Relationships

Mamas on Bedrest: Why it’s critical that WE celebrate fathers

June 17th, 2015

Hello Mamas,

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 21st. How are you planning to celebrate the very special man in you and your baby’s life?

Perhaps you are thinking,

“My baby’s father isn’t in our lives!”

I hear you. I am no longer with my children’s father, yet he is an important part of their lives-and mine as we are co-parenting them. But if you have remarried, or there is a “father figure” in your child’s life who has stepped up and stepped in and is fulfilling the role and duties of father, I invite you to celebrate that man this Sunday (and everyday!!)

I know that this website is Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond, and the whole focus is to provide you with the tools and support that you need to have a fantastic pregnancy and a healthy baby. But I would be remiss, and some may even go so far as to say that my actions would be unethical, if I didn’t highlight the important role of fathers-biologic and otherwise-in the lives of birthing women and their babies.

So let’s start with mamas. Fathers/partners provide emotional support throughout the pregnancy. Yeah, sometimes they just don’t get us, but hey, there are times when we don’t get us either! Those who are present are taken on the rollercoaster ride that is pregnancy; full of ups, downs, mood swings, close calls and the joys of labor, delivery and-the baby! As overwhelming as childbearing is for us, imaging how colossal it must be for men?  They have to watch the woman that they love (hopefully) grow, change, be uncomfortable (often times sick!!), be on bed rest, endure the endless tests and treatments and then the grand finale-labor and delivery (or a c-section, major surgery) and be able to do very little to make the situation better for her. For many guys, this is this side of insanity! Guys inherently want to fix things and when it comes to childbearing, after insemination, there really isn’t much for them to do but watch and wait. And yes, for some men, this is too much and they leave. So kudos to those who stay, stick it out and hang in when the going is tough and are a solid rock for their women to lean on and rest upon.

The influence of a father, a daddy (a man who provides more than mere sperm donation!) in the lives of children is priceless. According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse, 

“When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior.”

In 2006, Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox, PhD co-authored a manual on fatherhood through the US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration for Children and Families,  the Administration on Children, Youth and Families and the Children’s Bureau Office on Child Abuse and Neglect called, “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children.” In this publication Rosenberg and Wilcox note that children raised by loving, married parents learn how a man is to treat a woman in the context of a healthy relationship. They also note that even when the parents aren’t married and don’t live together, children who see their fathers speaking to and treating their mothers with respect and courtesy learn that men are supposed to treat women with respect and courtesy (boys) and they learn that behavior that is not respectful and courteous is not acceptable (girls). In summary, Rosenberg and Wilcox found the following characteristics in children who had active fathers in their lives (regardless of the parental relationships)

  • Children with involved, caring fathers have better education outcomes that start in preschool and continue throughout their school careers.
  • Children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school, or in the neighborhood.
  • Fathers spend a much higher percentage of their one-on-one interaction with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. As such, children whose fathers engage in rough housing are more likely to learn to cope with aggressive behaviors and learn its okay to strike out and explore without being anxious.
  • Children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie and were more likely to exhibit pro-social behavior.
  • Boys with involved fathers had fewer school behavior problems
  • Girls had stronger self­ esteem.
  • Children who live with their fathers are more likely to have good physical and emotional health, to achieve academically, and to avoid drugs, violence, and delinquent behavior.

What this study also found and what was also confirmed by a study done by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is that lower income fathers are no less involved in their children’s lives than higher earning dads. In fact, many lower income fathers are more “hands on” with their children, especially those who didn’t live with their children all the time; caring for their children on weekends and for other extended periods of time and providing all the care and nurturing that mothers provide in addition to financial support.

I think that fathers are the unsung heroes of families. Yes, we mamas do much to keep that family moving and shaking, but a good dad really holds the family together. So this Sunday, do a little something special for the dads in you and your children’s lives. And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!!

 

 

Dad and Me

Me and My Dad, circa 1968.

 

References

The National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2006). “The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children”. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. Written By Jeffrey Rosenberg and W. Bradford Wilcox, PhD.

20 Reasons Why Your Child Needs You to Be an Active Father Prepared by Stephen D. Green, Ph.D., Child Development Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, October 2000.

The Effects of Father Involvement: An Updated Research Summary of the Evidence Sarah Allen, PhD and Kerry Daly, PhD. Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being, University of Guelph 2007

Mamas on Bedrest: Plan a “BabyMoon”

June 16th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

OMIgarden-bedI am always so thrilled to get an e-mail that has a beautiful cherubic face of a newborn from a Mama on Bedrest. You mamas (and dads) rock! But with all that you have gone through with your pregnancy, labor and delivery, have you ever considered taking a little post partum vacation? They are called “BabyMoons”. But we all know that such a “pre-baby” vacation is impossible for Mamas on Bedrest. So I called representative for the California Association of Boutique Bed and Breakfast Inns and asked, “Well, do you offer similiar packages for new mamas and dads which will accommodate newborns? The answer, a resounding YES!

Now to be fair, the term “BabyMoon” actually refers to a vacation an expecting couple takes before the birth of their wee one. Coined by the California Association of Boutique Bed and Breakfast Inns, BabyMoons are designed to provide (one last) escape for expecting couples before the baby arrives. The destinations offer couples’ massages by prenatal-certified massage therapists (for mamas) and an array of “babymoon” package indulgences.

Mamas, these places are spectacular!!! Dotted along the California coast, they span from Sonoma all the way down to San Diego! The inns are the height of luxury and just what weary “Former” Mamas on Bedrest and The Dads who love them need after months on bed rest. Imagine beautiful accommodations overlooking the ocean. Firepits to sit by and watch the sunset. Massages by certified perinatal massage therapists to soothe and smoothe all those aches and pains from the weeks on bed rest. Sumptuous meals and a calming atmosphere are just what Mamas and Dads need-in addition to relaxing time to bond with their little one.

Participating properties are listed below with links to the sites with descriptions and pricing. I truly hope that some of you have the opportunity to relax in such luxury after all you have done to birth your little ones!

TimberCoveInn-FirepitTimber Cove Inn (Baby Moon Retreat is the Second Special listed)

Mount View Hotel & Spa (Oh Baby! BabyMoon for 2 is the last special listed)

Carmel Country Inn

Elk Cove Inn & Spa

Old Monterey Inn (BabyMoon Getaway is fourth special down)

1906 Lodge at Coronado Beach

Tradewinds Carmel
Does this type of post partum vacation appeal to you? share your thoughts in the comments section below. I wanted to know more about these getaways, so I have put in a request for an interview. We’ll podcast as soon as there is a response and acceptance!

 

Mamas: Support for Dads During Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery

June 13th, 2014

Greetings Mamas!

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This dad was all in for the birth of his child! Photo courtesy of Photographer Kelsi Scheel, Grace Ray Photography. See this photo and the story behind it in From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide To Surviving Bedrest

Father’s Day is upon us! Have you spoken with your partner about his feelings on being present at the birth of his child? On becoming a dad? I ask this question in light of this post on one of my birth providers chat lists: (Paraphrasing to protect privacy!)

Have any of you ever had this happen:  You connected wonderfully with the momma and the energy between you two was phenomenal, yet you weren’t able to click with their partner? I feel a very awkward energy with the dad, even though the momma said that he is pretty much on board with my presence and role in the birth and is glad I’ll be there. He doesn’t attend prenatal visits and hasn’t really seemed interested in the pregnancy or my services. I’m not sure if he is avoiding me or if there is something deeper. Thoughts?

Ladies, there are a few things to consider here.

First, let’s face it. Even those of us facing our first pregnancy, completely in the dark about what is going to happen, we are lightyears ahead of our male partners (unless they are obstetricians!)! We are “accustomed” to “the weirdness of womanhood” and all that entails (i.e. menstrual cycles, feminine products, bras, make up, concealers, body shapers, hair extensions, etc…) So yeah, a high risk pregnancy with bed rest is just one more adjustment we’ll make. We will do like we always do-make the necessary shifts and accommodations and make it happen! Men don’t accommodate as easily or as readily to change as we do. So we have to be patient as they “catch up” to us.

Second, the idea of actually being present during childbirth totally skeeves some men out! Oh yeah, they are all about “gettin’ with us in the moment” but getting down and dirty with something (actually someone) coming out of their “pleasure palace” really messes with some men’s minds. In hindsight, I really pushed for my then husband to be present at my daughter’s birth. And when she came out not breathing and then I hemorrhage, it nearly took him out! I should have listened when he told me he wasn’t up for being in the delivery room and chosen another, more capable childbirth support and advocate. Ladies, some men are not up for childbirth. It doesn’t mean that they don’t love us or support us, they just can’t be present at such a raw, visceral event. We must hear them and respect their limitations. (FYI I had my sister come in with me when I had my son. Much better experience!!!)

So Mamas, Find out where your man is on the spectrum. Is he all in, ready to be of utmost assistance? Is he totally freaked out and secretely signing up to become a merchant marine? Or is he somewhere in between and really just needs to process all that is happening and about to happen to someone he loves dearly, and is petrified that he has caused to have to go through unspeakable pain?

Ladies, do we ever really ask our guys what they think about what we are going through? In our book, From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest, One dad shared poignantly about his experience when his wife went on hospital bed rest saying, “It felt like she had died and suddenly I had all this responsibility heaped on me.” It is so easy to get caught up in what we are going through; after all, we are the ones who are growing and changing and we are the ones who are enduring the brunt of this experience. But you and your partner are a team and he is going through this experience, too. And many men don’t say anything because they feel like they have no right to “complain” given all that we are going through. I want to reiterate, you and your partner are a team! This pregnancy isn’t just happening to you, but also your partner and any children you already have. Everyone’s thoughts and feelings need to be considered and attended to so that everyone’s needs are met and the wee one you are carrying will come into a cohesive, loving family.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! We love you and thank you for your love and support! We’d love to hear from you. Share your experience regarding your wife’s pregnancy and bed rest, labor and deliver (if applicable) in our comments section below.

Get your copy of From Mamas to Mamas: The Essential Guide to Surviving Bedrest Today!