Letting Go

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The metaphors of life can sometimes be seen in the most mundane occurrences. But actually they’re not mundane, they’re significant beyond measure and can serve as our greatest teachers. A few days ago, I bought a replacement for our old trash can – a body of stainless steel that had served me well for year, but as the years wore on, the trash can became problematic. Its heavy D batteries kept falling out and we found ourselves constantly putting the batteries back in, then taping it with duct tape. Although I loved that trash can, it no longer served its purpose and so it was time to go. I purchased a newer model that was taller, used a smaller battery and performed its function more efficiently.

Yesterday my family returned home from a school meeting and it was a gorgeous evening. Even my youngest commented on the perfect weather.  We just hung out in the driveway looking up at the magnificent sky with its billowing gray clouds. My oldest son had a balloon and I asked if I could release it to the sky. I felt this tremendous urge to release something emotionally and physically. He said yes and we both watched that yellow balloon ascend into the sky to the point where it completely disappeared. My son asked did I think the balloon went into space. I said I didn’t know. It might even have gone to Heaven. We both smiled as we stood in the driveway for another minute before entering our home – a perfect mother-son moment.

And my old trash can?  It quickly disappeared. Someone saw its value and removed it from our yard before the trash collectors ever came.

I learned long ago, never be afraid to let something go, especially when it no longer serves you well. When you release something old, you create space for something new and most often — it’s  even better.

Have you ever let something go that was once valuable? Please share your thoughts or send me a comment.

The Founder of Lamaze Says Farewell

Courtesy of the New York Times

Courtesy of the New York Times

Elisabeth Bing is gone — but oh what a legacy she left!

100-year-old Bing died on Friday, May 15th in her Manhattan home according to the New York Times. While her name might not be familiar to some, any woman who used the Lamaze technique during childbirth should thank her profusely.

Bing was born in Germany but fled with her family to London during World War II. She eventually came to the U.S. and worked as a physical therapist. Part of her job was to provide physical therapy to mothers in the maternity ward who spent ten days confined to a hospital bed after delivering a baby. Bing witnessed women in cold hospital rooms, strapped on their backs heavily sedated with anesthesia attempting to deliver babies.

The Lamaze technique was actually created by a French obstetrician named Dr. Fernand Lamaze during the 1940’s, but it was Bing who brought the technique to light. Dr. Lamaze had observed Russians use the method out of necessity because poverty prevented the use of anesthesia.  Their technique emphasized childbirth education and breathing relaxation. Lamaze began using it during his clinical practice.

Bing wanted to teach Dr. Lamaze’s method to pregnant women and eventually collaborated with Dr. Allan Guttmacher, a New York obstetrician at Mt Sinai Hospital. She eventually, along with co-founder Marjorie Karmel, started Lamaze International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to teach the Lamaze technique as well as childbirth classes to clear up the mystique regarding the birth process. Bing continued to teach the Lamaze technique at Mt Sinai Hospital well into her 80’s.

Bing leaves to mourn a son who was a college professor and a granddaughter who played the cello like her grandmother.  She was an example of a life well-lived and leaves a legacy that will last forever.

 

Do Cell Phone Use During Pregnancy Affect Future Behavioral Problems in Our Children?

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Cell phone use has always been controversial, especially in light of the untimely deaths of CEO Reginald F Lewis of Beatrice Foods, Inc and legal-eagle Johnny Cochrane. Lewis died of a brain hemorrhage at age 50 in 1993 and Cochrane died of brain cancer in 2005. The unexpected deaths of both man were shocking and rumored to have been associated with cell phone use although never proven.

Wireless technology poses interesting challenges for all of us, but particularly pregnant women. A recent small study out of New York City suggests that repeated use of cell phones can startle unborn babies and interrupt their sleep patterns but the researchers don’t know if this is significant.  Dr. Boris Petrikovsky, head of the Maternal Fetal Center at Wycoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York tested pregnant female resident physicians to determine whether the use of cell phones and beepers were affected their pregnancies. Petrikovsky concluded that the babies “were not happy campers” when their sleep is interrupted.

If unborn babies are anything like children and adults, the lack of sleep can have dire consequences according to experts and celebrities such as Arianna Huffington whose sleep deprivation caused a personal injury. Huffington wrote a book up the incident and offers a course called Thrive in association with Oprah Winfrey.

Aside from sleep deprivation, do cell phones cause any other problems for unborn babies? Dr. High Taylor, Chair of the Ob-Gyn Department at Yale University says yes, there’s a possible association between excessive cell phone use and hyperactivity of mice in his previous research study. He thinks that if mice are hyperactive after excessive cell phone use, children might be as well. He also associates behavioral problems with excessive cell phone use.

So, what’s a mother to do? Here are some tips based on current research:

  • Don’t keep your cell phone near your pregnant belly
  • Limit your time on the cell phone.
  • Use a “safe headset” such as a “Blue Tube” (not Blue Tooth).
  • Get on the mailing list of the “The Baby Safe Project” where you can receive updated information regarding this very important topic

Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.