop on this topic and shared a great deal of information with me. She mentioned that 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and this often leads to cases of FAS and "involuntary infanticide". Mommy also mentioned that the highest cases of FASD are seen in middle class, college educated, White women (source). She relayed that doctors often don't ask the questions of this type of patient that is needed to find out if they are at-risk.

 

During my first prenatal appointment, last week, I was asked to complete a two page drug and alcohol questionnaire. With Lil D I was not given this option. I think this should be a mandatory intake process for all pregnant women, right along with NT screening. 

 

Facts About FASD

 

 

  • A national survey found that more than half of women age 15-44 drank while pregnant.9
  • FAS is estimated to occur in 1 to 2 live births per every 1,000 in the United States each year.11
  • Fetal Alcohol Effects (a less severe set of alcohol-related abnormalities) is estimated to occur in 3-5 live births per every 1,000 in the United States each year.2, 11
  • The FAS infant is irritable. The older FAS child is hyperactive. Fine motor skills are impaired with weak grasp, poor hand-eye coordination, and tremors.
  • The face is characteristic with short eye openings (palpebral fissures), sunken nasal bridge, short nose, flattening of the cheekbones and midface, smoothing and elongation of the ridged area (the philtrum) between the nose and lips, and smooth, thin upper lip.

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     Photo Credit: here

    Photo Credit: here

    Sources:

    2 here

    9 here

    11 here

     

    Interesting Read

    Furthering my knowledge on birth and pregnancy I visited The Unnecesarean, one of my favorite sources for birth policy and hospital rates, to catch up on the latest news. On the blog I arrived upon an article published by ConsumerReports.org titled, What to Reject WhenYou're Expecting: 10 Procedures to Think Twice About During Your Pregnancy (May 2012). In the article the authors mention the 10 overused procedures, 10 things you should do during your pregnancy, 5 things to do before you become pregnant, and two successful birth stories.

     

    10 Overused Procedures 

     

    1. A C-section with low risk first birth
    2. An automatic second C-section
    3. An elective early delivery
    4. Inducing labor without a medical reason
    5. Ultrasounds after 24 weeks (the margin of error increases significantly as the pregnancy progresses)
    6. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring 
    7. Early epidurals
    8. Routinely rupturing the amniotic membranes 
    9. Sending your newborn to the nursery
    10. Routine episiotomies

     

    After reading the section on not needing a ultrasound after 24 weeks for a low-risk pregnancy, all I could do was reflect on my experience and think about the tactics that were used on me to get me to comply with the bullshit I was feed. For instance, I was told that a full term pregnancy was 38 weeks, well according to the March of Dimes and medical research is was a big fat lie. A FULL TERM PREGNANCY IS AT LEAST 39 WEEKS. The "coercion, lies, manipulation, bullying, intimidation, threats, and anger" directed at women in their most fragile state is criminal.

    I think the summer of 2014 I will begin training as a doula. I strongly feeling women in this country are being sold a bunch of shit when it come to giving birth. Got to be the change you want to see in the world.

    About one third of the babies born in the united states are born via csection! One in three!!! Shameful.

     

     

    Baby Mama . . . To Be or Not to Be

    Several months ago one of my homegirl's email me asking my opinion on a subject that is very prevelent in the Black community, being a baby mama. Her exact question was, "What do you think of planning to have a baby without marriage?".

    Ummph . . . I thought about her question for a while, bearing in mind that being a Baby Mama is not the worst thing in the world and stuff happens beyond our control. Also, abortion is not an option many women consider an ethical choice. So here was my response to her:

     

    I feel like you are playing catch with a double ended sword. For me, as you know, I always think about the financial ramifications of my decisions before I do things. If my actions will impinge negatively on my finances then its a hell no. As in the case of having a baby without the benefits of being married this is a big NO for me because I don't have access to his money (i.e. Social Security,Medical Insurance, or tax incentives, etc.) without that marriage license. Also having sex with someone you don't see as a possible husband is a gamble. Condoms break, and casual sex is dangerous. Thinking of your man as your future husband versus being your future baby father is a twisted mentality.

     

    It's too easy to be a Baby Mama. You want to be a WIFE. PERIOD. Child support is shaky at best and I just would not want my child to be brought into a situation where I can't guarantee a family unit. Sure people get divorced and such, but with a divorce comes alimony and child support. BTW if you are ever in a situation where you have to choose between the two always choose more child support over alimony because the person receiving the alimony has to pay tax on that money, child support you don't. Anyway...bottom line children need the stability that a marriage provides. It’s not enough to say "we in this together" when we both know that at any given time homeboy or homegirl can bounce real easy. It's harder to do if you have that marriage license. It’s almost like a contract that says I am guaranteed some of your shit if you decide to flake out.


    Go to the court house, have the baby, then have a big wedding when you lose the baby weight or whenever.

    2nd Question: Do you think it's that serious/necessary to get married?

    What are the benefits married people enjoy?

    Live longer. Have better physical and emotional health. Are happier. Earn more. Enjoy better sex live. Save more so they have fewer money worries.


    Five new themes in marriage-related research 

    ~Even though marriage has lost ground in the minority communities in recent years, marriage has not lost its value in these communities.

     

    ~An emerging line of research indicates that marriage benefits poor Americans, and Americans from disadvantaged backgrounds, even though these Americans are now less likely to get and stay married.

     ~Marriage seems to be particularly important in civilizing men, turning their attention away from dangerous, antisocial, or self-centered activities and towards the needs of a family.

    ~Beyond its well-known contributions to adult health, marriage influences the biological functioning of adults and children in ways that can have important social consequences.

     ~The relationship quality of intimate partners is related to both their marital status and, for married adults, to the degree to which these partners are committed to marriage.

     

    BOTTOM LINE: No woman should aspire to be anything like the Laura Govan's of the world (i.e., 4 kids, no husband, living in a one bedroom apartment). Shit at least Shaunie was married when Shaq evicted her ass. She had some recourse.

     

    Check out my blog post on You Are Not Ready To Get Married If.


    Akua'ba Fertility Goddess

    As I sit here breastfeeding at 3:17 in the morning, (trust me you get used to waking every hour and a half to nurse--nope I'm lying) I am typing with one hand and cradling Lil' D with the other. See as a Mommy multi-tasking is one of your new middle names.

     

    Anyway I took a mental inventory of my bedroom (having a yard sale and need to sell some things) and my eyes rested on a wooden statue I was given in undergrad from a Ghanian girl as a gift. She told me back then it was called Akua'Ba. I collect dolls and decided this strange looking statue was nice, I even placed a gye nyame necklace around her neck. Now my Jamaican mother would think I was crazy for taking a wooden statue and amulet from a person. LOL . . . the conversation would have gone like this if she had know I accepted the gift:

    Me: Mommy my friend at school gave me this wooden statue as a gift.

    Mommy: And you take it? Wey yu a say? Didn't you tell mi she was fenkay, fenkay?

    Me: But itt was a gift. I like it. And you know I collect dolls. She's alright sometimes.

    Mommy: Wha sweet nanny goat a go run him belly. Pickney who cyan hear will feel. 

    Me: It's not too much and she is gifting me for helping her out.

    Mommy: Fool-fool.

    For those of you with Jamaican parents you know how superstitious some can be. Taking something like a statue or jewelry from someone is comparable to taking drugs from a dealer. It's bad and everybody is out to harm you . . . covertly of course in the way of objects. As a result my Akua'ba remained in a box for several years, then to my attic with my other dolls.

     

    I mentioned in a previous post D and I were trying to get pregnant for a while and in an attempted to have our room more feng shui I moved furniture and brought my Akua'Ba down from the attic to rest on my reading table in the corner of the bedroom. I figured, "hey ovulation sticks ain't working so let's bring in the spiritual elements". Short of having my friend perform a Santaria ritual on my ass I was desperately (no too strong a word) decisively thinking of all options. I was tired of people telling me it takes time. I had all kinds of negative thoughts on why we weren't procreating successfully.

    Now I'm not one to totally accept the dogma of all Jamaican superstition, so I spoke to the doll one day. I said, "I hope you're not some wooden vessel for evil. I need to get pregnant and that's what you are suppose to facilitate." You laugh but growing up in a West Indian household you are leery of a lot of things.  A short time passed and sure nuff we got pregnant.

     

     

     

    P.S.

    Yeah you're wondering, "Is she serious?" I did bring the statue to my bedroom and within a month we were pregnant, but I also had an HSG procedure during the same time. So was it magic or science?

     

     

    The Lie of the EDD

    In my trusty birth resources binder, prepared for us by our Doula Lynn, I arrived on an article titled, "The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn't when You Think". It was an interesting read. As you may have guessed from the title the article deals with the common misconception that a full term pregnancy is a max of 40 weeks based on Naegele's Rule.

    Here are a few tidbits from the article:

     

    "There is one glaring flaw in Naegele's rule. Strictly speaking, a lunar month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we've been lead to believe is average. In fact, if left alone, 50-80% of mothers will gestate beyond 40 weeks."

     

    "They found that for first time mothers (nulliparas) pregnancy lasted an average of 288 days (41 weeks 1 day). . . . To easily calculate this EDD formula, a nullipara would take the LMP, subrtract 3 months, then add 15 days." 

     

    According to this calculation my EDD could be April 2, 2011 instead of March 25, 2011 . . .Yikes!!

     

    "One of the most vital pieces of information to know when you are expecting is that ACOG itself does not recommend interfering with a normal pregnancy before 42 completed weeks."

    Refusal of Cesarean Leads to Loss of Custody in NJ

    Saw this and almost shit myself. This is one of the hospitals that my OB has privileges. . .

    The Superior Court of New Jersey upheld the decision that a woman who refused an unnecessary cesarean at St. Barnabas Hospital, which boasts a 49.3 percent cesarean rate, will not receive custody of her daughter. The judge claims the Superior Court of New Jersey’s decision is not based on the defendant’s refusal of a cesarean, but on “other substantial additional evidence of abuse and neglect that supported the ultimate findings.”

    A Quick Summary

    On April 16, 2006, V and B, a married couple, went to Saint Barnabas Hospital after V began experiencing contractions. V is described in court documents as a 42 year old, college educated woman who was thirty-five weeks pregnant and in labor upon arrival at St. Barnabas Hospital in New Jersey, which boasts a 49.3 percent cesarean rate. V signed the consent form for the administration of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, oxygen, fetal heart rate monitoring, an episiotomy and an epidural anesthetic. However, she refused to the blanket consent forms for c-section or fetal scalp stimulation. According to the court documents, hospital personnel explained the “potentially dire consequences of not allowing a c-section in the event of fetal distress.”

    In the hospital records, V is described as “combative,” “uncooperative,” “erratic,” “noncompliant,” “irrational” and “inappropriate” while in labor. V requested that the obstetrician leave the room and called the Livingston Police to report that she was being abused and denied treatment. She exercised the right to refuse to wear an oxygen mask, would not consent to fetal heart rate monitoring and “thrashed about to the extent that it was unsafe for the anesthesiologist to administer an epidural,” but records do not indicate whether or not she had requested an epidural. While yelling loudly, she exercised the right to refuse a bedside ultrasound.

    Dr. Mansuria, the obstetrician, explained the possible complications that could occur if the fetus went into distress and a c-section was not performed, such as brain damage, mental retardation and fetal death. Mansuria claimed that “an examination” revealed a nonreassuring fetal status. B said that he understood the risks and V would not consent to the procedure.

     

    The legal findings show that the “hospital responded appropriately to confront V’s mental state and her refusal to consent to the c-section.” The staff requested an emergency psychiatric evaluation to determine V.’s competency. Dr. Devendra Kurani spoke to V for approximately one hour and while Kurani was there, the anesthesiologist was able to administer an epidural. V informed Kurani that she had a “psychiatric history” and had been on medication prior to getting pregnant. B confirmed that V had been treated by a psychiatrist for post-traumatic stress disorder and had been prescribed Zoloft, Prozac and Seroquel.

     

    Dr. Kurani concluded that although V was anxious, she was not psychotic and had the capacity for informed consent with regard to the c-section. The staff called in a second psychiatric evaluation from a Dr. Jacoby.Before the second psychiatrist was able to complete the examination, V gave birth vaginally to J without incident in spite of Dr. Mansuria’s repeated claims that V’s baby was in distress and could suffer brain damage, mental retardation or fetal death without the recommended cesarean.

     

    A social worker at Saint Barnabas Hospital contacted the Division of Youth and Family Services on April 18, 2006, two days after J’s birth to report concerns over releasing the baby to her parents’ care. Caseworker Heather Frommer went to the hospital, interviewed staff and spoke to V and B, who denied that V “had ever received psychiatric treatment, had ever refused to consent to a c-section or had ever been evaluated by a hospital psychiatrist.”

    It gets deeper the court findings can be found here in full, and a summary found here.

     Source: the unnecesarean.com


    The Fultz Quads

    As I was catching up on my favorite blogs I arrived on this blog post from BLACKTATING: Breastfeeding News & Views from a Mom of Color about the Fultz Quads. Prior to reading the post I had never heard about the quads. I was fascinated by the brief depiction Elita provided of their life. Check out the post below:
     
    "During the opening plenary at the Black Mother's Breastfeeding Association's third annual conference, I learned about the Fultz Quads, quadruplet girls born to a tenant farmer named Pete and his deaf, mute wife Annie Mae on May 23, 1946. I'm not sure how I'd never learned about this important piece of African-American history, but I'm happy to be able to share it with you, in case you've never heard of them either.

    You can imagine the chances of a couple conceiving quadruplets in the 40s, decades before the availability of fertility treatments, and the fact that the family was poor and black made this a sensational story that garnered nation-wide media attention. The Fultz's already had six children at home when Annie Mae headed to the hospital to give birth to her babies.

    The white doctor who delivered the quads, Fred Klenner, gained world renown for attending the birth of the first recorded set of black quadruplets. Dr. Klenner decided to name the girls himself, calling them Mary Ann, Mary Louise, Mary Alice and Mary Catherine. All of the names were for women in his family. The black delivery nurse was quoted in a newspaper article as saying, "At that time, you know, it was before integration. They did us how they wanted. And these were very poor people. He was a sharecropper, Pete was, and she couldn't read or write."

    As much of a media circus as the girls' birth was, it seems no one wanted in on the action more than the infant formula companies, whose business was exploding due to the post-war baby boom. In addition to making the girls guinea pigs for his 'Vitamin C therapy,' Dr. Klenner also negotiated a deal with the PET milk company, which agreed to provide the girls with formula, food, medical care, a private nurse and a farm when they reached adulthood, in exchange for using their image in promotional materials.

    This is the beginning of the aggressive marketing of infant formula to African-Americans in this country. Surely the wife of a poor sharecropper would have breastfed her children had PET not come into the picture. And of course black women were breastfeeding their children at this time because they really had no choice. Formula would not have been an affordable or viable option for most people. So although white women were turning to formula in droves, the formula companies were missing a huge portion of the market because black women were still breastfeeding. So how do you change their minds? The image of four beautiful black baby girls 'growing up strong' on formula was probably pretty convincing.
    You probably won't be surprised to find out that things didn't work out so well for the Fultz Quads. They were eventually adopted by the baby nurse provided to the family by PET. The farm they were promised turned out to be in the middle of nowhere on land that couldn't grow weeds. They grew up embittered over the way PET profited from their image while they remained poor. The public eventually forgot about them and they lived quiet lives.
    They got to meet Presidents Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Althea Gibson, appeared on television shows, and in hundreds of ads for PET milk.

    But what were the consequences of being fed 'baby milk' in infancy? Well, the three eldest of the Fultz quads were all dead of breast cancer before they reached age 55. The youngest sister, Mary Catherine, also has breast cancer. I'll let you draw your own conclusions."
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    For a more in depth story on the Fultz Quads click here.