I am a student by nature. I love to learn and explore.
In my free time, you can find me surfing the Internet in search of answers to my many life questions, such as "What are the inner workings of the typical toilet?" and "What's the coldest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica?"
I want to know everything about every thing.
So, you can imagine what I might have been like when I found out I was pregnant last year -- what sort of massive research effort I might have launched. I bought books, I borrowed books, I surfed the Internet and I talked with every family member and friend who either was or had been pregnant at one time. I wanted to be prepared.
There was one major flaw in my research, though. I spent so much time learning about pregnancy and how the baby develops that I didn't really give much thought to what happens after childbirth -- you know, the whole parenting part.
I pondered it in passing a couple of moments at the end of my sixth month. My parents and my husband, Mike's, parents have some very different ways in how they brought up their children, so I did spend a little bit of time figuring out what I wanted to take from their suggestions and what I didn't want. For example, I liked my mother-in-law's advice to spend lots of time snuggling with my baby and to really enjoy every stage of development, but I also really appreciated my mother's warning to not lose myself totally in my child, to not set all my dreams and life goals aside to raise her, and to make a special effort to keep my marriage strong.
But, as far as a comprehensive parenting plan goes, I had none in mind. And because my daughter, Rachel, was born nearly three months early in early June, I didn't have the time to study up on this and discuss it with my husband. We were tossed into parenting too soon and with too little preparation, and so we grasped at whatever techniques were recommended by the medical team at the hospital.
The preemie world is very different from the world of babies born full-term to moms with uncomplicated pregnancies, and with it, comes a host of research-based parenting tools proven to help the tiny, preterm infant survive. Many of these, such as Kangaroo Care (holding the baby skin-on-skin) and feeding pumped breast milk, are modifications of techniques that are used for many full-term babies whose parents practice Attachment Parenting.
I didn't choose Attachment Parenting so much as it chose me. It came naturally. While Rachel was lying under a warmer -- and later in an incubator -- struggling to breathe, Attachment Parenting was what I found as I searched wildly for something that I could do to help save her life. Research showed that Attachment Parenting techniques, such as Kangaroo Care and feeding breast milk and avoiding separation, increased the survival rates of early premature babies -- helping to give them a will to live and give them something familiar. After all, a baby knows her mom from her voice, smell, touch, heart beat and breathing patterns. When I held tiny, three-pound Rachel up to my chest during Kangaroo Care, she noticeably calmed down, her erratic heart rate regulated and her dangerous apnea spells disappeared. That was not a mere coincidence.
While in the hospital, I learned all about how Attachment Parenting techniques help preemies and other special-needs babies. And after Rachel was released, after 50 days in the hospital, I did my research about how Attachment Parenting could fit into our lives throughout the first year, toddler and preschool stages, and beyond.
I embraced Attachment Parenting, and after a remarkable turnaround in Rachel's medical conditions and development, I swear by this philosophy. Now a 20-pound eight-month-old baby, it is impossible for an outsider, even a doctor, to guess that Rachel had survived my significant abrupted placenta, and has battled and conquered respiratory distress syndrome, severe apnea, idiopathic bradycardia, severe jaundice, retinopathy of prematurity, anemia, inability to produce red blood cells, heart murmur, uncontrolled gastroesophageal reflux disease and two bouts of severe infection.
I credit Rachel's miraculous survival and recovery to God, a brilliant neonatal medical team and to my family's adoption of Attachment Parenting.
Attachment Parenting is still a relatively unknown term where I call home, in northeast Nebraska. There are some families that practice it, but most do either the rigid schedule or what one mom calls the "Oh my gosh! What in the world are we doing?!?" guesswork. I hope through my involvement through API, as well as leading by example, that I can help convince more parents to consider Attachment Parenting techniques -- because I know first-hand what a difference it can make in a baby's life.
API founder Lysa Parker has decided to step down after 13 years as Executive Director of API to focus her efforts on furthering Attachment Parenting through a book to be co-authored with fellow API founder Barbara Nicholson.
As Lysa transitions to API's Board of Directors, long-time Managing Director Christy Farr Ferrilli is taking the reins as Executive Director for API. Former Central Regional Director Pam Stone is filling Christy's former position as Managing Director.
Lysa believes Christy and Pam are right fit to for API's top leadership roles, explaining that they "have a special chemistry from their combined energy and passion for our mission."
Lysa and the API Board of Directors are confident that Christy and Pam are the key to taking API to the next level, to improve the effectiveness of the organization in spreading the word about Attachment Parenting and supporting parents and professionals worldwide.
"I smile as I think of them like race horses at the starting gate," Lysa said, "Just waiting for the signal!"
API was amazed by the quality of applications received in response to its announcement of the open Regional Director positions. Each was a testament to the dedication, passion and diverse talents of the Leader team. After intense deliberations, API is proud to present three new Regional Directors. Each of these women brings an infectious enthusiasm for Attachment Parenting to API. Please welcome the new API Regional Director team:
Eastern Region -- Traci Singree has led an API support group in Canton, Ohio, since 2001. She and husband Brian have two children, ages 6 and 29 months. Her passion for Attachment Parenting extends to children with learning disabilities, bottlefeeding with love and reaching the mainstream parenting community. Contact Traci by email or at (330) 874-7027.
Central Region -- Stephanie Petters founded the API support group of North Fulton, Georgia, in 2005. She and husband Michael have one child, age 3. Her passion for Attachment Parenting extends to children suffering from abuse and neglect, acid reflux and food allergies. Contact Stephanie by email or at (404) 432-9474.
API Needs Your Help: New Web Site is Critical
API is looking for ideas and donations for web site work
API needs your help! Not only is API seeking leads and proposals from web designers who wish to be considered for this exciting project, but API wants to include all of your suggestions during the planning phases. To make a suggestion, call (800) 850-8320 or send an e-mail.
API also needs financial assistance in making this project a reality. Send donations to: API, P.O. Box 4615, Alpharetta, GA 30023. Include "web site" in the memo section of your payment. Or, make an online donation by clicking on the link below.