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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Episode 65 (Epilogue): Happy Holidays!

Tonight, Ryan and her family celebrated the holidays with songs and stories of the season. In addition to reading the Dr. Suess classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas, the following tunes were played:

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch
A Marshmallow World / Dean Martin
Merry Christmas Baby / Otis Redding
Christmas in Hollis / Run DMC
African Christmas / Yellowman
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas / Gayla Peevey
Rockabilly Christmas / Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Spotlight on Christmas / Rufus Wainwright
Hellhound on My Trail / The Mountain Goats
That Was the Worst Christmas Ever / Sufjan Stevens
Someday at Christmas / Jack Johnson
Frosty The Snowman / Fiona Apple
Calling On Mary / Aimee Mann

Happy Holidays from the entire Maternally Yours Collective and our families!

Episode 65: Happy Holidays!

Join the Conversation on Tuesday, December 25th at 6pm, as Ryan brings her family into the studio to celebrate the Holidays with songs and stories of the season.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, December 25th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at
Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Episode 64 (Epilogue): State of Maternity Care

We opened our episode tonight with a discussion of the tragic events in Newtown, CT, and in particular how to talk to your children. Some of this advice will be given at the bottom portion of this epilogue. Laura also had this to say: “Our goal on this show is to facilitate conversations that make positive change for parents. Clearly, a conversation on the local level is necessary to carve out a plan of action toward necessary reform in many areas. We envision a public forum to which all of our elected officials, school board members, mental health alliances, media outlets and concerned parents and educators would be invited. If you would like to be a part of this discussion, date and time to be announced, please email us at”

Tonight’s episode was focused on the current state of maternity care in Sarasota. Our hostesses, Laura and Ryan, talked to a panel of experts in different areas of this field: Harmony Miller, a Licensed Midwife and owner of Rosemary Birthing Home, Dr. Kyle Garner, the Sarasota Memorial Hospital Chief of Obstetrics, and retiring perinatologist Dr. Washington Hill, who is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Dr. Hill started the conversation off, as we talked to him about his retirement in the Sarasota area, and his upcoming work with the Clinton Foundation . He also shared wisdom with us about how his experience with the Sarasota community, and how it has taught him about the importance of communication between various professionals in the realm of maternity health care, as well as between mothers and care providers.

Next we spoke with Dr. Garner, who echoed this need for open communication. He also talked with us about the OB Hospitalist program at Sarasota Memorial, and how it has benefited both patients and doctors in emergency situations and situations in which the patient does not have a primary care provider. He also talked with us about VBAC care at SMH, and how having an Obstetrician on staff at all times may prove to make this option more attractive for both patients and doctors.

Harmony Miller than joined the conversation, and explained various aspects of the midwife model of care. We spoke with her about licensure for midwives, how risk is evaluated for individuals attempting to have an out-of-hospital birth, and the importance of emotional support and education under the midwife model. All of our guests then spoke with us about the procedures for transfer from an out-of-hospital setting to a hospital setting.

Finally, Dr. Garner and Dr. Hill spoke with us about how Sarasota Memorial is working to support more natural labors, the role of cascading interventions in birth, and the negotiation of birth plans between patients and OB/GYN’s.  

In the wake of Friday's unthinkable events, we have collected some words of wisdom from former Maternally Yours guests on how to speak to our children about tragic events. We hope you'll find this helpful.

From Tim Seldin: "Those of us who have young children (age 7 or younger) should seriously heed the recommendations of psychiatrists, who are urging that, if possible, we shelter them from any media reports or discussions of this incident and certainly turn off the TV or radio if announcers are about to replay scenes of grief or violence. Small ones simply do not need this. Avoid speaking about this with other family members, neighbors, or friends if your young children are within your hearing. Older children will inevitably hear about this, either on the media or from friends. I would not recommend that you raise the subject, but if your children are present when this is discussed on-air or in a conversation with others, or if they ask you about what happened, we would suggest that you reassure them that such incidents are extremely rare; however, when they do occur, they receive a great deal of attention simply because they are so incredibly uncommon and horrible. Reassure them that the person, or persons, who committed this act are no longer able to hurt anyone, and that they are safe. We cannot live our lives in fear, but we can work for a better world."

From Peg Hughes: "If you can keep your kids from being exposed, do. But, if you can't or they are older, first, don't let them watch it on an endless loop. Turn off the news. Take some breaks from the news yourselves. Then what you say will depend on their age and maturity. Listen to them and be guided by what they are asking you. Watch for any changes in their behaviors and know they may have a range of emotions. Make it okay to talk about. Reassure them they are okay. Get them into their routines. Get them into community projects to help others. Let them know that it is okay to be sad and confused. And that they are safe. That this kind of thing, while very sad and hard to understand, are very rare. Hug them, a lot. Most importantly, grieve, be sad and then get yourself centered so that you're not giving off any anxiousness. Model for your kids how to handle tragedy."

From Karen Leonetti: "Older children will pick up bits and pieces here and there. However, please do not bring it up to discuss randomly with your children. I would suggest that if they ask you questions about the shootings, only answer exactly what they ask. Children need to feel safe in order to learn for the rest of their lives. Here is an exercise: Go through your home with your child if they are aware, worried or feel troubled from the event. Point out all the things that you have provided in your home for their safety. Ask them what makes them feel secure at home. What comforts them? What do they love? Go over safety measures you have implemented for your family. Tell them that YOUR job is to keep THEM safe. Give loads of hugs and watch comedies instead of the news."

For an in-depth insight from mother, midwife, healer and wise woman Aviva Jill Romm, please read Sheltering, Protecting, and Talking With Our Children: Parenting for Sanity in a Seemingly Insane World.

Episode 64: The State of Maternity Care

Join the Conversation Tuesday, December 18th at 6pm ET as Laura and Ryan welcome Sarasota Memorial Hospital retiring perinatologist Dr. Washington Hill on the airwaves one last time. He will be joined by incoming chief of obstetrics Dr. Kyle Garner as well as Rosemary Birthing Home midwife Harmony Miller to discuss the present and future state of maternity care in Sarasota.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, December 18th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at
Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Episode 63 (Epilogue): Family Planning

Tonight’s show was focused on family planning. Hostess Cheryl welcomed Nan Gould, a Sexual Health Educator from Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, and Dr. Deanine Picciano Kirschner, who is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, acupuncture physician and licensed massage therapist.

            We began our discussion with a general overview of the menstrual cycle, of particular importance because, as Nan noted, many individuals have some confusion related to how fertility works and when individuals are most and least fertile.

We then talked to Nan about pregnancy prevention, and she shared with us the pros and cons of various birth control methods. We focused both on the common prescription methods, such as the pill, the patch, the shot, the ring, the IUD, and the implant, as well as non-prescription methods such as fertility awareness, withdraw, and condoms. We talked about the pros and cons of each method, as well as the importance of individual preference for dictating what will work best.

            Next we talked to Dr. Piccian Kirschner about planning for pregnancy and conception, and the steps that one can take in order to make their body more ready for a healthy pregnancy. She talked about the different ways in which one can get ready for pregnancy, focusing on mental, emotional, and physical aspects of preparation.

            We closed our show with a listener question session. Topics ranged from debunking the old adage of “two’s company, three’s a crowd,” to different kinds of hysterectomies, to fertility after stopping birth control, and pregnancy planning for young professionals.

            Finally, we want to share with your our results from out listener poll! We asked our listeners what kind of birth control method they relied on. We received 76 respondents in our online poll about birth control methods. The most popular forms of birth control, according to our listeners, were condoms, which were used by 28.9% of listeners, and fertility awareness, which was used by 27.6%. The withdraw ("pull-out" method) was also very popular, used by 22.4% of listeners. 85.7% of this time this method was used with another method, most often Fertility Awareness, which made up 66.7% of the respondents who used withdraw and another method. 17.1% respondents and 6.6% of respondents, respectively, reported that they relied on vasectomies or tubal ligation. Abstinence was also a popular methods, reportedly used by 10.5% of our participants, but 62.5% of respondents reported using this method with some other form of birth control. The birth control pill, either combination or progestin only ("mini-pill") was used by 10.5 percent of respondents, but only 37.5% reported using this as their only form of birth control. The hormonal IUD was used by 5.3% of respondents, while 6.6% reported using the copper IUD. 6.6% of respondents also reported that they were leaving family planning to a higher power, while 1.3% of our respondents reported that they were trying to conceive.

Episode 63: Family Planning

Join the conversation on Tuesday, December 11 at 6pm as Cheryl delves into something most families spend a lot of time thinking about: family planning. We'll have an expert from Planned Parenthood of Sarasota on to answer questions about pregnancy prevention and methods of contraception. Cheryl will also welcome back Dr. Deanine Picciano-Kirschner to give advice on preconception health and planning a pregnancy from a holistic perspective.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, December 11th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at

Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Episode 62 (Epilogue): Homeless Motherhood

The topic of tonight’s show was motherhood and homelessness, in particular being homeless during pregnancy and with young children. Tonight co-hostess Laura was joined by special guest host Joe Hendricks, freelance journalist and host of Local Matters. The show opened with a discussion of some current issues for the city of Sarasota, and how we as a community are currently dealing with and understanding homelessness. Our first guest, Shelley Rence, Program Administrator for the Healthy Start Care Coordination. She talked to us about the rise in homelessness among pregnant women and mothers that she has observed in the Sarasota area, as well as the difficultly that homeless women may have getting access to aid because of barriers like being able to obtain legal identification, transportation, waiting lists, and limits on shelter stays.

Our next guest, Ali Kleber, who currently works as a Counselor at the Day Resource Center, Resurrection House , talked with us about a larger need to rely less on the criminal justice system in order to help the homeless members of our community. She shared with us a variety of examples of this model, including shelters such as Pinellas Safe Harbor, San Antonio's Haven for Hope, the Cincinnati Works program, and the books Why Don't They Just Get a Job?  and Make the Impossible Possible.

Finally we talked to Shawna Machado, winner of the Outstanding Graduate Award from University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee in 2012 and member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, and Christian Axness, listeners to and friend of Maternally Yours. Each of these women shared with us their own experiences of homelessness, ranging from childhood to adulthood. Putting a voice to a subject which is often dehamunized in favor of stereotypical or negative perceptions of the homeless, these women emphasized the importance of community and support in helping homeless individuals.

Area Shelters and Key Resources:

The Salvation Army usually has two programs that accommodate homeless families (their definition of family is a mom & dad with children, mom with children, dad with children or even a grandmother with grandchildren): the FAITH program which is a year-long program in which parents are required to work full-time, attend life-skill classes, required savings and debt repayment, etc in exchange for a furnished apartment, utilities and food vouchers. There are a total of 12 apartments available in this program and usually has a waiting list. The other option is the Emergency Family Dorm - in which homeless families may stay up to 2 months while they look for work, housing, etc. (This is the program that is basically on a 90 day holding pattern as we are doing mold remediation in the shelter dorms.)

As best practices, Salvation Army says they try not to duplicate services of other agencies so they do not have programs specifically addressing pregnant women or new mothers. For those that do not qualify for either of the above programs, there may be special funding through their Emergency Financial Assistance programs (homeless prevention programs.) United Way 2-1-1 services can be called for initial eligibility requirements for various community programs.

The Salvation Army at the corner of 10th Street and Central Avenue Center of Hope serves 250,000 meals a year to the homeless and low-income folks living on the fringe of homelessness. The Center of Hope provides 600 to 700 free meals per day, serving three meals a day 365 days a year at an annual cost of $2 million, with only $250,000 of those costs covered by government funding. The remaining funds come from charitable donations, grants and community supporters. All Faiths Food Bank is a major provider of food supplies, and without them the feeding challenges would be far greater.

About the recently publicized mold issue, Salvation Army’s Glenda Leonard had this to say:
“You are correct our FAITH program will not be interrupted. As you know - living in Florida - mold is a reality. Our situation was basically improperly insulated A/C units that allowed moisture to collect in the ducts. It needs to be removed. The mold does not create a problem just being there. The fact that we will be disturbing the environment with the removal that can create a problem so we are taking the most conservative approach which is closing dorms while the work is done. We have closed the emergency family dorm as the first phase because it is the largest contained square footage space with the fewest number of clients. Once that area is cleaned we will move clients from another dorm to the family dorm while the remediation takes place and the process goes on - moving clients into different dorms as their area is clean, etc.."

Resurrection House :
Founded in 1989 and supported by a coalition of six local churches and generous Sarasota residents, Resurrection House is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and serves as a day haven for the homeless community. Free services include showers, laundry service, clothing, medical care, legal advice, assistance getting an I.D., storage lockers, bicycle repairs, access to discounted $8 monthly SCAT bus passes, mail and phone services, assistance making contact with family members, social service referrals, counseling, snacks and light meals and daytime shelter from the elements.

Resurrection House receives no government funding, which provides greater decision-making freedom. The funding comes from local churches and private donations in the form of money, clothing and supplies.

Despite an eight percent increase in clients served in 2011, the organization trimmed their annual operating costs from $340,271 in 2010 to $278,357 in 2011 — an 18 percent reduction.

Our Mother's House:
Low cost housing and free child care affords our single moms the opportunity to attend school. On site programs such as parenting, self-esteem and budgeting enhance the experience of living at Our Mother's House and assists moms to develop life skills for independence and self-sufficiency. House meetings and shared responsibilities afford each resident the opportunity to share in their own community. While living in a private apartment, the community setting teaches residents skills needed to live as a good neighbor and active citizen of a community.

Our Mother's house has partnered with Children's First and established an Early Head Start just for OMH children, and it is located on site. Early Head Start opened in March 2010; it is a licensed program with certified teachers who will ensure that in addition to a wonderfully warm and caring environment, children gain the skills and abilities they need to enter the public school system. The center is open Monday to Friday from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Mothers must provide diapers, wipes, food and drink, and a change of clothes daily.

Admission criteria:
· Single mother age 18 or over
· One child under 3 years of age
· Required attendance at program sponsored Life Skills Training Classes
· Expressed intention for further schooling and/or employment (have to be able to get there; gas cards always appreciated)
· Drug and alcohol free (all residents must agree to periodic & random drug testing)
· Non-threatening relationship
· (If an applicant has been in an abusive relationship, OMH needs to know in order to protect the personal safety of our residents and staff).

17 apartments; 1 vacancy now (expecting couple vacancies during winter; application on website)

Family Promise:
Family Promise is a "transitional shelter" for homeless FAMILIES (they must have minor children in their custody). They provide shelter, meals, basic needs, case management, and referrals and resources for families who've had independent housing and some job history and a crisis has displaced them from a home. They can help for 30 to 90 days. During this time adults in the program are required to work full time (if not working, first goal is to find full time work and assist in their search), and then submit 50% to 90% of EACH paycheck while with us into a SAVINGS - so they will then have enough to move into their own place after their allotted time.

Family Promise is unique because:
1. They keep families together --- no separating due to age or gender. They can house single dad's with kids (when most shelters won't).
2. They don't have a traditional "shelter building” but have local congregations (of different faiths) that partner with them to HOUSE families on a weekly rotation. Each HOST congregation (they currently have 10) take all the families in (they typically serve 3 families at a time) and set each up their own room AT their church building (they have transportable fold up beds that go site to site)- that congregation has a team of volunteers that make the meals for that week and STAY with the families AT the church in the evenings (and overnight). In the morning, families leave for school, work , or they can utilize the Family Promise Day Center if looking for work or it's their day off. The Day Center is located next door to their office, and has computers with Internet, refrigerators, microwave, phone, tv, etc --- and is available to them each day (except Saturdays when they host church allows them to come and go from their facility).

They serve between 10 and 15 families per year and have an 85% success rate of getting families BACK into their OWN home again.

SOLVE Maternity Homes:
Since 1976 SOLVE Maternity Homes has been helping women of all ages and their families with unplanned pregnancies. SOLVE has assisted over 900 women and their unborn children by providing housing for them. SOLVE operates two maternity homes in Bradenton, Florida and one in Englewood, Florida.

SOLVE Maternity Homes provides a structured program for young women and teenagers by providing housing, education, counseling, health care resources, childbirth and parenting classes, adoption assistance, and spiritual support for the duration of their pregnancies and a period of time afterbirth. Each home has a live-in house manager who oversees the day to day operation including taking residents to appointments, group activities and to the grocery store. With the help of their case manager, residents make a concrete and practical plan for their future.

941-748-0094 or email us at There is never a charge for services.

Second Chance Last Opportunity:
Second Chance-Last Opportunity (SCLO) is a community-based 501(c)(3) grassroots organization that has been offering life management skills classes to at-risk teens and their low income and/or homeless families since 1995. Clients often face multiple health, social and economic challenges, and therefore our approach is holistic as well as empowering. Along with the strategies and skills for success gained from SCLO classes, they offer counseling, health education, youth programs, food distributions, shelter referrals, all with a dose of tough love, if appropriate. Most importantly, they give back the responsibility for turning their lives around to the individuals they serve.
Programs are aimed at two segments of the ‘invisible’ population - young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and people who have multiple social and economic problems who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center):
Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, Inc. (SPARCC) was formed as a non-profit agency in 1979. SPARCC is the only state-certified center for domestic violence and sexual assault services for Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. All of SPARCC’s services are free and confidential. In addition to serving victims, SPARCC is actively engaged in promoting social change through community awareness and education, in an effort to prevent such violence in the future. SPARCC serves its clients through an Outreach Center in downtown Sarasota, satellite offices in south Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, a shelter operating 24 hours a day/365 days a year and at the local courthouses.

Mothers must be in imminent danger to seek shelter. In October, SPARCC housed more women than ever before (they have 27 beds and 5 cribs; in October they had 38-39 staying with them).

From one SPARCC employee: “The sad reality is that many women and children become homeless due to domestic violence. For some time now our emergency shelter has been full of families escaping violence. Though we never like to turn people away, we have only four families room and a high demand. Often we have to double up families or use the library or conference rooms as make shift bed rooms.
Our goal is to be a safe place for those escaping current domestic violence. We have a 24 hour hotline staffed with advocates that can assist survivors with crisis counseling, information and referrals, and safety planning.
Our services are free and confidential. Our hotline is 941-365-1976.”

As an added note on midwifery and homelessness, area midwife Christina Holmes had this to say: “Midwives who are licensed in Florida, don't attend births in homeless camps. The birth centers have & do work with homeless women and offer them a safe place to have a baby and connect them with other services within the community.”

Other Resources:
ALPHA (727)822-8190
701 5th Ave North St Petersburg, FL 33701 
Shelter for homeless pregnant women and teens

Advocates for Shelter Action Policy (ASAP) (727)823-5665
423 11th Ave South St Petersburg, FL 33701 
Emergency shelter for families women and children

Alpha Center (850)479-4391
6004 Pernella Rd Pensacola, FL 32504 
Provides services for indigent pregnant women

Amen Outreach Ministry, Shelter for Women & Children 813 374-2196
PO Box 4472 Tampa , FL 33677 
We provide emergency housing and support for up to 24 women and children in Hillsborough Cunty. We are one of the only homeless shelter for women and children who are not victims of domestic violence in the county. In addition to providing shelter, housing information and referrals, assistance in obtaining transitional/permanent housing, job search. Residents are permitted to stay at the shelter for 60 days or more if the resident is actively working towards their self-sufficiency. 

American Red Cross (941)379-9300
2001 Cantu Court Sarasota, FL 34230 
Clothing food shelter provided

Caritas of St Martha's (941) 366-5620
140 Adelia St Sarasota, FL 34236 
food/ clothing/ rent assistance provided
Sarasota Shelters 

Community Care and Share (941)483-5586
68 Sandstone Circle Venice, FL 34293 
food/vouchers/rent etc help

Family Renew Community 386-252-0711
810 Ridgewood Ave. Holly Hill, FL 32117 
Ft Myers Rescue Mission (239)334-7365
3985 Dr MLK Jr Blvd Ft Myers, FL 33916 
Emergency Shelter/Clothing/Meals on site and street

Good Samaritan Ministries (941)365-2052
2809 N Tamiani Trail Sarasota, FL 34237 
free clothing store

Good Samaritans (941)639-3335
304 Nesbit Street Punta Gorda, FL 33950 
Food/Financial Assistance Provided

HEP 727-442-9041 ex
1120 N. Betty Lane Clearwater , FL 33755 
HEP (Homeless Emergency Project Inc) Provides Homeless and very low-income Individuals and families with housing,food, clothing and support services necessary to obtain self-sufficiency and improved quality of life

Homeless Network (813)989-2508
8749 Temple Terrace Highway Tampa, FL 33637 
Volunteers help individuals obtain basic food needs/clothing/housing/and jobs

Lee County Department of Human&Housing Services (941)625-9784
21505 Augusta Avenue Port Charlotte, FL 33952 

Metropolitan Ministries (813)209-1081
2002 N Florida Ave Tampa, FL 33602 
Emergency and long term shelter for homeless families married or unmarried with children

North Port Social Services (941)486-2660
7052 Glenallen Blvd North Port, FL 34287 
Food bus fare gas vouchers provided

Our Daily Bread (941)746-4088
1424 14th St W Bradenston, FL 34205 
Provides clothing meals

Resurrection House (941)366-3559
507 Kumquat Court Sarasota, FL 34237 
Clothing food vouchers Health clinic referral service

Salvation Army (941)748-5110
1204 14th Street West Bradenton, FL 34205 
Emergency shelter for homeless men women and children. Food clothing social services provided

Salvation Army Shelter (941)364-8854
1424 4th St Sarasota, FL 34236 
Emergency Shelter /food/ vouchers/ and other assistance provided.

Salvation Army Venice Corps (941)484-6227
1051 Albee Farm Rd Venice, FL 34292 
Food clothing rent and utility service provided

St Vincent De Paul (941)953-5477
512 S Orange Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236 
Clothing household goods food pantry meals provided

St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic Church Outreach (941)743-6877
1441 Spear Street Port Charlotte, FL 33948 
Food/Rent/Utility assistance

Women Set Free Ministry (813)758-1190
1825 30th AVenue West Bradenton, FL 34205

Episode 62: Homeless Motherhood

Join the Conversation on Tuesday December 4th at 6pm, as Laura and special guest co-host Joe Hendricks of WSLR's Local Matters welcome experts to discuss what is available (and what is needed) for pregnant and new mothers who find themselves homeless. We will welcome Shelley Rence, program administrator for The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County, Inc.; Ali Kleber, volunteer and homeless advocate for The Resurrection House; and Shawna Machado, Board member for The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at Tuesday, December 4th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at
Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Episode 61 (Epilogue): Starting Solids

   The topic of tonight’s show was infant and toddler nutrition. In particular our hostesses, Ryan and Carmela, focused on starting solids. Our first guest was Eve Prang Plews, Nutrition Counselor   and WSLR mainstay. She talked with us about the importance of breast milk, if breastfeeding is possible, in a baby’s diet. While Eve encouraged listeners to breast feed solely for the first six months of life, she noted that “any is better than none, and more is better than any!” We also talked about the importance of probiotics and making sure food introductions start with children’s parents (a seasonally relevant topic when dealing with “helpful” relatives interested in feeding your baby from holiday meals.)

            Our next guest was Maggie Meade. Maggie is a mother of three who runs the amazing Wholesome Baby Food website and authored the book The Wholesome Baby Food Guide. Maggie talked to us about her passion for healthy eating, and the way in which this translate into making her own baby food for her children. Maggie and Eve joined in conversation together about introducing solids as complimentary to breast milk or formula, baby lead weaning, how to know if your child is ready to start solids, and avoiding the oft recommended first food of rice cereal.

            Finally, Eve recommended her top three foods for starting solids (carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squashes!) and left us with a discussion of the importance of adequate nutrition of both child and mother when breastfeeding.

Birth in the News:

Episode 61: First Foods

Join the Conversation on Tuesday November 27th at 6pm, as Ryan and Carmela welcome experts in infant and toddler nutrition. Local Nutrition Counselor Eve Prang Plews will share ways we can strengthen our children's health and wellness through nutrition, while author of The Wholesome Baby Food Guide, Maggie Meade, will discuss the variety of strategies available to parents who are introducing solids.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, November 27th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at

Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Episode 60 (Epilogue): Making Holidays Meaningful

The topic for tonight’s show was focused on decommercializing the holidays and making holidays meaningful. Co-hostesses Ryan and Cheryl started the discussion with activities and traditions that they participate in to make their own holidays meaningful, such as buying only local on Black Friday, hosting a large potluck with many, many friends, and putting more attention on being around the people they love.

We then talked to Amy Bowers, who blogs as  Mama Scout, and  is currently offering her own e-lab (an online course) about making the holidays meaningful. Amy shared with us tips for the holidays, such as not overextending one’s self, treating traditions as fluid and organic, and allowing new holiday experiences in favor of forcing old traditions. She also stressed the importance of buying local as a great way to remove some of the commercialized aspects of holidays, especially for individuals who are not as gifted or don’t have as much time to dedicate to crafting. As Cheryl noted, Amy gave us lots of great suggestions for “making holidays more full by making them a little more empty.”

The show ended with our co-hostesses sharing listener submissions of their favorite holiday traditions. The ideas ranged from making no-sew fleece blankets to give out to the cold or homeless on outings around town, selecting only four gifts for each loved one on a “want, need, wear, read” basis , and celebrating relaxing family time together by doing a Thanksgiving breakfast in bed.

We want to wish all of our listeners a happy holiday season, and express our gratitude to you for all your support during this time of thanks. We hope that however you choose to celebrate this season is full of great memories and lots of love.

Mama Scout  (features links to e-labs)

Ergle Christmas Tree Farm
A great, listener suggested farm in Dade City to choose a  Christmas tree and cut it down yourself

Simple Mom- 6 steps to a relaxed christmas
For our listeners celebrating a religious Christmas

Links to our “Birth in the News” stories:
Similac for Moms

World Heaviest Triplets

Episode 60: Making Holidays Meaningful

Join the Conversation tonight, Tuesday November 20th at 6pm, as Cheryl and Ryan talk about making holidays more meaningful by SIMPLIFYING! We'll be joined on the air by Mama Scout, who is a blogger, mama, and simple holiday specialist! We also want to feature YOU: our local community and listeners. Send us an email and let us know what do you do to simplify, de-commercialize, and focus on the most important things in your family in this holiday season.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, November 20th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at

Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Episode 59 (Epilogue): Gentle Discipline

The topic of tonight’s show was gentle discipline, something which can be a daily struggle for parents to do properly. We were joined in studio by two guests, Karen Leonetti and Peg Hughes. Karen  is a preschool teacher who runs Earth Angel Eco-Green Preschool in Sarasota, and is currently finishing her children’s book The Magically Delicious Rainbow Garden.  Peg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a concentration in family and child therapy, who also facilitates parenting workshops.
We first talked to Karen, who began her discussion with the three biggest triggers for childhood crankiness: being wet, tired, and hungry. She emphasized the importance of pre-planning for these events. We also talked with Karen about how to ease the difficulty of everyday transitions, such as the ride to and from school. Karen then stressed the significance of avoiding labeling children, avoiding phrases like “good girl” or “bad girl,” which may essentialize children to their actions and avoid any gains from more in-depth understanding. Kim also gave some tips on how to redirect unwanted behavior and setting children up for success throughout the day.
We then brought Peg into the conversation, who was inspired by the Love and Logic family of parenting resources. Peg highlighted the need for parents to consider the role that their own behavior plays in how children act. She urged parents to make sure that their relationships with their children were based on respect and love, and to bring positive energy into their interactions. She discussed a four prong approach to gentle parenting: making sure children preserve their self-concept, making sure they share in thinking, making sure they share the control, and delivering empathy  and consequences. She emphasized the need for parents to not take action s of children personally when they are not meant to be, and  shared  techniques for allowing children to solve their own problems.
Finally we opened our guests up to questions, and they shared with us ways to help children sit through meal time, tips for managing  phone usage and phone interruptions,  ways to help stop behaviors like biting, and how to deal with sibling rivalry.
We want to remind our listeners that Peg will be offering a workshop about staying involved with your child’s education on  Wednesday,  11/14 from 6-8 pm and  Thrusday, 11/15 from 9:30-11:30am. More information about locations and RSVP info here!

Episode 59: Gentle Discipline

Join the Conversation tonight, Tuesday November 13th at 6pm, as Laura and Ryan
welcome local child development experts Karen Leonetti and Peg Hughes to talk about Gentle Discipline. Learn tricks and tips for redirecting unwanted behavior--both theirs AND yours--and for keeping the Big Picture in mind.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, November 13th at 6:00pm ET. The program will also available later in the evening via podcast at

For more information, please contact the hostesses of Maternally Yours at, or on our facebook page at

Maternally Yours,
Cheryl, Carmela, Ryan and Laura

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Episode 58 (Epilogue): Children and Nature

Tonight’s show focused on the importance of the relationship between children and nature, the ways in which many children in our country are disconnected from nature, and what parents can do to foster a greater connection with nature in their children. We remind listeners that tonight’s show is an interactive episode, and that next week, Tuesday November 13th at 6:30 PM, we will be showing Mother Nature’s Child- Growing Outdoors in the Media Age, as part of WSLRs “Let’s Talk Series.”

Our guests tonight were Tim Seldin, Lourna McGrath , and Liz Sniegocki . Tim Seldin is the President of the Montessori Foundation  and Chair of the International Montessori Council, with almost 40 years of experience as a Montessori educator. Lourna McGrath has been working the educational field since 1974, and has been a Montessori teacher since 1991. Lourna is currently the Associate Head of the New Gate School. Liz is a freelance writer and advocate of natural and mindful living, including on her own blog Natural Nester. Liz also teaches a creative workshop for adults called “Keeping a Nature Journal- Journaling  through the Seasons.”  

We first spoke to Tim and Lourna about their careers in education and the changes which have taken place in children’s connection to nature both inside of and outside of their educational lives. Lourna discussed a cultural fear of letting kids go out on their own, and the huge change that this has caused in the way that children play and go outside.  Both Tim and Lourna talked with us about the ways in which nature has been removed from most children’s education, especially with growing focus on standardized testing and the heavy structuring of children’s schedule through planned extra circulars. We discussed the issues between free play and structured physical activities, highlighting children’s need not just to be outside in nature, but also to relinquish some of the constant supervision and structure.  Lourna discussed children’s need to down time, in order to process their days and relax without expectation, something which she noted is becoming more difficult with over scheduling. Tim also discussed the need for complex relationships, highlighting the way in which planned extra circulars and a reliance of technological communication outside of school and these activities fosters superficial relationships among children.

            The guests also offered some suggestions for how to help children foster a greater connection with nature. Lourna discussed the importance of allowing nature back into schools, highlight the importance of projects like containers gardens and bird watching in urban areas where educators may not feel like they can provide “nature.” She also focused on the need for parents to get out and do thing with their children. Tim suggested Earth Box, a ready to go gardening systems, recommended the book The After Dinner Gardening Book and extoled the virtues teaching children to grow some of their own food. He also suggested that parents take their children to buy food, particularly from places like farms and farmers markets, to teach children about where good come from. Finally he suggested family “nature museums” where parents encourage children to learn about nature with them in order to spend more time in and connect with nature.

            Next Liz talked to us about her own experiences with nature as a child, and the importance that it had to her growing up. Liz emphasized the importance that leading by example has when raising her own children, and the importance of being active and sharing individual passions with children. Our guests also emphasized the importance of not forcing children to grow up to fast, including separating children from media in order to remove pressure due to rigid media images and also to promote healthy development. Tim noted that while directing children away from media overstimulation may be difficult, it is necessary. Liz and Tim highlighted the importance of limits on media, and Liz discussed the ways in which setting these limits early and providing outdoor opportunities makes this process easier for parents. Lourna highlighted the fact the being against inappropriate and overextended uses of technology does not mean being against technology as a whole, an important fact for parents to remember.  Cheryl discussed the importance of trusting your children and removing unnecessary fear so that children can play more freely. All the guests also argued from the importance of connecting children to nature so that they can realize the importance of taking care of our planet.

            Liz talked to us about her nature class, and the importance of fostering parents connection to nature so that they can better do so for their own children. She talked about the act of journaling with children, encouraging them to use their sense to begin journaling and to help them connect to larger question that children may have about the environment around them. Liz also talked about her own families celebration of different seasons, and how this helps them to connect to nature and the yearly changes that go on within nature. Lourna discussed some of the ways in which her school helps children to connect to nature, including the utilization of a nature cabinet and the practice of flower dissection in order to directly teach children about nature. 

The Nature Conservancy's Nature Rocks program aims to inspire and empower families to play and explore in nature. Our mission is to make it easy for you to have fun in nature, and connect with others to do the same. We want all families to see for themselves how much Nature Rocks. Your kids will be happier, healthier and smarter, and besides, it is generally free and a rockin’ way to create and share fun quality family time. To check out the program, visit www.NatureRocks.ORG there you will find a variety of fabulous resources, like their free downloadable PDF of seasonal Nature Activities, searchable activities by age and location area, events, and local places to find nature. They also have amazing extras… anything from a treasure hunt to nature photography tips.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Episode 57 (Epilogue): How to Avoid Unwanted Intervention

Photo from

This week’s episode focused on medical intervention, and how expectant mothers can avoid them. Cheryl and Carmela begun the discussion by talking about the fact that 1/3 of U.S. mothers give birth surgically, while half of all labors in the United States are induced or augmented with medication.
Our first guest was Nicette Jukelevics, childbirth educator, researcher, and author of  Understanding the Dangers of Cesarean Birth: Making Informed Decisions. Nicette  talked with us about the different ways in which mothers can avoid medical intervention during labor, as well as what measures are important for expectant mothers to take in order to find supportive care providers. Nicette discussed the widespread usage of interventions, from IV’s, to epidurals, to episiotomies, to labor inducers, as well as how the usage of these interventions may increase risk for more serious interventions such as Cesarean sections. Nicette argued that this model of routinely used intervention is not the only way, and that research shows the reduced intervention combined with evidence based care is actually linked to the best birthing outcomes.
Nicette also provided our listeners with a variety of different aspects of birth and care for expectant mothers to consider. She noted that when thinking of what questions to ask one’s care provider, it is important to hone in on what you are expecting from a birth and what needs must be met by that type of a provider. For example, Nicette noted that in the case of a midwife assisted birth it was important to find out the midwife’s back up plans if a complication were to arise, while in the case of a hospital birth it was important to find out the content of the hospital’s admission and consent form in order to better understand their routine protocol.  Nicette also talked to us about the benefit of having a doula, specifically in a hospital setting. Nicette described a doula as a specially trained birth companion who provides continuous emotional and physical support during birth and immediately postpartum, and noted that women who have doulas often report having faster births with less intervention.
Our discussion with Nicette ended with a discussion of C-sections. Nicette pointed to many scheduled C-sections being related to third trimester ultrasounds, which have not been proven to improve health outcomes, but have led to more scheduled C-sections due to measurement of baby’s size which categorize them as being “too large” for vaginal delivery. Nicette also discussed breeched birth, and despite the fact that 65% of external versions are successful in getting a baby into the traditional birthing position,  many people do not know about this, and instead go along with a scheduled C-section without trying it. Nicette also talked about the need for more doctors who are trained in birth breeching in the US, and that breeched birthing attempt should attend to position of breech and health of mother and baby, and not necessarily jump to planned C-sections as a first option. We also discussed with Nicette the fact that anyone has the right to refused a C-section, and that preforming one on someone who does not consent is illegal. We ended our discussion with Nicette on the topic of VBACs, or vaginal births after Cesarean, and encouraged women who are attempting a VBAC to make sure that they have a care provider who is supportive of their wishes.
Our final guest was Mary Catherine Hamelin. Mary talked to us about her own success in obtaining the natural vaginal birth that she wanted in a hospital setting. She noted that the most important aspects to achieving this goal are to be informed, confident, and to have support. She also described the ways in which her own support in the hospital model inspired her to become  a doula who could in turn help other receive this same kind of care. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Episode 56 (Epilogue): Maternal Mortality

On tonight’s episode we discussed the current situation surrounding maternal mortality in the United States. We discussed the fact that maternal mortality rates have doubled in the past twenty years, and that according to Amnesty International, it's more dangerous to give birth in the United States than in 49 other nations, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea.

We first talked to Ina May Gaskin, founder and director of the Farm Midwifery Center, located near Summertown, Tennessee. Founded in 1971, by 2011, the Farm had handled approximately 3000 births, with remarkably good outcomes. Ina May discussed with us how maternal mortality in the United States came to be a topic of interest and passionate activism for her. Ina May discussed the issues with the system which counts maternal mortality, lack of knowledge about the current situation in the US, and lack of standardization across states for death certificates. She argued the need for expanding time frames in which an individual has a death related to pregnancy, extending to a year, so that we, as a nation, have a more accurate picture of the current situation in the United States, as well as changes like post-partum visits after hospital births and adequate knowledge given to patients about the risk of complications related to medical interventions.  We talked about methods that other countries use, such as the Saving Mothers Lives report issued by the United Kingdom every three years to examine the causes of death for mothers lost and strategies to reduce their rates, which have proven effective. She also discussed the Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, and how this project to help focus people’s attention on the issues surrounding maternal mortality. Gaskin called listeners to educate themselves about maternal mortality and identifying problems within the current framework. Ina May Gaskin ended with asking us to “Spread the word!”

We next talked to Lauren Young, who lost her sister, Pam, passed away after given birth.  Lauren talked to us how a Cytotec induced birth ultimately led to medical complication which resulted in the loss of Pam’s life. Lauren talked to us about how despite the controversy surrounding Cytotec, neither Pam nor her husband were informed of the risks involved with the drug. Lauren talks to us about the ways in which this experience has led her to call for greater awareness among individuals about potential birthing risk, as well as for a call to medical professionals to adequately discuss the hazards associated with certain medicines and interventions.

Finally, supermodel Christy Turlington Burns joined us to discuss her advocacy in maternal health. Christy founded the organization Every Mother Counts, participating in their second ING NYC Marathon November 4th to raise awareness about and proceeds for the cause. We discussed her documentary film, No Woman, No Cry. She discussed with us how her own experience with a birthing complication led her on a journey to learn more about the subject, and ultimately lead her on her journey towards maternal mortality activism.  In particular, Christy pointed out the need for access to adequate maternal health care, both international, where access may be entirely unavailable, and here in the United States, where issues like lack of insurance may hinder access to quality care.

We closed with a story that relates to last week’s discussion of infant loss. In our previous week’s show we talked to Arielle Carrillo about the loss of her full-term stillborn daughter Tanwen. This week we shared with you a healing act of beauty that occurred between Arielle and the family of midwife Jennifer Wollheim, who passed away in childbirth days after Arielle’s loss. Arielle donated her breast milk to this family.

Maddy Oden is a friend of Maternally Yours and a staunch advocate for maternal health, following the loss of her daughter Tatia in 2001. When asked about her beliefs on why this crisis exists in America, Maddy offered these sobering statistics:
  • The US is 50th in the world in maternal deaths.
  • African American women are four times as likely to die as white women in childbirth in the US.
  • Latina/Spanish-speaking women are three times as likely to die as white women in childbirth in the US. 
Continues Maddy: "These statistics are totally unacceptable. Inherent racism in the US medical industry is the foundation of cultural incompetence on the part of the provider and general mistrust of the medical institution on the part of women of color (based on history). These factors lead to lack of access to prenatal care, which leads to poor birth outcomes including preterm births, low birth weight, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, preclampsia, gestational diabetes, high C-Section rate, and death of the mother and/or death of the child.

The Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation was created after the death of my daughter and granddaughter, to educate and empower women around the issues of childbirth and pregnancy. Our focus  is on maternal mortality in US, off label use of drugs and informed consent. We feel that by addressing and attacking these issues directly through our dealings with the FDA and presentations to a wide variety of audiences including midwives, doulas, high schools, churches , Amnesty International events, and other gatherings we are able to educate women and encourage them to trust their instincts regarding what is best for themselves and their babies during pregnancy, childbirth and through their lives in general."

Additional resources:

Ways to Help:
    Three panels of The Safe Motherhood Quilt on display at the Selby Public Library, Sarasota, 2009
  • Host a display of the Safe Motherhood Quilt in your community
  • Donate your time and talent to creating a quilt square for a lost mother
  • Run or walk in a 5K on November 4th with Team Every Mother Counts
  • Contact your elected officials TODAY and refer to the talking points listed below
  • Contact your local hospital and ask them what their policies are on Cytotec, early elective induction and cesarean delivery, and postpartum visitation
  • Talk to your colleagues, neighbors, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends about the importance of maternal healthcare in the United States and around the world
Ina May Gaskin's List of Steps to Reduce the Maternal Death Rate, from Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta:
    1. Make every one of the fifty states us the US Standard Death Certificate, so that for the first time in our history, we would have consistency in how data on maternal health is gathered.
    2. Create effective penalties for misreporting, misclassifying, or falsifying information on death certificates.
    3. Create and require training programs for doctors and anyone else authorized to fill in a death certificate in maternity hospitals.
    4. Pass legislation at the national level to provide confidentiality to state maternal mortality review committees.
    5. Require that insurance companies pay for an autopsy following the death of a woman of childbearing age in every case where the family agrees to the autopsy, to help contribute to research that will prevent deaths in the future. Countries with national health care systems do this as a matter of course, since it contributes to preventing more deaths (their main priority).
    6. Encourage the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to emulate the example of its UK counterpart, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, by periodically publishing a detailed and informative book as part of its effort to identify, review, study and learn from maternal deaths in the US.