Archive | July, 2014

Role models – new mothers in Hong Kong

Role models – new mothers in Hong Kong

Posted on 17 July 2014 by hulda

Role models – or a lack thereof.

There are days that I am grateful for having had two of my kids in Iceland in a small town where no-one who locked their homes.  I sometimes had to run from home to the hospital if I was on call for the theatre (C-sections) and could „stop by“ at a friend’s home and push to her the pram that contained my baby girl (now 16 years old) and she would take care of her for the few hours that I was gone, no questions asked.  Each day would start with a walk around town with this same pram, one baby inside it, one baby on top of it – my kids are exactly 14 months apart – and we would go to the swimming pool, followed by a trip to the bakery after walking around the harbour for a while.  Friends picked up on the way and sometimes we walk together and sometimes just a quick chat.  And if I felt like it and I saw a light in the kitchen of some houses, we would stop by and have a cup of coffee there.  My husband would come home for lunch and we would sometimes meet him for a midday break.  My parents or parents in law would sometimes stop by and like anyone else, unannounced, walk through the door and we, of course quickly bake something and sit down in the kitchen.

Sure, there were breadcrumbs on the floor and dust in the corners, and I was often tired and fed up with household chores, arranging baby sitting and the cold weather when the snow would sometimes not let us out the front door as it was covered by it.

But as it was, there were many many role models in my life and not only did my children get the benefits of growing up with their grandparents around, and sometimes, in their homes too, but also, I had the chance to see so many people‘s parenting styles and input, in a very casual and relaxed way.

Which is why I am writing this.

Hong Kong has so much, including the chances to experience life in a different way to what many of us are used to.  It is mostly wonderful and very positive.  It is good for everyone to go a bit out of their comfort zone and see and do new things.  And I guess we all mostly like it. Also those that grew up here and still live here, they probably appreciate how special this city is.

The one thing that I find lacking though, for many, is the access to the casual lifestyle where you get a peek into the „ordinary“ world of others.  See the ups and downs and get to have role models that are close to you and you don‘t feel pressure of having, – but rather just learn from them (and vice versa) without even noticing.  Being able to stop by at someone’s home without planning it and bringing the whole family for a hangout.  And your own home to be the same for them.
Many mothers and fathers that I meet in Hong Kong, to my surprise, have no clue about how to take care of a baby.  The do a good job of it of course, when they actually take on the role, but they are often clueless prior to the baby being born.  Some have never held a baby, changed diapers, been peed or vomited on.  They have no idea about where babies usually sleep, how long or what kind of sounds they make.  If they can take them out and when they can go to the pool.   For me, this is of course just good, as I actually build my business about this.   But i also sometimes feel for the parents.  That they actually lack the access to these kinds of role models, the ones that are just casual around them.

This is also the case when it comes to pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, sleeping etc. after the birth.  The advice you get from other parents here is often very harsh and dominating, „don’t ever …..“ and „you should always…“- quite judging and non-helpful actually.  So even if it is of course nice to get advice from your friends, you don’t always get to experience it full on, they are often just little glimpses of what these same friends are willing to share, not the full story.

It is hard to explain this in full, but I sometimes think about this and want to encourage parents to sit down and think about who are their role models.  Who influences them and why?  Write it down.  How do you want your babies to grow up and what kind of home do you want to build for them?  What do you remember from your youth and now that was nice and you want your kids to experience?

We live in a world of rules.  Experts are everywhere.  And because of that, we forget to rely on ourselves and the role models that must be somewhere within us.  My baby „should“ …something.  Really? Why is that?  Because I read it in the book.  And the other mums are doing it.  Well, if the baby is happy and content why do you need to change that?

I believe that for many, the answer or lack of thereof, is that there are no obvious role models that have shaped the opinion or perhaps self-confidence, parental instincts – to the point where the answer becomes obvious.  If you have never been inside a home at 5 pm where there are two children ready for bed, bath and cuddles and tired parents who have to cook the meals and clean etc., you perhaps don’t understand how important it is to just be calm and give up a little bit of control, i.e. deal with what is most important – and then, with time, you realize that the books do not always tell you just that.  Also, I have never heard of a 12 year old that has problem because she was held too much when she was 3 weeks old.  Or walked around in the pram every day.

What you learn when you are the sister of someone (and get to observe her), who enjoys- and struggles- through parenthood in the early days, is that some days, this works.  Some days it is something else.  But if you slow down and take each day at a time, lie down with your baby on your chest and just listen and look, you will find your own instincts and joy.  It does not have to happen fast and in fact, it takes a long time.  And some days, it is just fine if everything is not perfect.

There are so many challenges that we face as parents.  It can be so hard when something is affecting our babies and them cry and when we have milk problems, sleepless nights and all of this stuff that we are faced with.

But one of them should not have to be  “my baby should …. – but it is not…”

You and your baby should really just do what you think is right and after a little time with your baby you realize that you slowly learn what is just that.

I am a busy mum who is a very imperfect parent and I beat myself up about it every day. But I am sensible enough to realize that I am my own enemy when I do that, and I become even worse parent if I allow myself to be like that.  So, each day, I look inside my head and think about my role models and who have taught me useful things as a parent.  And sometimes, I even learned something from myself.  Something that no book and no other parent could have told me.  I just learned it because I took the time to sit quietly and listen to my little one.  The little one that in a few months’ time will be much less little and much less in need for me.  So now, while I can, I just hold her very tight and stay as close as possible.  Screw the books.


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Breech position at 36 weeks

Breech position at 36 weeks

Posted on 11 July 2014 by Kristrun

“My baby is currently in the breech position and as I am 36 weeks, I am wondering what, if anything, I can do to turn him around. Also if he doesn’t turn before his arrival, do I have to have a c-section?”

monitoredtummyLuckily this is not a very common questions but it happens every now and then. It is still possible for you baby to turn, however you are getting to the time of decision making. If at term you baby is in breech position the recommendation will be for a caesarean, this is the opinion of most obstetricians. However before that point you do have some options. You could consult an acupuncturist there is developing body of research showing this to be a successful and safe therapy, to use in attempting to encourage your baby to turn. It is also possible to attempt and External Cephalic Version (ECV), this is where you go to the hospital, receive some medication to encourage your uterus to relax, then with ultrasound guidance your obstetrician massages your baby and attempts to get them to do a somersault. – ending up head first. In many countries this is the recommended management of a woman who has an uncomplicated breech presentation baby at term, and the success rates are quite good. The main concern is that on the way around your baby might knock the placenta and cause it to come away from the uterus wall. The baby is monitored for some time after the turn and if there is any sign of a problem, the decision would be for a caesarean, which would have been the same decision if you had not attempted the ECV. Your final choice is to birth your baby vaginally, however this does expose your baby to some risks. Before you decided to attempt this it would be necessary to spend time talking with your caregivers regarding risks and benefits, so you are able to make an informed choice. You should also make sure your caregiver is experienced in attending breech vaginal births, a skill which is becoming less common in view of the current trend of caesareans.

Each case is unique, our midwives can help you to understand your choices, the options you have will be different depending on where you intend to give birth. But make sure you understand your environment and make sure it’s not because of the convenience of someone else what options you are given.

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