Category Archives: Fatherhood

Working Together for Healthy Families and Healthy Babies

village

By Juanita White, Community Building Manager
Binghampton Development Corporation

I have the honor of belonging to a special group of women of all ages who get together at various times throughout the year. We make up reasons to get together but we really do it because we grew to enjoy each other’s company over the year. We like to get together and do “women things” and talk “women talk.”

One of the women revealed to us about three years ago that she had a miscarriage. She told us months after the incident so that we wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. That would make her sad, she told us, and we respected that. She lost the baby early in her pregnancy but as any woman who has ever been pregnant knows, loss hurts and loss of a baby, your own flesh and blood, hurts worse than anything. So we understood that she and her husband wanted to bear that pain in private, away from questioning, though caring, friends.

We had a luncheon together in late 2014 to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of the women in the group. We were all in high spirits, having a grand old time. Our friend, “Gloria” I’ll call her though that is not her name, joined us. Gloria celebrated with us but she was not her usual self. Oh yes, she laughed at the over-the-hill jokes and the gag gifts but those big, light brown doe eyes seemed a little sad to some of us. Nobody pried; we respect each other’s privacy. We sensed that something was wrong but assumed she was still grieving the loss and maybe getting pregnant was difficult. We didn’t know. We didn’t ask.

One day Gloria’s sister, a friend of mine, told me that Gloria did indeed get pregnant again but lost that child too. I was heartbroken; I know how much she wants to be a mother. Her sisters have children and she, being the youngest, wanted to start a family too. Gloria is young – 32 – so she was in her late 20’s when her body started betraying her, giving her false hopes of motherhood, only to snatch her dreams away.

There was some reason to be hopeful, her sister told me. Gloria and her gynecologist worked together to determine the root cause of the problem. Gloria has a small medical issue that would not keep her from carrying a child to term but they needed to find the right medical interventions to help her carry the baby to term. The doctor did some research, found another doctor to collaborate with her on Gloria’s particular issue, and decided upon a plan. Gloria was generally healthy-she ate right, drank a little, not too much, exercised a bit. (Hey, who can hit the gym five days a week? Well, great for you but….) Anyway, together the three formed a team and determined to see Gloria become a mother one day.

Long story short: Gloria and her husband became parents of a 7 lb. healthy baby boy in early 2016.  We hosted the “bluest” baby shower in Memphis and named ourselves  “The Godmothers.”

The story here is that healthy women have healthy babies. Doctors who work with their patients can help women prepare for a healthy full term birth. Good health care is important. Birth spacing matters.  Being stress-free is a MUST. Having supportive family and friends means everything.   In the end “A Healthy Pregnancy= A Healthy Baby.”

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Visible, Vocal, and Valuable Fathers

  3V Leader

By: Charlie Caswell, CEO 3V Leader

I know many of you are asking.What is a 3V father? Well I am glad you asked. A 3V father is a father who is Visible, Vocal, and Valuable to his family and community. A 3V father is one who understands the need to be a provider for his family and faithful to his mate. A 3V father is one who spends time with his children, training them up in the way they should go. A 3V father is one who loves his neighbors and cares for his community by spending time volunteering and giving back.

Unfortunately, we live in a time when men are not being the strong men we need them to be for their families and communities. Dr. Martin L. King Jr. stated “A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.” There is no doubt as we witness some of the highest youth violence rates in our country history, highest Infant Mortality rates, some of the highest divorce rates, and almost half the country is single family households.

  • There are 112 million unmarried people over age 18 in the U.S., representing nearly 47% of the adult population. U.S. Census Bureau. (as of 2012)
  • In 2010, unmarried households were 45% of all U.S. households. – U.S. Census Bureau. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2010
  • 44.9% of the unmarried population aged 18 and older are female. For every 100 unmarried women there are 88 unmarried men. -U.S. Census Bureau. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2010
  • 23% of the unmarried population aged 18 and older are people of color and 77.% are white. While a clear majority of the unmarried population is white, it is considerably more racially diverse than the married population. – U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), 2007.

Do you know what these numbers say to me? Where are the real men who are willing to be great fathers? I am a married father of six beautiful children.

I come from a blended family of 17 brothers and sisters. My father was in my life even though my parents separated at an early age in my life. He was very ill most of my life, but he still came to get me and my brother on the weekend and took us over his house to spend time with us. My father did not have much money yet he had a whole lot of love for his children, his family, and his community.

Fathers I know it could be tough especially for those of you who are dealing with a number of struggles in society. I would say to you no matter what trials you may face always keep God first in your life. Never give up on your family especially your children. They did not ask to come into this world, and we cannot leave it to the world to raise them.

I would like to share a short testimony with you as a man and father who is currently in my second marriage to an awesome woman and mother of four of my children. I am the first to say I am nowhere near prefect and I could have done a lot of things different in life. Yet I did not let that stop me from being there for my first set of children which are twin girls from my first marriage. What I did do and I applaud my first wife for her part in this is we moved ourselves and our feelings out the way and put the children best interest first. And because of that our girls just graduated this spring from high school and they received full scholarships to a four year university. Thankfully they have always been some very respectful girls who always made great grades in school.

Here are some tips of being a 3V Father:

  • Never let tough situations (with ex-mates) stop you from loving your children
  • Always make time to spend with your child even if it’s just a walk in the park. They will never forget it. (Money to a child is not important. They want that quality time with their father.)
  • Show up at their school (This will keep them focused on education when they see you are concerned)
  • Let your children see you showing love to your spouse. (Me, hugging and kissing my wife in front of my babies always makes my kids smile)
  • Spend time with your child doing something for others such as feeding the homeless, raking leaves for your elderly neighbor, etc.
  • Surround yourself with other good fathers and share ways you all could support each other.

Fathers especially those of you who are Visible, Vocal, and Valuable to your children, family, and community, I Salute You! It is men like you who make our communities safe. It is your children that are doing the right thing and not mobbing and bullying others. I am reminded of you when I think about the words of Fredrick Douglass “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

And to my brothers who may be struggling to be that man and father you seek to be. I want to say to you don’t give up. I am that testimony even though it may not start off right it is not over until God says it’s over. You may have failed yet get back up and try again. Our future 3V Leaders are depending on you.

If you would like to get more information on how you can become a 3V Father or even if you desire to be more Visible, Vocal, and Valuable to your community. Go to my website www.caswell-28.wix.com/3VLeader and I will gladly follow up with you.

Sincerely,

Charlie Caswell