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SEPTEMBER 2007

Contents:

  • Where did the newsletter go?

  • Annual Picnic details

  • Birth on Labor Day!

  • Do you have baby gear you no longer need?

  • Bringing Baby Home workshop

  • Children need touching and attention


Where did the newsletter go?


Our apologies for the lengthy gap since the last newsletter. The email list service we were using closed down, and it has taken us a while to find a suitable alternative. Now we've located a new service, we should be able to send out newsletters regularly again--usually about once every two months.

If you would prefer not to receive future newsletters, please let us know at newsletter@birthcenter.com. We will permanently record your preference in our records so that even if we have to change email list service again, we won't end up sending you newsletters you don't want.

On the other hand, if you'd love to receive newsletters and have some thoughts on what you'd like them to include, please let us know.


Annual Picnic details


The annual picnic is coming up on Saturday September 22nd from noon to 4pm at Cottage Lake Park in Woodinville. You should already have received an Evite for the event, but we know that some email systems filter out Evites. If you didn't receive an invite and would like to attend, please email Officemanager@birthcenter.com and let Grace know how many people will be coming with you.

Cottage Lake Park is at 18831 NE Woodinville Duvall Road.


Birth on Labor Day!
There is an amazing theater project throughout our area this September and we want to make sure youíre aware of it. The play is called Birth by playwright Karen Brody and itís part of an international event called BOLD (Birth On Labor Day) that is taking place in more than 40 locations in the US and worldwide. BOLD is a global movement that uses the arts to get communities to educate themselves, speak their truth and take action on maternity care issues.
The story of eight women, Birth delivers a theatrical experience that melds the unbridled hilarity, the unexpected poignancy, and the tragic truth about power in maternity care. Moving between first-person monologues, some dialogue, and the voices these women heard on the day they gave birth, the play Birth confronts "The naked truth about childbirth in America."
Please come to a performance of Birth, and please tell your friends about this important project. Consider bringing a young woman (or man) you know! This is a great play for older teens and and college age people who may not understand what birth and the US maternity care system are all about as they move into their childbearing years.
For tickets and lots of information about BOLD and Birth, visit http://www.boldinseattle.com.
September 7, 8, 9 - Seattle Public Theatre at the Bathhouse
September 15 - Historic Everett Theatre
September 21 - Rainier Valley Cultural Arts Center, Columbia City
September 22 - Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, West Seattle
September 28 - Vashon Island High School Theatre
September 29 - Theatre On the Square, Tacoma
See you at the theatre!
BOLD also includes "Red Tent" events, which offer forums for women to share birth stories. We are currently planning Red Tents in Tacoma, Vashon and Olympia. If you would be interested in helping organize a BOLD Red Tent in your neighborhood, please visit http://www.boldinseattle.com/bold-red-tents.html for more information.
Visit www.BirthonLaborDay.com to learn more about all these events.


Do you have baby gear you no longer need?

Clean out the toys, baby gear, and clothes that your children don't need and donate them to homeless families.

At the Baby Boutique we provide free children's clothing, shoes, diapers, toys, and equipment to families that are homeless. We rely on new and gently used donations from the community to keep our shelves
stocked. In 2006 more than 1,800 children received essential supplies from the Baby Boutique. But right now, our shelves are near-empty. Please help!

To donate supplies, please see Family Services website for store hours and drop-off location:

http://www.family-services.org/make_a_difference/donate/wish_list.php


Bringing Baby Home workshop

A recent study reported that, on average, marital satisfaction starts dropping after the birth of the first child and doesn't recover to its initial levels until the last child leaves home! Sobering statistics, but within that average are plenty of couples whose relationship stays strong or strengthens through the parenting years. There are many resources out there that can help improve your chances of being in that group. One particularly valuable workshop is the Bringing Baby Home program, created by John Gottman, who is a highly respected researcher on relationships. Jewish Family Services is offering the program this fall, starting October 23rd.

Full details:

Six Tuesdays: October 23-November 27, 6:15 - 8:30 p.m.

$150/couple includes all materials. Scholarships available.
Pre-registration required.

For more information:

Marjorie Schnyder
Director of Family Life Education
206-461-3240 ext. 3146
mschnyder@jfsseattle.org

http://www.jfsseattle.org/pdf/BBHFall07.pdf


If the Seattle location isn't convenient, you can find other programs through the Bringing Baby Home website at www.bbhonline.org

Children Need Touching and Attention

From the Harvard University Gazette

Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say
By Alvin Powell

America's "let them cry" attitude toward children may lead to more fears and tears among adults, according to two Harvard Medical School researchers.

Instead of letting infants cry, American parents should keep their babies close, console them when they cry, and bring them to bed with them, where they'll feel safe, according to Michael L. Commons and Patrice M. Miller, researchers at the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry.

The pair examined childrearing practices here and in other cultures and say the widespread American practice of putting babies in separate beds -- even separate rooms -- and not responding quickly to their cries may lead to incidents of post-traumatic stress and panic disorders when these children reach adulthood.

The early stress resulting from separation causes changes in infant brains that makes future adults more susceptible to stress in their lives, say Commons and Miller.

"Parents should recognize that having their babies cry unnecessarily harms the baby permanently," Commons said. "It changes the nervous system so they're overly sensitive to future trauma."

The Harvard researchers' work is unique because it takes a cross-disciplinary approach, examining brain function, emotional learning in infants, and cultural differences, according to Charles R. Figley, director of the Traumatology Institute at Florida State University and editor of The Journal of Traumatology.

"It is very unusual but extremely important to find this kind of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research report," Figley said. "It accounts for cross-cultural differences in children's emotional response and their ability to cope with stress, including traumatic stress."

Figley said Commons and Miller's work illuminates a route of further study and could have implications for everything from parents' efforts to intellectually stimulate infants to practices such as circumcision.

Commons has been a lecturer and research associate at the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry since 1987 and is a member of the Department's Program in Psychiatry and the Law.

Miller has been a research associate at the School's Program in Psychiatry and the Law since 1994 and an assistant professor of psychology at Salem State College since 1993. She received master's and doctorate degrees in human development from the Graduate School of Education.

The pair say that American childrearing practices are influenced by fears that children will grow up dependent. But they say that parents are on the wrong track: physical contact and reassurance will make children more secure and better able to form adult relationships when they finally head out on their own.

"We've stressed independence so much that it's having some very negative side effects," Miller said.

The two gained the spotlight in February when they presented their ideas at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Commons and Miller, using data Miller had worked on that was compiled by Robert A. LeVine, Roy Edward Larsen Professor of Education and Human Development, contrasted American childrearing practices with those of other cultures, particularly the Gusii people of Kenya. Gusii mothers sleep with their babies and respond rapidly when the baby cries.

"Gusii mothers watching videotapes of U.S. mothers were upset by how long it took these mothers to respond to infant crying," Commons and Miller said in their paper on the subject.

The way we are brought up colors our entire society, Commons and Miller say. Americans in general don't like to be touched and pride themselves on independence to the point of isolation, even when undergoing a difficult or stressful time.

Despite the conventional wisdom that babies should learn to be alone, Miller said she believes many parents "cheat," keeping the baby in the room with them, at least initially. In addition, once the child can crawl around, she believes many find their way into their parents' room on their own.

American parents shouldn't worry about this behavior or be afraid to baby their babies, Commons and Miller said. Parents should feel free to sleep with their infant children, to keep their toddlers nearby, perhaps on a mattress in the same room, and to comfort a baby when it cries.

"There are ways to grow up and be independent without putting babies through this trauma," Commons said. "My advice is to keep the kids secure so they can grow up and take some risks."

Besides fears of dependence, the pair said other factors have helped form our childrearing practices, including fears that children would interfere with sex if they shared their parents' room and doctors' concerns that a baby would be injured by a parent rolling on it if the parent and baby shared the bed. Additionally, the nation's growing wealth has helped the trend toward separation by giving families the means to buy larger homes with separate rooms for children.

The result, Commons and Miller said, is a nation that doesn't like caring for its own children, a violent nation marked by loose, nonphysical relationships.

"I think there's a real resistance in this culture to caring for children," Commons said. But "punishment and abandonment has never been a good way to get warm, caring, independent people."






 


Birth Center Testimonial
"Val, Ali and Brandy-

We cannot begin to tell you how much you have meant to us over the past ten months. Your good humor, gentle care, expertise, and respect for us made it so easy for us to relax and enjoy my pregnancy.

I looked forward to every appt. and loved watching Brandy evolve from a student to a truly wonderful midwife. Morgan's birth was an amazing experience, not only for me but for my friends and family as well - I've raved about it so much I've got people as far as Hawaii seeking out midwives! And the best part- everything was so much fun!

We look forward to doing it again!

Much love,
Shawnette, Troy, Garrett and Morgan

*I think Garrett is going to miss seeing his 'mif-wifes' even more than me!"

 

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