Barbara Hotelling, RN, MSN, IBCLC is a Doula and Childbirth Educator and has had the opportunity to see firsthand the impact of helping parents (and their children) understand a newborn. As former president of DONA International and Lamaze International, she has cherished the chance to help many professionals discover the magic and mystery of educating and supporting new families at this most vulnerable time in their lives. She describes her work as "studying world peace for more than four decades as a wife, mother, grandmother, childbirth educator, birth doula, lactation consultant, and Certified HUG Teacher." She is a busy lady and brings much to our world!
Here is her story about her seven-year-old grandson.
While Harry is a mere seven years old, he is wise beyond his age. He is also a compassionate and caring soul. These are the things I look for in my grandchildren that let me know what great things lie ahead for them. Great things like peace and love.
The greatthing for Harry in 2013 is that he will be getting a brother in April. This is something he has prayed for nightly for at least the past year, as revealed by his mother. He wanted a dog and his parents introduced him to an app that let him care for a dog (or five!). (I, too, joined in the fun, but I hope my two dogs have been adopted by a more consistent dog lover.) I believe Harry learned two things from that virtual experience. One is that a dog is a lot of work; secondly, that his dog would never grow up to be self-reliant. That may have been when he upped the ante and started praying for a sibling.
Jan and I sent my two expectant children copies of the HUG video. Harry immediately watched the video and exclaimed, early into the video, that he thought he and his mother should be "taking notes on this." And it is this comment, from a wise and compassionate youngster, that leads me to the question: “What if the whole world got The HUG and learned what Harry did?”
I know we laugh at the jokes in the movie Miss Congeniality when the contestants repeatedly declare that "world peace" is what the world is looking for. However, that answer is what many are indeed looking for, and working towards in all types of venues. The venue I prefer to work in is the support of expectant and birthing families. Through pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum support I want to make it easier for families to enjoy one another and to listen to eachother.
I didn’t realize this as a seven-year-old, but Harry does--whether he knows it or not. Harry has just been introduced to the HUG, which is based on years of sustainable, evidence-based research. So throughout his life, into adulthood and when he begins his own family, Harry will have the ability to calm a fussy child, help an infant get to sleep, and he'll know why interacting with a newborn is SO important.
So my precious Harry will understand his brother’s cues, enjoy the mimicry that will bring them laughter, and introduce this baby to his compassion, caring, and the HUG. He will discover what an SOS looks like, and he will know when his brother gets to the Ready Zone. This is, perhaps, one small, but very important, step toward world peace.