Archive | September, 2013

Testimonial from Regina

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Testimonial from Regina

Posted on 18 September 2013 by Kristrun

I just wanted to let you know how supportive the staff at Annerley have been during my pregnancy & now in caring for my daughter. When I moved to Hong Kong, I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was a bit daunting to be pregnant in a foreign country where I wasn’t familiar with the medical system and had limited social support. From the start, through Belly to Belly Workshops and antenatal classes, the staff at Annerley provided me with opportunities to learn about the maternity system in Hong Kong, gave me the tools hlep me to advocate for myself within the system, and provided me with all the information I needed for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. In working with Sofie during Belly to Belly workshops, one to one meetings, and the positioning class, I had a very fast labor and was able to have the non medicalized, drug-free birth I wanted. Given my history as brain tumor survivor, it would have been easy for the highly medicalized physicians in Hong Kong to convince me that I needed a scheduled c-section. However, the staff at Annerley taught me what questions to ask the physicians, how to express my wishes, and how I would know if and when medical interventions would be necessary. It was very useful when Sofie taught me about the importance of posture during pregnancy to help with the baby’s position. I was thrilled with my labor and birth, being able to labor in the different positions Sofie taught and even deliver standing up.
The midwife visits after returning home from the hospital with my daughter helped my husband and me feel more comfortable caring for our daughter and more confident in our parenting. The night we arrived home, my daughter was having some difficulty eating and it was very comforting to know that Rowena would be visiting the next morning to help sort us out. During those early weeks, having Rowena and Conchita visit helped us get through difficult days and nights. Breastfeeding was difficult for me due to my medical history and without the support of Annerley and the visiting midwives, I would not have been able to breastfeed at all. With proper planning before my daughter’s birth and support afterwards, I was able to provide breast milk to my daughter for 10 weeks. While that might seem like a short time for many mothers, for me, it was a major accomplishment. During those 10 weeks, when things got difficult & I wasn’t sure I could continue, support from Conchita helped very much. Her family centered and strengths based approach helped me to think through what the goal was for me, my baby and my family and what was going to make for a happy mom and happy baby, without any pressure to continue breastfeeding. Since giving birth, I have come to clinic, had home visits, and one to one meetings with Conchita. I appreciate that I can ask any parenting, childcare or medical question, no matter how big or small. And unlike visits with pediatricians, Conchita focuses on our entire family’s wellness and happiness, not just our baby’s. It is very comforting to know that Conchita and the staff at Annerley are available through all the stages of my daughters development. I am looking forward to discussing the next milestone with Conchita, starting solids. Conchita has been able to provide the medical support and emotional support that all new parents need.
My helper took Conchita’s course, “Caring for 0-12 month old babies” in the spring. My helper has over 20 years raising Western children but my husband and I felt strongly that she take a course from the same professionals who were teaching our antenatal and childcare classes. When my helper came home from the course each day, she was energized and shared with me the different things that she learned. It was fantastic that Conchita taught her new things and sent her home with “homework assignments”. It encouraged her to have conversations with me about what she was learning. Some of the highlights for both of us included baby proofing the house, how to encourage language development, and starting solids. It was wonderful that Conchita could make this information exciting to such a seasoned child care provider. Additionally, Conchita stressed to helpers in the class the importance of communication with employers. This ended up being a helpful reinforcement for both my helper and myself when after the baby arrived we realized we needed to communicate differently than we had before. I would highly recommend the course to all helpers who will be working with infants regardless of how much experience they have.
The services at Annerley fill the gap many of us feel without local family and give new parents the opportunity to get support on childcare and parenting, which is something the medical system does not routinely provide.
Thank you for all that you do,

Regina Karchner September 2013

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Learning to let go – Trusting your helper

Posted on 12 September 2013 by Kristrun

We want to be great parents. We want to be there for our children every step of the way. Still, for many of us who are living away IMG_1641from home, employing a domestic helper is an inevitability. Hong Kong is just not set up to provide child-care by any other method, and we have no family network around us to help out. Added to this is the common situation of a husband often away traveling with work.

So it is during pregnancy that many of us contemplate this for the first time, and it can be a very strange notion – this idea of a complete stranger sharing your home and personal space. Most women, wisely, employ a helper well before the baby arrives as common sense will tell you that it is best to do his a) whilst you have time and b) so that you can get to know each other before the whirlwind of a newborn comes about.

Your baby comes home, and you hold her close to you and never want to let go. You are appreciative of the fact that your helper is doing the laundry and the cooking, but the idea of her helping with the baby – such an obvious thing before – suddenly seems unfathomable. Indeed, nobody is able to take care of her the way you can.

This is true. But it does not mean your way is the only way. Daddy’s way or helper’s way may not be exactly the same, but it can still work well.

The important thing is to make sure the fundamentals are in place and that your helper knows what you want and what you think is important. They need to know why as well as how. Training is essential. What job do you know offers no training to the chosen candidate? And there are few jobs more important than taking care of a baby.

Arrange for first aid training in Toronto before the baby is born. First aid and CPR, it goes without saying, but baby-care courses are also important. These ladies who have such an important role in our lives may have had a hugely different life-experience to us and the most basic things can differ widely – sleeping, bathing, eating, playing, stimulation, hygiene, priorities in case of an emergency – the list goes on and on.

Some mothers will go it alone, and prefer to do it all themselves, and that is wonderful. But, choosing to accept help is also fine. Neither is the better mother. Indeed, having help enables a lot of women to be better mothers! And of course, for those of us returning to work, there is no other real choice.

It is so important that, as the dust settles, and routines are established, that you find a little time to take a break. Be it for exercise, a hobby, a relaxing bath, or to catch up with a friend. This, for many of us, inevitably means leaving our baby with our helper. Let her do it in small steps – she also needs to get to know your child and to learn his cues and ways. Take a shower, leaving baby with helper. Catch up with emails. Then leave the house for a short time. Build it up, so that all three of you feel confident and comfortable. Your helper needs time to hone these skills.

Letting go is not a sign of weakness. As is often said, it takes a village to raise a child and it just so happens that our helpers are a large part of that village for many of us. Equip them with the knowledge, skill and confidence to do this safely and well. It will then be a positive experience for all.


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