Read more:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Episode 52 (Epilogue): Blended Families

To start the show we discussed next week’s WSLR membership drive. We encouraged our wonderful listeners to consider volunteering for the membership drive or to think about contributing. We also reminded everyone to listen to our special birthday show next week, where we will be hearing from some of our area midwives about their own birth stories.

We then gave an update about Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s board meeting regarding the lactation counseling program. There has been no official response from SMH or from Women and Children’s Services, but we do know that the cutting of this program was not a board decision, but instead an already approved measure on the 2013 budget. There is talk of a concession in which patients will pay a fee to receive these services. Although this may not seem like the best option, as it may lead to widening gaps in access to care based on socioeconomic position, it means not doing away we the program entirely. We ended this conversation by reminding listeners that some kind of solution must be made by October 1st, and asking if anyone in our community has any idea which may be the answer the problem.

The topic of this show was blended families, also known as stepfamilies, and the unique parenting situations which these types of families must face. To give us some perspective on the particular challenges stepfamilies deal with, we first talked to Jerold Stone. Jerry is an area Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who also works closely within the 12th Judicial Circuit as a forensic consultant, custody evaluator, parenting coordinator and mediator. Jerry focused the conversation on the challenges that children face when entering into stepfamilies. He highlighted the fact that children do not choose to enter into these new family relationships, and emphasized the need for consistency, support, and fostering trust in these children. We discussed some of the specific issues faced by children entering into blended families, such as feelings of exclusion on multiple different familial levels (“old” family, “new” family, stepparent’s extended family) and feelings of loneliness. Jerry also concentrated, however, on the ways in which parents of stepfamilies can create positive family bonds, such as working on successful co-parenting, identifying and addressing problems in the family unit, and educating themselves about issues relevant to blended families. In particular, Jerry pointed to the New York Longitudinal Study as a resource for individuals to identify their “temperament style” and learn to work with one another in parenting.

We next move to talk to some local parents about their experiences living in blended families. We spoke with Moriah Herrygers and Kim and Dustin Cooley. They discussed what they had found to be most important to creating successful stepfamilies within their own household, honing in on children’s need for consistency. These parents also talked with Jerry Stone about children’s ability to absorb negativity between their parents and partners, and the need to try to keep relationships with ex’s as stable and positive as possible for the children’s sake.

Resources from the Show:
Children First- Nurturing Dad's Initative
Stepfamily Network Forum 
Remarriage Works Online Magazine 

Episode 52: Blended Families

Join the Conversation tonight, 9/25 at 6pm as Ryan discusses the unique joys and specific challenges that are encountered by blended families. A blended family, more traditionally called a stepfamily, refers to a family in which one or both of the partners have children from a previous relationship. We will be talking with local parents of blended families and experts in order to gain insight, share resources, and focus on the specific parenting needs of blended families in our community.

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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Maternally Yours to Give BIRTH to Sarasota

Think giving birth is just one day so your birth choices don’t matter? Think again.

Playwright Karen Brody interviewed over one hundred low-risk, educated mothers about their birth experiences and turned what she discovered into a critically acclaimed play BIRTH. Learn more at

Maternally Yours, a weekly program on Sarasota’s Community Radio station WSLR 96.5 LPFM, is bringing BIRTH: A Play by Karen Brody to Sarasota. Performances will be held in the New College of Florida Black Box Theater on October 5 and 6 at 7pm, and at Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center on October 7 at 4pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door, and are available at Special rates for seniors, military, children and group rates are available, and New College of Florida students are free with student ID.

Obstetrician-gynecologist and best-selling author Christiane Northrup, MD, says, “Now it’s time to free birth canals – and pregnant women everywhere. And that is the power and glory contained in this magnificent, funny and wonderfully wise play.” The three Sarasota performances are being directed by International Institute of Performing Arts Artistic Director Aurelia Nolin. The play stars BOLD members of our community:  Tara Allen, Catey Brannan, Sonia Castillo, Dhakeria Cunningham, Kassandra Devlin, Alvin Jenkins, Melanie Malefyt, April Noss, Tina Sommers, Autumn Venafro and Clare Ward-Jenkins.

Brody founded BOLD in 2006 with the intention to use her play to raise awareness and money that promotes childbirth choices that work for mothers “Childbirth today is a human rights issue,” states Brody, who spent a year interviewing over 100 low risk women before writing her play. “Choices in childbirth have been severely restricted for this large population of pregnant women for years despite strong evidence-based research supporting a wide variety of birth choices.”

Since 2006 nearly 100 BOLD locations have raised over $250,000 for organizations that support maternity care reform. The BOLD performance in Sarasota will benefit  WSLR, Sarasota's Community Radio Station. A Red Tent Expo and TalkBack! Session will accompany each performance. For tickets and more information about the play and the BOLD movement please visit Questions may be directed to Maternally Yours at

Cast of the 2012 Maternally Yours Production of BIRTH: A Play by Karen Brody
(left to right, top row: Kassandra Devlin, Clare Ward-Jenkins, Autumn Venafro, Catey Brannan, Melanie Malefyt, Intern Lauren Brenzel; middle row: April Noss, Sonia Castillo, Dhakeria Cunningham, Alvin Jenkins, Director Aurelia Nolin; bottom row Tina Sommers, Tara Allen.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Episode 51 (Epilogue): Single Parenting

Our show opened with a discussion of the cutting of funding for the postpartum lactation counseling visits, and the efforts being made in our community to bring this program back! We also discussed our cohostess’s Laura Gilkey’s recent column about this issue in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

Tonight’s show focused on single parents, or the parent who children have residency with the majority of time.

We first talked to Michelle Turner, a 15 year Sarasota resident, owner of Zen Blossom Organic           Skincare and single mother of David Vishnu. We focused on the need for support, particularly in the first few weeks of a child’s life, and the importance of finding, and creating, time for yourself           in order to stay healthy.

We then talked to Karim Ghazli, who became the father or Ali after her adoptive mother, Karim’s partner, passed away. Karim discussed the challenges faced by him and Ali after her mother’s passing, resources that Karim accessed in the community, such as Jack Baker’s fathering classes at Children First, and the particular challenges of setting boundaries and creating rules as single parent.

We also talked to Alanna Swor, who just recently gave birth to her child, Beijah Zen, as a single           mother. We discussed about the trials of finding work as a pregnant single woman, the (somewhat difficult) process of  receiving benefits as a single mother, the strugles involved with time and energy management as a new and single parent. Alanna also stressed the importance of staying healthy, and talked about the importance of the birthing community in her journey of finding support as a single parent.
Finally we heard from Rebecca Lockwood from the Forty Carrots Family Center about the impact that a single parent family may have on children. She noted that some of the biggest challenges that single parent children face is a lack of support from others in their community, the greater responsibility that they may face, and increased potential for inconsistency if they move between living situations. She also discussed the important of same-gender positive role models, especially role models which aren’t romantically involved with the child parent, in children’s lives. She stressed that as long as children are provided with the emotional support that they need, particularly safe spaces, stability and the ability to express themselves, then they will be able to grow into emotionally healthy and stable adults. See resources section for more information about the resources mentioned by Rebecca.

Episode 51: Single Parenting

Most people imagine a "family" as having two parents. However, here in the US there are over 13 million single parents raising more than one quarter of America's children. These parents are the sole providers for their families and their lives are both challenging and rewarding. Join the Conversation on Tuesday, 9/18 at 6pm ET as Carmela and Ryan discuss the trials and triumphs of Single Parenting with the experts - single parents themselves.

Tune into WSLR 96.5 LPFM or online at tonight, Tuesday, September 18th at 6:00pm ET.  The program will also available later in the evening via podcast on our website 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, September 12, 2012

Episode 50 (Epilogue): Raising Boys, Raising Girls

We dedicated Episode 50 to the more than 100 women who were carrying babies of husbands or boyfriends killed in the attacks on September 11, 2011. For a downloadable resource on how to speak with your children about the events of that day, please visit

Our first guest was Ms. Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, and Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness, and Thug Culture. We asked Lisa about her popular piece "How to Talk to Little Girls," and squelching the societal impulse to speak to little girls first (or only) about their appearance. She suggests asking about their favorite book, for example, instead. We talked about her "Dumb American Syndrome" theory, during which she pointed out that many college students can name more Kardashians than current wars in which the U.S. is engaged. We discussed the damaging effects of screen time, from lack of activity to negative violent influences to self-depricating media messages. Lisa suggested that we as parents speak to our children every time we see a media message that can be damaging or lower the self-esteem of our kids. Ryan mentioned again the film Miss Representation for our listeners that would like to learn more about women and girls in the media.

Next we welcomed Dr. Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys. We talked about our society's too-narrow definition of masculinity, and the idea that this is driven in part by marketing (Dr. Thompson referred to the idea of "packaging" boyhood or girlhood as theorized by Lynn Brown). We talked about the lack of adequate outside play at most schools, that children, especially boys, are underexercised and overconfined. Boys learn better with more time for physical activity (Dr. Thompson referred to David Elkind's The Power of Play). We talked about the fact that girls are excelling at every grade level and boys are falling behind. He suggests honoring a boy's internal language by teaching him how to develop his emotional vocabulary. To teach empathy, model empathy. Dr. Thompson also talked about athletic groups and boys, and the value of a positive male role model. He referred listeners to football coach Joe Ehrmann's InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives. Dr. Thompson and his Raising Cain co-author Dan Kindlon said, "Strong and healthy boys are made strong by acceptance and affirmation of their humanity. We all have a chance to do that every day, every time we in the presence of a boy and we have a chance to say to him, 'I recognize you. You are a boy — full of life, full of dreams, full of feeling.'"

Finally we had a fascinating discussion with Emily Fairchild, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at New College of Florida. She helped us understand the difference and distinction between sex, gender, and orientation, and the confusion over the amount of influence one has over another. She reinforced that we need to accept a wide range of behaviors in boys and girls, and understand that gender is a culturally created phenomenon. She encourages her students to "see gender everywhere."

The Flirtations took us out with a song called Everything Possible. The lyrics read:
Some girls grow up strong and bold
Some boys are quiet and kind
Some race on ahead, some follow behind
Some grow in their own space and time.

Gender in Media: The Myths & Facts (from the Geena Davis Institute)

MYTH: Boys and girls are equally represented in film and television.
FACT: Even among the top-grossing G-rated family films, girl characters are out numbered by boys three-to-one.
That's the same ratio that has existed since the end of World War II. For decades, male characters have dominated nearly three-quarters of speaking parts in children's entertainment, and 83% of film and TV narrators are male. The Institute's research indicates that in some group scenes, only 17% of the characters are female. These absences are unquestionably felt by audiences, and children learn to accept the stereotypes represented. What they see affects their attitudes toward male and female values in our society, and the tendency for repeated viewing results in negative gender stereotypes imprinting over and over.

MYTH: Family entertainment is a safe haven for female characters.
FACT: Astoundingly, even female characters in family films serve primarily as "eye candy."
Female characters continue to show dramatically more skin than their male counterparts, and feature extremely tiny waists and other exaggerated body characteristics. This hypersexualization and objectification of female characters leads to unrealistic body ideals in very young children, cementing and often reinforcing negative body images and perceptions during the formative years. Research shows that lookism still pervades cinematic content in very meaningful ways.

MYTH: Things are looking great for females behind the camera.
FACT: Females behind the camera fall far behind their male contemporaries and are at a distinct disadvantage in the entertainment industry.
Only 7% of directors, 13% of writers, and 20% of producers are female. With such a dearth of female representation in front of and behind the camera, it's a struggle to champion female stories and voices. The Institute's research proves that female involvement in the creative process is imperative for creating greater gender balance before production even begins. There is a causal relationship between positive female portrayals and female content creators involved in production. In fact, when even one woman writer works on a film, there is a 10.4% difference in screen time for female characters. Sadly, men outnumber women in key production roles by nearly 5 to 1.

MYTH: Girls on screen compare favorably to their male counterparts.
FACT: Messages that devalue and diminish female characters are still rampant in family films.
Gender stereotyping is an inherent problem in today's entertainment landscape, and children are the most vulnerable recipients of depictions that send the message that girls are less valuable and capable than boys. The Institute's research illustrates that female characters who are lucky enough to garner speaking roles tend to be highly stereotyped. From 2006 to 2009 not one female character was depicted in G-rated family films in the field of medical science, as a business leader, in the law, or in politics. 80.5% of all working characters are male and 19.5% are female, which is a contrast to real-world statistics of women comprising 50% of the workforce. With repeated viewings, young audiences may fail to realize this lopsided view is not, in fact, reality and believe there is no need for gender parity or industry change. Today's children will be our future business leaders, content creators and parents and the ones who need to lead the charge for future generations.

MYTH: Gender imbalance issues have gotten better over time.
FACT: Statistically, there has been little forward movement for girls in media in six decades.
For nearly 60 years, gender inequality on screen has remained largely unchanged and unchecked. Without an educational voice and force for change, this level of imbalance is likely to stay the same or worsen. Only through education, research, and advocacy both from within the studio system and entertainment industry, and with parents and kids, can we effect real change in this heavily gender-biased media landscape.

Much of the research we cited at the top of the show came from the websites of our guests, as well as the 'Raising Boys' and 'Raising Girls' sections of the PBS Parents website.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Episode 50: Raising Girls, Raising Boys

Join the Conversation tonight, Tuesday, 9/11 at 6pm ET as Laura (mother of two sons) and Ryan (mother of a daughter) discuss the special nuances, modern issues, and differences between raising girls and raising boys in today's world.

We will welcome Ms. Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World and Swagger: 10 Urgent Rules for Raising Boys in an Era of Failing Schools, Mass Joblessness and Thug Culture, as well as Dr. Michael Thompson, consultant, author, psychologist, and co-author of Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, among other works focusing on children in today's culture. We will also be joined in the studio by New College of Florida Sociology Professor Emily Fairchild, whose academic focus is on gender issues.

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

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Episode 49 (Epilogue): Celebrating Grandparents

Tonight on Maternally Yours we celebrated grandparents. National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year. Ryan and Carmela shared stories of their own grandparents before exploring the issue of grandparents raising grandchildren.  

Joined by LaSandra McGrew, LCSW of The Florida Kinship Center, we discussed FKC's mission and service offerings. Ms. McGrew, who has been working with FKC for 12 years, shared statistics regarding the number of kinship families in Florida - 345,000 children in Florida are being cared for by their grandparents though these numbers may be much higher. While in the past many grandchildren came to be cared for by their grandparent due to drug abuse or incarceration, more recently, economic conditions are driving more and more families to turn to grandparents for the full time care of their children. Ms. McGrew later reviewed some of the common challenges a kinship family may face - financial, emotional and housing issues being the top three. The most devastating piece of information shared by Ms. McGrew is that funding for programs for kinship families is being cut. "It's very difficult to explain [budget cuts] to the caregivers", said Ms. McGrew, "They are just beside themselves".

We then welcomed Sheri Clarry, a local mother and grandmother who is raising her 6 month old grandson. Sheri shared the joys and challenges that come with raising a grandchild. She was very clear in her conviction that kinship families should seek support and encouragement in their endeavors. She was also adamant that all families must be politically active and seek changes needed to support "the things that are keeping our nation going with these children we're raising". "Get out there and vote", Sheri said. 

Sheri, we couldn't agree more.


Episode 49: Celebrating Grandparents

Join the Conversation tonight, 9/4 at 6pm EST as Ryan and Carmela celebrate National Grandparents Day. We will share stories about our own grandparents, welcome local grandparents raising their own grandchildren, and learn how to cultivate the wisdom and heritage of our elders.

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