from the life of a teacher

Coping with stressors May 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 1:27 pm

Every society has its stressors. Children everywhere face challenges that can ultimately make or break them.  Growing up I watched my sister learn how to cope with her hearing impairment. At the age of two my parents noticed she was not responding to loud sounds like the clashing of pots and pans or soft sounds such as them quietly calling her name while standing behind her.  They soon found out she had 25 % hearing loss in each ear. Over the years she went on to losing up to 75% of hearing in each ear. The little she had left was later taken away from a condition called Meniere’s disease. Although my parents were told she would never make it in public schools they enrolled her anyways. My sister relied on the use of her hearing aids to pick up what little noise she was able to. We took sign language lessons, but stopped shortly after starting because she did not like the attention it brought her. Overtime she withdrew from all things social. She coped with her hearing loss by fully dedicating herself to academics and running. She taught herself how to read lips in order to communicate with others. She never hung out with friends. Instead she enjoyed being at home and being alone. She graduated 3rd in her senior class in high school and with honors in college. Although she is now teaching 3rd grade and married she still withdraws from social activities. Family holidays and get togethers often result in her not coming or her leaving shortly after arriving. Even at the age of 25 she is still learning how to cope with not being able to hear.

One of the organizations I have always been very interested in is called Invisible Children. I first learned about their mission to help the children in Uganda when I was a freshman in college. The children in Uganda are daily facing the stress of war and violence.  For over 23 years now children have been abducted by the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda. They have been forced into military training. They have been forced to watch other children be murdered, ordered to kill others, beaten, forced to drink urine, given to men as wives, and much more. Broekaert, Derluyn, Schuyten, & Temmerman (2004) shared a study that looked into the lives of former children solidiers. Within this study statistics were given to share how may of the soldiers had experienced some of the aforementioned conditions. They found that most of the children had substantial psychological problems after making it out of the conditions they were in. Sadly, they were also faced with little support from community because of the killings they committed to their own people while being forced to work for the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Broekaert, E., Derluyn, I., Schuyten, G., & Temmerman, E. (2004). Post-traumatic

stress in former Ugandan child soldiers. The Lancet, 363, 861-863.

The Invisible Children organization strives to raise awareness about the displaced children in Uganda. Even today children are still being abducted during the night and forced into military. Invisible Children are demanding changes starting here with out own government in the United States. Although the Ugandan Government is trying to stop this their efforts are falling short because of their own involvement in this war. I highly encourage you to visit to learn more about how you can help!  Click here to watch the video


The world and breast feeding May 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 4:05 am

Breast feeding is something I view as beautiful. Although I do not have my own children yet I am very aware of the special bond that occurs between a mother and her child. This bond is often strengthened through breast feeding. I have heard many mothers comment on how they felt closer to their baby when breast feeding and strongly missed that feeling after stopping breast feeding. This bond between mother and child is something that I look forward to having. Further, the positive attributes of breast feeding such as health for the baby and healing within the mothers body are other reasons I find this so meaningful.

Around the world breast feeding has seemed to be on the decline. There are numerous factors for this. Two primary reasons seems to be  the lack of support for breast feeding mothers  and mothers returning to the workplace.

In America research shows that most women attempt breast feeding but do not continue as the baby reaches 3, 6, and 12 months. Researchers feel that mothers do not have the needed support during this time leading to a decline in breast feeding as the child grows.  Statistics show that 43% of mothers are breast feeding their child at  months, 22.4% at 12 months. The percent of mothers exclusively breast feeding their baby at 3 months is 33% and at 6 months only 13.3%.

In parts of east and southern Africa 42% of mothers were still exclusively breast feeding their 6 month old.  In parts of west and central Africa only 22% were exclusively breast feeding their 6 month old. In North Africa only 29% of mothers were exclusively breast feeding their 6 month old

Cambodia, Peru, and Sir Lanka have the highest percentage of exclusively breast feeding mothers at or under 6 months of age out of 19 developing countries. This chart below shows that Sir Lanka leads with 76% of mothers exclusively breast feeding their child up to 6 months of age.

I have chosen to look closely at three culture groups of women and their breast feeding practices. These culture groups include Turkish, Vietnamese, and Australian. A study was conducted to compare breast feeding practices of these three groups. The following results were found.

98% of Turkish women were found to breast feed their newborn child during the first few days after birth. 60%  of Vietnamese women were found to breast feed their newborn child during the first few days after birth. 40% of Vietnamese women actually fed their newborn child formula. 81% of Australian women were found to breast feed their newborn child during the first few days after birth.

Turkish women often shared that their partner wanted and encouraged them to breast feed. However the older their newborn got breastfeeding began to decline. These decline was found to occur because of the lack of support within the mothers work place for breast feeding.

It was found that Vietnamese culture did not share the same beliefs of health benefits from breast feeding. Vietnamese women commonly feed their newborn babies rice water until the colostrum is gone. Around day three most Vietnamese women would begin breast feeding. It is though that the negative view of colostrum is what has led to the low breast feeding rate for the Vietnamese culture.

Australian women held the same belief in the importance of the colostrum which helped to lead to higher breast feeding rates than the Vietnamese women.

Through all of these results it appears that the biggest reason for women of different cultures to stop breast feeding is for the lack of support the women receive. These findings has encouraged me to look into support groups for breast feeding mothers. In America women do value the colostrum. Thus it seems the leading cause in the decline of breast feeding is support. I feel the urge to remember this when I do have my own child. Support is out that even if it means you have to reach out and find it. I hope to find resources that do act as support that I can pass on to breast feeding mothers!


Beauty in Birth May 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — amaliskas1234 @ 10:04 pm

Three weeks ago I got the opportunity to welcome baby Micah into the world. Just minutes before he was born I was sitting in the labor and delivery room with his mother ( Shana, a dear friend of mine). We were all excited about his arrival. After a knock at the door the doctor (who had just arrived on shift) came in to make a decision for Shana to undergo a C-section due to time and process being made. After he left tears began to roll down her cheeks as she nervously kissed her 3 year old son Jude and held her husbands hand. After a brief moment of prayer my husband and I left the room with Jude as they began prepping her for surgery. Half an hour later we were able to walk up to the nursery to see baby Micah. It was my first time ever seeing a baby minutes after being born. Tears of joy were shed by family members as cameras flashed time and time again. It was in that moment that I was overcome with awe. As I looked at sweet Micah I realized – He was the sweet baby hidden inside Shana’s tummy just moments ago. It was his sweet kick I felt when his proud mother was excited to share his movement.  It was him that was growing inside of her. Seeing him and thinking about him being in her blows my mind. There are so many miracles related to birth.   I think this is a memory that will always stay with me and will become even more beautiful with the birth of my own children one day.

There are also so many factors related to birth that can later influence development. I am a worrier. I worry over almost anything. I already know I will struggle with this when I am pregnant. In Chapter 4 of The Developing Person Table 4.4  acknowledges the effects certain teratogens have on the fetus. One that caught my eye was that of stress. High stress levels can result in birth defects such as a cleft lip or pilot or even preterm labor. I know right away I have to find ways to deal with stress. I cannot allow myself to become overwhelmed easily. Also in the chapter it discusses how a mothers anxiety level can result in a higher heart rate for her unborn baby. This amazes me. There are so many aspects of birth that I was unaware of and I look forward to learning more about.  There are factors that occur before and after birth that can influence development. The care the baby gets within the womb can significantly influence development. Likewise, the care the baby receives after birth significantly influences development.

Istanbul, Turkey is a place close to my heart. My husband and I have traveled there and have fallen in love with the country and people. I was very interested to learn about the birthing practices in Turkey. I was aware that many women use the help of a midwife for delivery. Over the last few years births within hospitals has become more popular with the development of more medical schools in the area. It did surprise me to learn that their are very few Turkish anesthesiologists that are able to apply epidurals. Thus – most women decide to have c-sections with general anesthesia because of the lack of epidurals offered for vaginal births.  Further, Turkey has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Europe. This really surprised me for a number of reasons. 1. I had always heard wonderful things about the doctors in Turkey. 2. C-sections are not always welcomed here in the U.S.The thought of not having an epidural available is mind-blowing here in the U.S. Through this research I have realized how good we have it here in the U.S. Although I have always understood we are blessed – it became more real to me when realizing that not everywhere has the medical advances the United States does. I think this is often pushed aside in my own head. I am very thankful for the medical advances the U.S has and I am even more intrigued to find out how women in other countries give birth.