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Health
05/13/2010
IconI received this poignant email about a heartbreaking topic, but Kelly has found inspiration in her loss, and that's the message I'd like to pass on to all of you: Dr. Laura:I listened to a call you took from a woman who had lost a baby (a twin), and wondered how to handle this as she tried to go forward in life.' I thought I'd share how my family has coped with our loss. My son was stillborn almost 13 years ago now.' He was my first baby, and the loss was devastating, especially since it was such a struggle to conceive him at all.' Three months after the loss I became pregnant again (huge surprise!).' How could I be happy for this baby when I was still mourning my son?' It was scary and hard, but I was determined to notice what would become good memories, so that I would have them to share with this child as she was growing up and wanting to hear how happy we were as we anticipated her arrival.' But I still struggled each year as the anniversary of my son's birth/death approached. And then I read a story about a woman who had been raped and left for dead.' After years of agonizing fear and dread as the anniversary of her attack approached each year, she decided to do something to change all that.' She used that date each year to celebrate her life, and the fact that she still had it.' By this time, we had already shared with our daughter that she had a brother in heaven who watched over her.' I decided to take that a step further. Rather than trying to cover up or explain my sadness at that time each year, I decided to make it a time of remembrance and appreciation.' If nothing else, my son's death taught me just how fleeting this life is, and there is not a moment to take for granted. It took me a long time to get to this place, but now, on that day each year, my husband, my daughter and I take that day off (no matter what) just to spend time with each other doing something fun, and remembering how appreciative we are that we have each other. We've been camping, spent a day at the park, went to the beach...anything that immersed us in each other.' And we take time out to remember our son, and thank him for that awesome lesson.' When it comes to the loss of a child, I really think every person has to find his or her own way.' I just thought I'd share ours, in hopes that it might help someone else. Kelly More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParenting
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05/13/2010
IconLast week was my annual "girl parts" checkup - pelvic exam and mammogram.' I am grateful to be able to say that all's well with me.I'm blogging about this because I want all you men and women to have your yearly physicals, including full blood work, cancer screening, colonoscopies (I do that every 5 years now), and maybe even a full body scan.Ultimately, it really doesn't matter what does or doesn't "run in your family."' Your body physiology and behaviors (such as nutrition, substance abuse, physicality, and environment) are all unique to you, so don't think you're "safe" because no one in your family has "such and such."I also realize that many of you may be scared that if you get a checkup, something will be found.' Well, that logic would be okay with me IF not going to a doctor for a physical insured that you wouldn't get anything serious.' That's just not how life works.I'm always nervous before my yearly exams.' At 62, I figure I will eventually have to deal with something, although I just might go out mid-breath in my sleep at age104.' I take very good care of myself, but....you never know.' After I finish the battery of tests, and get a happy answer, I can breathe easier, and I go out and play.I will admit that I hate going for dental checkups, however, because they usually DO find something I have to deal with (ugh).' But I have a really cool ceramic molar implant with a tiny American flag painted on it - occasionally, doing something crazy' like that is how I cope. More >>

Tags: HealthHolidays
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was a kid, we spent most of our time outside playing...something.' Riding bikes, playing ball, walking, running, performing dramatic vignettes, or finding clues in twigs, among other activities.' Imagination, strategy, and fresh air were the mainstay of life then.And then....the incredible technology age came along, with chatter, Twitter, and pics, texting and more.' You don't have to be a rocket scientist to guess that that isn't very good.Kids today aren't on "friendship" sites to get help with their math homework or discourse on all things philosophical.' They're basically trying to make a mark, to be somebody, or to impress somebody, all without having done a damn thing to actually earn the attention.But why should they?' Look at what they see on television:' reality show after reality show where people get "famous" for behaving badly and creating nothing of value or beauty.' Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich may even be getting his own television show after being tossed out of office because of severe wrongdoing.That's where kids get the idea that "outrageous" is more important than goodness, patience, commitment to a goal, and values beyond their own immediate "fantasy" gratification.' I don't know how you parents can shield your children from this "Pinocchio Island," which ultimately degenerates the value of living and giving to merely depraved acting out.' Removing all TVs and never going to the movies might be a start - maybe the Amish have it right in that regard.' They have long held that so-called "modern" advances don't necessarily advance the human spirit.It breaks my heart to hear all the stories each day of children and young adults who, in a rush to feel the power of adulthood freedom, don't get the matched message of responsibility and nobility.' Religion in this country is breaking down as people go to Easter services or Passover dinners as mostly a yearly reunion, as opposed to a daily profound observance.' Families are breaking down with "shack-up," out-of-wedlock children lost in a morass of adult yearnings for easy intimacy.' And so it goes.Do I sound negative?' You bet.' I am worried.' I am heartened by the emails and calls from families struggling in the midst of all this societal turmoil, which has robbed them of the support and respect they so dearly need to help their children find a good and righteous path in life.' My heart goes out to them, and, hopefully, there will be more like them. More >>

Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMental HealthParentingPersonal ResponsibilityReality TV
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05/13/2010
IconA caller with a seemingly simple question has been haunting my mind since Monday.' The caller was a stay-at-home mom with four children under the age of six.' I thought I was heroic chasing after one child who never napped.' I can't imagine four little tykes going in different directions, all with different personalities and needs.' Wow.After asking some sneaky questions, I discerned that she was - in two words - BURNED OUT.' It's difficult to get around the understandable embarrassment or shame that a mother has for even thinking that she wished she were on another planet away from the children for a while.' But this is a totally understandable and normal reaction to a lovely, but draining, situation.When a woman is at a job, she can take a number of bathroom breaks, coffee breaks, and a lunch break which may even include shopping (a great tension releaser!).' When taking care of a number of children whose needs are relentless and inconsistent, it's easy to see how one brain and heart can be overwhelmed if the kids don't nap - mine never did, and I remember feeling mentally exhausted.Mothers do, but shouldn't, feel guilt at not always being thrilled out of their ears to be taking care of their children.' My first argument is that there is no one with any career or activity who doesn't regularly feel the same way.' Human beings need breaks - changes of scenery and input - and activities that help let off steam and revive one's sense of joy in life.' That's why in my book, In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms , I've written about the necessity of taking guilt-free breaks - and taking them before you break!First, to the husbands:' Make sure you command and demand that your beloved wife and mother of your progeny go out with her girlfriends, go have a one-hour bath with bubbles and wine, or go ride her bike with a bike club for a morning - something so that she can feel revived and relaxed.' Plan it for her if she's stubborn (the stubbornness usually comes from feeling guilty).' Tell her that a GOOD mother takes care of herself so that the "giving" flows more readily.Second, to you mothers:' Grandma is useful for a break while you do nothing or something that relaxes you.' I told this caller to get one of those carriers that attaches to a bicycle, and get a child bike seat affixed behind her bike seat - that takes care of three kids right there, and one is in kindergarten.' Take 'em all on a bike ride to picnic or relax in a park - that's only one of the things I did with my child.' Turn on an exercise video and dance along with the music to get a workout - the kids will join in, or play next to you with their toys.'My message is:' no guilt.' Any profession has tools that must be taken care of to keep working properly:' a computer, a saw and hammer...whatever.' For us mothers, the tool is ourselves.' So, no guilt.' Take it as a responsibility to keep yourself loose and refreshed.My final message is that being home with your children opens up many opportunities if you think out of the perimeter of your property.' It isn't supposed to be a "work farm."' It's supposed to be a joyous home.' Oh, and here's why that caller stuck in my mind:' I heard a depth of sadness in her voice that seriously worried me, and I realized that many of you moms try so hard that you forget to take care of yourselves.' In doing so, you lose contact with your mission in the first place.' When that happens, your children miss you.So, ladies, turn on that music and dance and sing around the house and enjoy! More >>

Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthIn Praise of Stay-at-Home MomsMental HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingRegarding Dr. LauraStay-At-Home-Moms
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was a child in school, my parents were called in each and every year to have a conference with the principal about my inattention, underachievement, and disruption of the class because I talked too much - all the things that would have me doused in Ritalin today.I get way too many calls from mothers that their local school is threatening to drug their child (usually a son) with Ritalin to cure his ADHD, and thereby control his behavior.' I always tell them:' NO.' There are numerous reasons why children (and especially boys) won't sit still and won't pay attention.' Sometimes they're bored, sometimes there is so much turmoil at home that they're acting out, and sometimes they just have so much energy that they can't sit still.' Schools have virtually thrown out recess breaks and physical education.' Sometimes, too, they're just the sort of kids who need more one-on-one attention in order to keep focused.' Of course, there's also the possibility that there are other problems.There's an important (and not surprising to me) piece of news published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry :' that stimulant drugs like Ritalin that are used to treat ADHD do not improve children's symptoms in the long term.The latest report tracked almost 500 children for eight years, and found that those still taking stimulant medication fared no better in the reduction of symptoms such as inattention and hyperactivity or in social functioning than those who had not taken medication.' The difference was clear in less than two years.Behavioral treatments are going to have a much bigger benefit in the long term.' It's easy to find a doctor who will prescribe Ritalin.' However, it takes some time to find a doctor experienced in behavioral intervention, and for many "too busy" folks, popping a pill seems easier and more expedient than ongoing behavioral techniques that will require their time and energies to learn and utilize at home.Here in Los Angeles, we have The Drake Institute , which is expert in this area.' These ongoing interventions are costly, and not all insurance will cover them, which is, indeed, a problem.I remember reading on the air an email from a grandfather whose grandson was the child of a two-career household.' The grandfather was retired.' He found out they were going to "Ritalin-ize" his grandson, and immediately took over.' He homeschooled this child and spent the entire day combining school work with structured play and discipline'' The child blossomed.' He wrote: "I sometimes think that it is not the child who has attention-deficit problems, but the parents who give the child a deficit of attention." While that may be true in a lot of cases, there are still those children whose impulse control and thinking processes need special attention.' Find a good behavioral therapist with the experience to make a difference, and realize that you, as a parent, will have to spend the time to understand, learn and help your child mature in a healthy and productive way.' Stop with the popping of potent pills as a first and last resort.....please. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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Tags: Family/Relationships - TeensHealthMother's DayMotherhood-FatherhoodSexSexualitySocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was in my first year of college, I ate and ate and ate...especially at breakfast.' There was an unlimited supply of raisin toast, and that was the trough at which I fed.' I gained a good ten pounds.' This was a rebound from my anorexic last year of high school, when all sorts of stresses led me to find an answer to no sense of control in self-starvation.' The "plumpy" time was short-lived; however, as I became very active, and the rebelliousness was no longer necessary, as I was out of the home and on my own.Since then, I've always been thin, but thin is neither healthy nor particularly womanly.' I've been working out six ways from Sunday, and I am a petite hardbody at 62, and proud of it, even if the discipline sometimes annoys me.I do not watch reality shows.' I know of them, but I just can't imagine how any rational person can consider these highly-produced dramas, with people pushed to bring out the worst in themselves as entertainment.' Yuck.I just read that FOX has yet another so-called reality program in the works.' FOX is teaming up with "The Bachelor" producer for a new dating-competition series that casts fat people.' The series, titled "More to Love," is billed as "the first dating show for the rest of us," versus the sexy babes and good-looking bachelors that we usually see on these shows.' The show is considered "controversial," because there is some argument the viewers don't want to watch anyone other than "pretty people" do anything.The producer says, "We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable.' We aren't going to 'thin' these girls down so they can find love - that's a backwards message." I have my concerns.' This is the network that aired such shows as "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." I worry that, in order to get attention, overweight types might be exploited for the "freak" attraction element.' I worry that emotions are going to run higher and deeper, because these folks already have sensitivities and have likely experienced rejection in public, and public display (even though it's voluntary and in pursuit of their '15 minutes of fame') could hurt people.' The "pretty people" shows have contestants used to acceptance and calls from agents for other "pretty people" opportunities.'I'm hoping this doesn't get set up as a circus sideshow, which I think these shows are, even for the thin types.' Viewers are not looking for true love to occur - they're waiting for the train wreck, the car crash, the suicide jump, as embarrassed and hurt people display their pain, and potentially, their rage.I know some of you might say, "It's about time that the typical American man and woman (who are, by the way, overweight and out-of-shape) get to be treated on TV like anyone else." Okay.' I get it, but, my friends, this is ENTERTAINMENT, not a psychotherapeutically romantic venture.First, we saw on TV the pain and hurt of "pretty" types.' Now we'll get pain and embarrassment for overweight types.' Frankly, I find that reality programming is there because it is inexpensive to do, and because the population seems to have an inexhaustible appetite for watching people get emotionally and/or physically splattered.'I thought those days in the Roman Colosseum were over, but I guess base nature doesn't change. More >>

Tags: HealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaReality TVStop Whining Start LivingStop Whining, Start Living
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I brought our one child into the universe, I pushed hard for 12 hours, but he must have been holding on for dear life, because I ended up having a C-section.' I was a bit bummed that I couldn't just pop him out in 20 minutes like the 22 year old down the hall - humphff!They had to give me morphine so, of course, I was out like a light until morning.' The first minute my eyes were open, there was the nurse with my little miracle.' She reminded me that I had signed up for breastfeeding, and...well, here she was and he was hungry.In my sad little stupor, I mumbled "I haven't been able to do anything right yet...I don't know if I can do this." She said it was easy, and then showed me how to hold him.' The side of his cheek touched my breast, his eyes perked up (typical guy!), and he went right on, and all the pain of the night before just evaporated and I fell in love.' Imagine - my own body feeding my own child.' Seriously cool!All of this is not idle reminiscing on my part.' It is a lead-in to the story that there is a new Rhode Island law that allows a woman to breastfeed or bottle-feed her child in any place open to the public.' This new law permits a woman to allege a violation of her civil rights if she is prevented from breastfeeding in public.Now, breastfeeding is very important, not only for the mommy/child bond, but to pass on the mother's immune factors to the child for the first 6 months, saving everybody time, money, and discomfort with infants getting sick.' One might also suggest that it is the responsibility of the mommy to breastfeed for the health of her child, but there is more to the story.Dr. Laura Viehmann, a Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said "Too often, mothers are asked to stop breastfeeding, to move to a private location, or to cover themselves up when they breastfeed at a playground, at the airport, in a restaurant, or in other public places." This is where the typical separation of rights vs. responsibilities occurs.' I breastfed my son whenever he was hungry, wherever I was...but I never imposed this lovely experience on strangers at another restaurant table, or passers-by in the mall, or a pew in a house of worship.' I would either go to a private place for the peaceful setting, or I would take a thin diaper and cover us both up...kind of like "tenting" us.'While at that time, my breast was a source of life fluids for my son, as modestly endowed as I am, the breast is still a source of sexual stimulation to half the population.' Perhaps women who breastfeed uncovered in public with men around should be charged with sexual harassment?' While I'm kidding, of course, I don't think my point is a minor one.People are always "crumbing" about their privacy, and' yet they're willing to show their underwear with pants that barely stay up, or skirts that barely stay down.' My point is that while breastfeeding is a sacred, wonderful, natural part of mothering, it deserves respect, and we hardly show respect for something by parading it in front of strangers.I was a breastfeeding woman, and I always showed respect for the situational expectations of others.' I also never brought our son to a fancy, adult restaurant when he was an unpredictably screaming baby.' To me, breastfeeding is a sacred bonding moment between mother and child - like the passionate act that brought that child into being is between husband and wife.' These sacred moments are private, and should be kept that way with a simple draped cloth.Exposing yourself in full view of potentially unwilling onlookers is less about bonding and feeding, and more about exhibitionism or disrespect for others, or an attitude that nobody else in the world matters - like that Sixties mantra of "if you don't like it, it's YOUR problem."' No matter how you look at it, special things are put on pedestals and treated as special. More >>

Tags: HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconDuring his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.' The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion.' Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments.' They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy.' It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly (taut to the very end).' Everything has its limitations...except abstinence.I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family.' His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments.' When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers - clearly annoyed - chastised him for the pain he caused his son.' "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it.' Imagine how terrible your son must have felt?' How could you do this to him?' Food is food.' There is nothing sinful about food.' What you are doing to him is just cruel."' Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time.' This was a fun party."The woman blanched and walked away.' The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following:' animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy.' Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges.' Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about.' We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse.' Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait - many times, it might be a life-saving one.' Look at him.' He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values.' He looks happy and satisfied.' We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?The woman scowled, but listened to him.Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).The naysayers all have one thing in common:' they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior.' The Pope believes in us more than that.I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader.' The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules.' It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-Consciencechoose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyDatingHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityReligionSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010

Tags: HealthQuote of the WeekRegarding Dr. Laura
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