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Apr 4 2013

Interview with Interesting Jews: Rachel Zaslow of Mother Health International

By at 11:35 am

rachel zaslow mother health internationalRachel Zaslow is a midwife and Executive Director of Mother Health International, an NGO that supports high volume midwifery model of care centers in areas of extreme need. We talked with her about MHI, how a rabbi’s daughter ended up delivering babies in Uganda, and how midwifery has impacted her own child-rearing. Below the interview, learn how you can help MHI fund a new ambulance for their Uganda clinic.

1. How did a girl from Brooklyn end up delivering babies in Uganda?

It’s a long and twisty narrative, but the short version is that I was invited to come to Northern Uganda almost seven years ago to volunteer in a government-funded hospital, just as the war was ending. What I witnessed there was devastating. The hospital was functioning at what the WHO estimated to be over 10 times its capacity. Formerly abducted women were turned away in labor or sent to walk home minutes after giving birth, with a great likelihood of bleeding to death on the road home. Because the hospital was so busy, women who were admitted to the labor ward were often treated violently by the staff midwives for not pushing fast enough or failing to bring their own piece of plastic to give birth on. These conditions made for a traumatic and dangerous place to give birth in an area that has been ravaged by war. I founded the birth center in Uganda with a group of 30 traditional midwives and my partner midwife, Olivia Kimball, the next year.   Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 7 2013

The Pains of Parenting with Arthritis

By at 9:35 am

arthritis handsTwo weeks after my second son was born, I woke up one morning with swollen wrists that were too stiff and painful to hold my baby. Using my forearms, I handed our son to my husband and whispered, “It’s back.”

It, in this case, was arthritis that had plagued me since before I hit puberty. Brought on by a virus? Possibly tied to that horrific case of the chicken pox I had in sixth grade? Or maybe passed down from an elderly aunt? All the doctors had different opinions. I just wanted to get through my ballet classes in one piece, and maybe work on my tennis game.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 14 2013

News Roundup: Yoga at School & Creative Bribery

By at 3:59 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

- Some parents whose kids have yoga programs at school are pulling their kids out of those classes because they don’t want their children to become Hindus. (NPR)

- You’ve probably been told not to bribe your kid, but you probably do it anyway. Is creative bribery the answer? (NY Times)

- Jessica Grose offers a new plan for maternity leave. Give more of it (duh) and allow parents to take it anytime during the first year of the child’s life. (Slate)

- A surprising number of families are trying complementary and alternative medicine on their kids’ medical conditions before taking the children to a doctor, and many aren’t telling the doctors about the other treatments they’re trying. Not shockingly, this is not a good way of doing things. (TIME)

Jan 10 2013

Mixed Marriages–Vegetarian & Carnivore Edition

By at 12:09 pm

We all know studies have shown that married couples who share religious beliefs, practices, and values have an easier time maintaining a successful relationship. What about food values? This also matters.

First it’s just about the two of you. Then you have kids. That united front every child development expert will tell you to present, should probably include food. That has proven easier said than done in my house. I think we’ve become experts at the art of compromise. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2012

Coming to Terms With My Son’s Allergies

By at 2:37 pm

When my son was 10 months old, we started giving him some of the foods that you normally test with a baby.

Many of them went well; egg did not. He threw up and broke out into hives. In subsequent weeks, as we were trying other foods, he developed rashes and had other strange reactions. As we were a few short weeks from a big international trip, we insisted that the doctors run a blood test so we could see what his other allergies were before we left. We had no idea that we would find out that he was off-the-charts allergic to peanuts. We were given Epi-pens before we left on our trip. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 20 2012

My Husband Is Fat—And I’m Not Happy About It

By at 12:46 pm
alina adams my husband is fat

My husband at his heaviest.

I read Yael Armstrong’s piece, “I’m Not Going To Make My Kids Weight Crazy,” with great interest, as weight is a frequent topic of conversation in our house.

Not my weight. I’ve never had much interest in my weight. Due to a variety of chronic problems and food intolerances, I grew up a skinny kid whom every Jewish grandmother was constantly trying to fatten up. As I got older, I never even owned a scale. The only relationship I had with eating was, does this make me feel sick, or does this not make me feel sick? I stick to a pretty strict diet for health reasons, but it’s not a hardship as early conditioning has made it so I recoil from most foods. (Yes, stand-up comedians, I am that very special brand of stupid that I sometimes forget to eat. The only time I ever felt hungry was the three times I was pregnant, and the new sensation took me by surprise every single time.)  Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 12 2012

My 1-Month-Old’s Emergency Surgery

By at 9:56 am

Three weeks after Jared was born, he started spitting up. At first it was normal baby barf, but it became heavier and more frequent.

By his 4-week birthday, Scott and I were living out of the washing machine. We left it full of soap and water, dumping soiled onesies, footies, burp cloths, bibs, and our own vomit-soaked clothes into it throughout the day. We ran the washer at night and as we needed new clothes for ourselves or our son, we pulled them out of the dryer. At the height of the worst, Scott changed Jared’s clothes five times in one hour. The footies were soaked from head to toe and front to back. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 15 2012

News Roundup: New Studies on ADHD, Autism, and CT Scans

By at 12:56 pm

All the Jewish parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.

are you my mother? book cover

Part of the Kindergarten Canon.

- Education Analyst (and father) Michael Petrilli has developed a list of 100 books he feels every English-speaking child should read. (Thomas B. Fordham Institute)

- A new study by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows that the development of ADHD in children may be linked to how much mercury-rich fish the child’s mother ate during her pregnancy. (Reuters)

- The Upper East Side is home to a great “breastfeeding resource,” Yummy Mummy, which caters to moms of every sort, and offers prenatal breastfeeding classes to locals. (New York Times)

- Children with autism may wander away from home more frequently than was once believed, according to a new study, which says that about half of those children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will run away from home, and of those, at least half are missing long enough to raise serious concern. (ABC News)

- A significant increase in the number of children given CT scans when brought to a hospital is raising a red flag for some who believe such tests may increase the risk of cancer later in life. (Reuters)

Sep 24 2012

Rethinking Who Shall Live & Who Shall Die

By at 12:30 pm

breast cancer ribbonIn 2006, my 35-year-old stepbrother was diagnosed with advanced metastatic prostate cancer. Jeremy faced his disease with tremendous grace and humor.

He died less than two years later.

His death was devastating for me. Although we had different biological parents, we became brother and sister when we were both just 2 years old. Only three months separated us, and some of my fondest childhood memories involve our make believe games and mischief together. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 14 2012

The Importance of a Good Pediatrician

By at 4:30 pm

pediatrician I just learned that Dr. B., the pediatrician who took care of my children, died in January.

He was the senior partner in a four man group when I first walked into the office with my 8-month-old daughter, my first child, after we had moved from Manhattan to Queens. Although Dr. B. was very reserved, he was an excellent doctor who gave me good support and advice as I raised four kids, and he saw us through many an illness. I made my check-up appointments with him and would wait for him to see my kid when I came to the office for a “sick visit” instead of being randomly assigned to another doctor. I also liked Dr. N., who became our primary pediatrician after Dr. B. left the practice to retire out West.

Read the rest of this entry →

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