Can you hear me now?

As a child I remember a few times that noise had an impact on my life.  The first time was when I was in elementary school and we lived next to a dance hall.  So many nights I would hear music playing all night long and it would interfere with my sleep.  The next day at school, after the dance hall had a band playing, I would always be tired and would not be able to concentrate well at school.  When I was in High school we moved to a house that was right next to a railroad track, and guess what?  Every night I would be kept awake or waken up by trains.  Once again my life was taken over by sleepless nights, and tired school days.  I am just glad that over time I could grow used to the trains and they stopped interfering with my sleep.

I feel that I have always been a bit sensitive to noise.  Maybe this is one reason that I do not watch TV, or even listen to the radio much.  While I do enjoy movies and music, I just do not enjoy having background noise all the time.  A few years ago I had my hearing tested, and it showed that I do have hearing loss, maybe that is why noise bothers me, or maybe it is the memories of so many sleepless nights.

I think that noise pollution is something that many of us do not consider as much as other forms of pollution, but the costs are high, especially for children who are trying to focus as school.  For India, it is a major concern.

Loud speakers and firecrackers seem to have become a norm for those living in India.  Many celebrations include fireworks, and increased populations are not helping the matter.  Noise pollution can have serious repercussions.  For children or adults are exposed to noise pollution some of the outcomes can be hearing loss, more stress, insomnia, heart issues, and high blood pressure. 

Thankfully WHO (World Health Organization), has taken steps to help reduce the amount of noise that any one person should be exposed to.  India has taken many steps towards reducing the amount of noise children and adults are exposed to.  These regulation include restricted use of loud speakers, horns, and fire crackers. 

When we think about the effects that noise pollution have on children, just think of the outcomes that it can have for adults.  Their cognitive abilities will be effected due to lack of sleep, or even hearing loss, or ability to concentrate.  They may become more anxious children who have more stress, and ultimately could also have heath issues. 

Want to learn more?

Here is some information from WHO: http://www.who.int/ceh/capacity/noise.pdf

Information on Noise pollution in India: http://www.indiaonline.in/about/Profile/Geography/EnvironmentalConcerns/Noise-Pollution.html

A very fun and interesting post from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/changepower/201309/what-did-you-say-how-noise-pollution-is-harming-you

Breastfeeding

The topic that I choose to write about this week is the topic of breastfeeding. Why do I feel that this is such an important topic? There are so many reasons. Here are a few:

 

A baby gets all the nutrients that it needs from breast milk.

Breast milk contains important antibodies that helps protect its build immune system.

Breast milk is free.

During feeding times mother and baby both have time to bond.

Breast feeding is also good for a new mother’s health.

 

One reason that I felt compelled to write about this topic is something that I see frequently in our society today and that is the fact that women are almost seen as a disgrace if they feed their babies in public. I have seen many posts on Facebook as well as other social media that honestly it makes me a little upset. I feel that in order to empower women to make a choice that is right for their babies needs we have to dispel this public image that breastfeeding is a bad thing.

Take for example the women who live in Rwanda, Africa. This country has the highest percentage of women who are breastfeeding their infants, 90 % folks! And what is even more amazing is that many women in this country are suffering from the HIV virus.

So why as an educator do I feel that this is important in the work I do? I feel that we need to get the message out to mother’s that this option is really the best for their children.   Providing private areas for mothers to feed their babies as well as becoming breastfeeding friendly centers in a place to start. Among the reasons that women may choose to not breast feed is the availability of formula, lack of good information and also lack of paid time off from work. Two of these issues we can work to change. We can provide parents with good information as well as resources to help them with issues they may face. We also need to advocate for new mothers to help get more paid time off of work after having babies so they do not feel overwhelmed and rushed. I believe that not so long ago San Francisco was the first city in the United States to mandate employers to provide paid maternity leave. THIS should not be the exception, but the rule.

If you are looking for more information about breastfeeding here are a few references:

UNICEF http://www.unicef.org/nutrition/index_24824.html

CDC http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/guide.htm

Women’s Health http://womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-resources.html

National Library of Medicine http://womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-resources.html

Childbirth

I am a fortunate to be the mother of three children. With each child, the story of their delivery was much different, just as they are so very different children. My second daughter who is almost 21 now, was born on June 2, 1995. The reason I choose to write about her delivery is that out of my three children, her delivery was scary and very unusual.

I carried Kali full term, and I was almost two weeks late. I had a date set for being induced, which is her birthday. The night before I went into the hospital I was experiencing some labor pain, but it was not that bad. In the morning, we (my x-husband and I) went into the hospital and waited for the doctor to come and induce my labor. As mentioned before I was having some contractions, but nothing hard or consistent. The Doctor came in and broke my water, right away I felt the urge to push, and she was born twenty minutes later. It was a very quick labor, and it was scary because I was not ready for it to go so fast. With both my first and second children I was in labor for over a day. Twenty-one years ago, the room that you had was also a birthing room. I was able to keep her in the room with me. My oldest daughter who just gave birth in October of 2015 was actually in a birthing wing, then she and the baby were moved to the postnatal ward afterwards. Things have changed so much in over two decades!

I think that a birth of a child has a lot to do with a child’s development. Being in a room where I was able to bond with my daughter was a positive start, I was able to have my oldest daughter visit, as well as other family members as well. I think that having so much support was very helpful and created a safe and supportive environment to my child. Because her birth was so quick I was glad that I was in the hospital so that if anything had gone wrong, there would be professionals there that would be able to help me.

I came across an article about birth in South African among some of the indigenous tribes. As I read this article, I acquired some information about the differences in the meaning of birth and how culture can play a role in how children are born into this world. One of the tribes that was mentioned is the San Bushman people. They do not believe in the use of pain medication, and usually, a women will leave her home by herself to have her baby. If she is a first- time mother, she may have someone along who can help her. Many times younger girls of the tribe may watch another women give birth, so they know what to expect when it is their time. It is thought that after a women gives birth, she bites the umbilical cord, then buries the placenta before returning home.   This could be thought of as a belief of connecting the infant to their homelands.

While I am glad that I had the experience that I did with the birth of my daughter (and two other children), this is normal for the culture that I live in. If I lived in South Africa, the experience would have been different. I think that this is why the culture that we live in plays such a large role in prenatal development, and how birth is viewed. If a person from South Africa was reading about my birth experience, they might feel that it is strange and usual for them.

 

 

Birth in South Africa: Indigenous Traditions: http://www.spiritualbirth.net/birth-in-south-africa-indigenous-traditions