Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Consequences of Stress on Children’s Development

Choose one stressor that you, or someone you know, experienced as a child. Share how you, or that person, coped with and/or compensated for that stressor (including any resources used or any support obtained).

As a young child, I have fond memories of my mother, older brother, and I going out on the weekends together because she worked all week. She was, ironically enough, the director of a youth center. On occasion, my brother and I would go with her to her job and play with the other children, but for the most part we were cared for by our neighbor until she finished work. My mother worked hard to provide for us and kept a roof over our head. But sometimes food and electricity was not an option.
I chose to speak about my experience with poverty because this social issue touches many American families every second of the day. Not until I was in my late teens did I realized we were poor earlier in life. There were times where peaches and was a meal or, thankfully, our neighbors home was a place for us to eat. Looking in our window, it would not have appeared to many that we were poor, but we had some rough times. And through it all, my mother worked and prayed, and accepted donations from family and community resources(food pantries,etc) when they were offered. My mother has never been a selfish woman, which is why, looking back even at that age, I knew we would be alright. Fortunately, it did not have a long term negative effect on me. It did however, make me appreciate and empathize with people I see who are homeless and without food.

Choose a region or country in the world that you would like to know more about and/or for which you have a special affinity. Find out, and describe, the kind of stressor(s) that impact the development of children in that region/country and what is being done to minimize the harm.

I am choosing Louisiana as a topic of discussion for poverty because; we don’t have to go out of the country to see the tremendous effects poverty has on a community. Right here in our own front yard, forget about our backyard, there is a serious issue that must be addressed with urgency. Even before Hurricane Katrina stuck this part of our nation, there were very real issues of poverty. It was only through the devastation of Katrina that the world over saw the ugly face of poverty and economic disparity at its worst.
When you think about stressors that impact children living in poverty it are not hard to identify three immediately; hunger, poor living conditions, and poor educational conditions. I was searching the internet and school library and found a few articles, but the one that gave the most insight to the issue of poverty came from a 2005 census bureau report that stated,
“…The highest percentages of children in this age group [under the age of 5] living in poverty were found in Louisiana, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia…”
There are different organizations, including the Children’s Defense Fund, who are trying desperately to eliminate poverty and the effects in lower income communities by providing funds and resources for families and communities to improve themselves not just as individuals, but as a whole community and nation. Others include, but are not limited to; Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities'.

Breaden, M. (2008). CHILD POVERTY. Education Week, 27(20), 5. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Child Development and Public Health

Choose one public health topic from the list above (or one that you think should be added to the list).
Describe in what ways this topic is meaningful to you.
Access to adequate healthcare and healthcare insurance:
It is important to include adequate healthcare and healthcare insurance because without access to this aspect of the public health sector, many of the topics listed (Nutrition/malnutrition, Immunization, breastfeeding, etc), would not, and in some instances, are not available to the poor people in society. With the funding cuts in healthcare over the years, it has been, along with education, the string politicians have used to draw constituents to the polls to vote. With an overwhelming concern for the state of healthcare for the very young and the very old, this issue must be addressed with urgency. Without adequate healthcare, children have died from infected teeth due to lack of dental care as well as illnesses that could have been treated given the proper medical attention.
Find information about this topic from a different part of the world, and include this information in your Blog.
According to, “Costa Rica has universal health care, one of the best health systems in Latin America. As always with nationalized health care, expect red tape and long waits, but the quality of Costa Rica’s health care is excellent” (International Living, 2009-2010). I chose this country because my daughter will be visiting Costa Rica soon and I have been researching the country and its healthcare. She has asthma and I want to make sure that they will be able to provide quality healthcare in the event of any emergency.
Share ways the information you have learned may impact your future work.
I read a book entitled, “Lantern: Memoirs of Mentors”, by the founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), Marian Wright Edelman. CDF is a national advocacy project dedicated to improving childhood development by improving conditions in education, healthcare, and other aspects of human life. One of my favorite quotes of Marian Wright Edelman is,” if we don’t stand for children, then we don’t stand for much.” She and many other child advocates continue to make my experiences in this course exciting and inspirational.
I intend to provide workshops and seminars for the parents in my center on the importance of healthy living, which includes healthcare insurance. Some parents are not aware of the just how accessible healthcare insurance is for women and children. I want to be a part of an organization that advocates for family healthcare. It is shameful that in our society, in some cases, women have to declare that they are single or separated in order to receive long standing healthcare without being pregnant. And just because a family has a two income home, does not mean that they can afford the insurance offered by their employer or even the independent insurance policies.
Edelman, M. W. (2000). Lanterns; A Memoir of Mentors. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
International Living. (2009-2010). Health Care in Costa Rica: Costa Rica offers good-quality healthcare. Retrieved November 9, 2010, from International Living:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Childbirth Experience

Write about a personal birthing experience. It can be your own birth, your child’s birth, or one you took part in. What do you remember about the event? Why did you choose this example? What are your thoughts regarding birth and its impact on child development?
When I was seven years old I witnessed a home birth. A young couple, newly married, moved into the lower level of our home. She soon became pregnant and I had the opportunity to watch her transform into a place providing safety, sustenance, and warmth for a little person growing inside.

During the months that followed, I was amazed by how her belly grew larger and watched it move as the baby would move. As a child, I also wondered how the baby stayed in her belly without air (the things children think of).
When the time finally arrived for the birth, the midwife came to our home and my mother woke me because I asked if I could watch. When I walked in, the lights were dim and there were very soft recordings playing in the room and everyone, including the mother, was praying. She was as quiet as could be, all the while making faces that should have rendered some sort of moan or loud screams of pain, but she did neither. It seemed like ages to me (she actually labored for two days unbeknown to me), but when the time was near, she jumped to her feet and the women in the room held her as she proceeded to squat and push. She pushed until a huge mass of something (at the time I didn’t know it was a baby), came rushing from her body.
In astonishment, I took a big gasp of air in and watched as they quickly cleared the baby’s airway, laid the mother down, and she began to nurse the baby. The room was still very quiet, but, you could feel the exhilaration and joy in the room as everyone smiled and looked on. Then a big something else (I had no clue it was the afterbirth at that time), came out and that’s when I was told to leave the room. For the rest of the night, I lay thinking about what I had just witnessed, listening to the sounds of the beautiful baby boy crying, water running, and people speaking softly as they were leaving to go to their homes.
Today that beautiful little boy is loving and attentive husband and father of three, finishing his last term as a resident pediatric cardiologist (he chose pediatric cardiology because his younger brother died of a heart defect at a young age.)

I chose this experience as opposed to one of birth experiences, because it was very unique to have experienced such an event, especially given my age at the time. In addition to my mother, this experience was the reason I chose to work with children. When I was younger, I wanted to be a midwife, but was not able to bring my dream to fruition, but working with children, is another way for me to help children.

I think birth is one of life’s most amazing events, because a woman is able to labor and bring a new life into the world. The birthing experience has a relationship to child development because there are physical, mental, social, and developmental, implications for everyone involved. If complications arise, for example, the family must now deal with the possibility of, having to have short and/or long term rehabilitation (physical) for the child and later on in life, the child and family either positively or negatively learning how to deal lives with his/her disability (psychosocial).
Choose a region of the world or a country, other than the U.S., and find out how births happen there. Write about what you learned, and the differences and similarities with your experience (in the personal example you provided).

In recent years, with the advancements in science in many parts of the world, one will find that birthing practices are becoming similar to western forms of childbirth. But for families in the United States, citizens and immigrants, as well as other countries that choose to continue traditions and in rural parts of these countries, traditional birth practices remain an integral part of their culture.
In Japan for instance, food is an important part of the birthing process. According to an article from Hawaii Community College, “foods rich in proteins and carbohydrates such as mochi and eggs are sometimes offered and encouraged at the onset of labor to ensure adequate energy throughout the laboring process”. It is important to remain silent in the face of pain as this is seen as the proper way to for the women deal with the pain. The father, or any other male except a male doctor, is not traditionally present during the birthing process. Women traditionally are in the room with and support the laboring mother.
The similarities in the experiences of both women were that women were present to assist with the labor and both were progressing quietly through their labor.
There were two major differences in the delivery I witnessed and the experience I researched. In the case of the Japanese mother, she was expected to be stoic or “deal with the pain appropriately” according to tradition, while the mother I observed was silent because it was hers and her midwife’s belief that to yell out in pain caused the labor to require more energy than necessary. The other difference was that in the Japanese labor, the husband was not present, where in the labor I witnessed, the husband was present.

What additional insights, if any, about the impact of the birthing experience on development, did you gain from this comparison?

Final insights that I observed was that one can observe gender roles in the birthing practices of any given culture. Where one culture may see it is solely the responsibility of the women to handle the birth or where fathers can be active participants, often gives insight to the parts that each person plays in the household. It is also another example of just how similar we are as a human family and why prejudice has not place in our world.