Blog Archives

How Childhood Sexual Abuse Affects Pregnancy and Birth

January 21, 2014

penny simkin, phyllis klaus, DONA founders, book by penny simkin, sexual assault survivors, birth and child abuse, pregnancy and child abuse, sexual abuseThe important and powerful work of Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus on how childhood sexual abuse affects pregnancy and childbirth has shined a light on this dark topic. These incredible women (both founders of DONA International) have raised their voices as well as awareness and understanding around this issue.

The book When Survivors Give Birth is directed at survivors, their families, doctors, midwives, nurses, medical staff and other birth professionals like childbirth educators and doulas, to educate on how childhood sexual abuse affects pregnancy and birth.

Survivors can benefit from the information throughout, but particularly with Chapter 9, called “Self-Help Methods to Prevent and Manage Distress During Childbirth.” The chapter opens with this: “Anxiety, fright, panic, uncertainty, helplessness, inability to act, and distrust can catch the survivor unaware and throw her into distress and despair. Other people perceive her reactions as inappropriate and exaggerated. This chapter offers a variety of self-help techniques to recognize and allay these automatic reactions, or to prevent them in the first place.”

Whether or not a mom discloses any prior abuse to providers, doulas, midwives or anyone in her birthing circle, birth professionals must be prepared and sensitive to the challenges survivors face in pregnancy and birth. Click here for a video of Penny talking about When Survivors Give Birth.

Estimates are that between one in four and one in three women have a history of childhood sexual abuse. This number is likely higher as childhood sexual assault is under reported.

Great Books For Kids

November 20, 2013

great books for kids, dual language books, plays for kids, teaching kindness to kids, golden rule for kids, christmas gift books for kids, kids books, new kids books, new childrens booksAs a blogger, I’m often asked to review products, websites, articles and books. I am particular about what I say yes to and only post things I can honestly recommend.

Here are some great books for kids that I want to share with you just in time for holiday giving. Full disclosure: I received complimentary review copies of these books.

 

Fife’s Lessons: The Tao of Cool

By Rob DegnanIllustrated by Jason Robert LeClair
FifesLessons.com

tao of cool, rob degnan, fife, book about kindness, book about acceptance, third grader book, teaching kids kindness, lessons for kidsThird grader, Fife is cool, her parents are cool, but what happens when a new kid moves to town and is left out and made to feel, well, uncool.

Fife struggles with issues of fitting in, acceptance and ultimately learns the greatest lesson in kindness. The story guides readers to learn these lessons along with Fife, and some unspoken ones, too. More subtle lessons presented are how we never know what’s really going on in another person’s heart and head and how we all have strengths and weaknesses.

Fife learns that working together with someone who excels in different ways than she does can bring success and that a friendship can grow when one opens their mind and heart to another person. Fife’s Lessons are just as important for adults as they are for kiddos! Welcome Fife and her friends into your home.

How to Support your Child Through Divorce

September 25, 2013

Guest post by Fiona McGlynn

how to support your child through divorce, helping kids through divorce, tips for divorce, divorce books for kidsDivorce can be a very confusing and emotionally fraught time for kids and parents alike. Based on my experience as an adult child of divorce, here are 5 ways to support your child through divorce.

Organizing Kid’s Artwork

September 19, 2013

organizing kids artwork, still life pastel, vase of flowers in pastels, kids pastels, how to save kids artAs we start the new school year, how will you manage organizing kid’s artwork projects and the heaps of paintings, drawings and craft creations? Whether you have a preschooler’s colorful stick figures or a teen’s 3-D science presentation, here’s a solution that I love!

Many years ago, before I was in the digital mode for photography, and pre-smart phones, I read about an idea that stuck with me: take pictures of your children’s artwork and then assemble a book of the pictures. I’ve only done this for the last four school years, but with everything electronic now, it’s a task that’s quite easy, with a little organization. (So why haven’t I started last school year’s book yet?)

When I do start it (writing this is motivating me to get to it) I use and really like Shutterfly. (You can click the link on the sidebar to go directly to Shutterfly). I am comfortable with their tools and products, they offer frequent discounts on photo books and their customer service has been exceptionally responsive when I’ve had any questions. There are other options out there (iPhoto, Tiny Prints, Snapfish, Mixbook, Lulu) for you to peruse.

When a kiddo comes home with a Groundhog Day hat, I put it on their head and take a picture, then throw away the hat. When the paints come out and the creativity flows into stacks of masterpieces, I snap a shot of each one, and toss them.mermaid painting, mermaid art, drawing mermaids, kids art tips, art books, photo books for artwork, ariel painting, how to organize kids art

Favorite Books For Book Clubs

July 12, 2013

favorite books for book clubs, book club recommendations, what to read this summer, best books for book discussion, suggestions for book clubsI love to read so I’m happy to share with you some of my favorite books. It’s nearly impossible for me to give a limited list because there are so many books I call my favorites, but I’m going to name some top reads.

Right now, I’m in four book clubs, two women’s groups and two mother-daughter book clubs, one with each of my girls. Shout out to my book clubs: the Panera Book Club (we close our local Panera once a month as we’re deep in chatter) and Reading Between the Wines.

Squeezing in the time to read can be difficult with our busy schedules but it’s something I value and love, so I make the time. The deadlines of book clubs are the perfect thing to keep me going and to compel me to do something I care about.

Here is a list of some of my most favorite books in no particular order. Well, they may in fact be in the order of what I’ve read most recently first since that’s how my memory seems to fare best. Images and links to all of my book recommendations are at the end of this post.

All of these are terrific for book club reads and rich discussion. Please, take a moment to share some of your favorite books in the comments – perhaps you agree or disagree with some on my list!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Teen

May 10, 2013

sarah cynthia sylvia teen, sarah cynthia sylvia  stout, shel silverstein, shel silverstein drawing, shel silverstein death date, bio of shel silverstein, poems by shel silverstein Today marks the 14th anniversary of Shel Silverstein’s death (September 25, 1930 – May 10, 1999).

I grew up treasuring my “Where the Sidewalk” ends book and I wrote poems inspired by his style and quirky subjects. I wrote about shaving cream, making friends with seaweed and other questionable poems as I emulated the master poet and artist. Read a biography of Shel Silverstein here.

I’ve read these poems to my children for over a decade, they’ve been the center of school poetry projects and my old “Where the Sidewalk Ends” book has been well loved; the book jacket tinged yellow at its edges.

One of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems has always been “Sarah Cythia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out.” (I also love the the King and his Peanut-Butter Sandwich, the Magical Eraser and my kids crack up at the Invisible Boy and Warning – the one about the snail in the nose.)

Since this poem rattles around in my head from time to time, in my frustration at my daughter’s messy bedroom, I began composing this poem. It’s based on my beloved Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout and here I present it in celebration of Shel Silverstein’s life.

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

May 8, 2013

the beauty of humanity movement, camilla gibbs, vietnamese art, read across rhode island 2013 book, rhode island center for the book, reading across ri,I was so moved by The Beauty of Humanity Movement and it’s author, Camilla Gibb.

As I got onto Amazon months ago to purchase this year’s Reading Across Rhode Island book selection, I gasped aloud as I saw the cover image. Artwork of a Vietnamese woman standing in a boat peered out at me.

I attended the May 3rd breakfast with some members of my book club, Reading Between the Wines, and I brought my Mom.

Last year, my mother and I spent an amazing 20 days in Vietnam and it is a place that is now a part of me. Wherever I go, I hold that place dear and take a piece of it with me, but there is something different about Vietnam. Some stronger hold that country has held on me. It felt like serendipity that this year’s book was about Vietnam – I couldn’t wait to read it.

As I savored this story and its rich imagery, the tastes and smells of Hanoi pulled me back to the other side of the world. I craved a bowl of pho and felt a special connection to the characters and even to the author. I was intrigued to learn her story and how she came to write about Vietnam since she is Canadian. It seemed that Vietnam had captured her spirit as it had mine.

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