Thursday, March 20th, 2014
A Massachusetts mother saved her 2-year-old twin daughters as they, buckled inside a closed car, rolled toward an open road. Mindy Tran, the 22-year-old mother, acted quickly by making herself a “speed bump,” lying down to block the car’s progress. “I don’t consider myself a hero,” she told reporters, “I am just a mother.” More from ABC News:
Tran says she is lucky to be alive after she lay on the ground behind her Honda Accord to stop it from rolling into the street with her kids still inside. “I laid down horizontally, using my body as a speed bump to stop the car,” she said.
Her 2-year-old daughters were buckled in the back seat when the car started rolling. A neighbor also came to help.
“My neighbor jumped in and he asked what I wanted them to do,” she said. “I said make sure my daughter’s got out of the car safely.”
Her neighbor was able to get the girls out and they were uninjured, she added. “My daughters and I are all right and keeping our heads up,” she said. “I’m lucky to be alive.”
There was no damage to the car, Lawrence Fire Department Chief John Marsh said. “Firefighters responded to the apartment and they stabilized the car with wooden blocks and then used an airbag to lift the car off Tran,” he said, adding that she was eventually airlifted to a Boston-area hospital.
“We’ve seen something like this before,” he said. “It is an unfortunate accident and somehow her car wasn’t in gear.”
Tran says she cannot walk and will have surgery in the coming days, along with physical therapy. “I crushed my knee, injured my hips and dislocated a shoulder,” she said.
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Thursday, February 13th, 2014
Fourteen-year-old Will Hart has made headlines, and cast a positive light on a very snowy winter, by creating a simple message into the snow on top of a parking garage visible from his mother’s hospital room, where she is undergoing treatment for a recently diagnosed leukemia. Today.com reports:
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To boost her spirits, the teen made a simple gesture that brought joy not only to his mom, Shari Hart, but to many others at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago as well.
On Saturday, as Will headed to the hospital with his dad and uncle, the trio shuffled their feet through the snow on top of a parking garage to form a message from Will: “Hi Mom,” with a smiley face inside the O just for fun.
From the garage across the street, he called Hart and coaxed her to her 14th floor window, where she proudly waved down to her son. The snowy note came as Hart, who has acute myeloid leukemia, was exhausted from chemotherapy.
“It was very sweet and I felt very uplifted,” said Hart, 48. “My son is an amazing 14-year-old with an ability to make me smile any time of day.”
It’s not the only heartwarming snow message appearing outside of hospitals. Earlier this week, an unknown woman and man stomped the word “Love” and a peace symbol outside of the St. Cloud Hospital in Minnesota.
After visiting his wife in the hospital, Hart’s husband, Tim, felt the trio should add to their message to inspire fellow patients and the doctors and nurses caring for them. They planned for “God Bless You All,” but ran out of space, with room only for: “God Bless U” in large capital letters.
“It was a proud mommy moment, and being married to someone who wants to send a message to so many people is beyond wonderful,” said Hart, married for 24 years. “The amount of love there is just incredible.”
Will noticed that people were watching from other windows in the hospital, some waving and jumping up and down with excitement.
One of those was Angela Washek, a surgical intensive care unit nurse, who snapped a photo and shared it with hospital officials. After the hospital posted the photo on its Facebook page Monday, Will’s 18-year-old sister, Hannah, identified her family. “It brought joy to my whole unit and our patients’ families just as much as I’m sure it brought joy to your family,” Washek wrote on Facebook to Hannah.
Monday, August 12th, 2013
Mothers with a specific gene that makes them more prone to stress during times of transition and uncertainty may be more likely to treat their children harshly or abusively during times of economic downturn, according to a new analysis of data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. CBS News has more:
Moms who had a variation in a gene called “DRD2 Taq1A genotype” were shown in a new study to be more likely to react negatively to economic changes in their environment compared to moms who didn’t possess the variant.
The DRD2 Taq1A genotype has been shown to control how the body creates dopamine, a neurotransmiter that regulates behavior in the reward-based pathway in the brain.
The researchers looked at data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFS), which included almost 5,000 children born in 20 U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000. The mothers were interviewed after giving birth, and when their child was 1, 3, 5 and 9 years of age. Information on parenting behavior was gathered when the child was 3, 5 and 9 years old.
Harsh parenting was determined by the mother’s score on the Conflict Tactics Scale, which included questions on five items on psychological harsh parenting — like shouting or threatening the child — and five more items on corporal punishment, like slapping or spanking.
Saliva DNA samples were also collected from 2,600 mothers and children when the child was nine to test for the genetic variant.
After gathering the data, the researchers took into account the economic conditions where the subjects were living, focusing on unemployment rates. They then discovered that moms who had the “sensitive” allele or variation of the DRD2 Taq1A genotype — which they called the “T allele” — were more abusive towards their children when the economy was bad, such as during the 2007-2009 Great Recession. Mothers without this genetic variation were no more likely to act harshly towards their children during this time.
When economic situations improved, mothers with the sensitive T allele were not as harsh compared to the other mothers.
They also discovered that high levels of unemployment among the subjects did not increase how abusive a mom was. Mothers with the T allele were more likely to be mean with their children when the economy was bad, even if they personally did not lose their job or had any personal changes because of the recession.
Instead, the overall unemployment rate of the city they lived in and their confidence in the economy played a larger role. A 10 percent increase in the overall unemployment rate was linked to a 16 percent increase in maternal harsh parenting among those with the T allele.
Image: Angry mother and daughter, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
Dr. Daniel Stern, the psychiatrist who coined the term “motherese” to describe the unique way mothers communicate with babies, has died. The New York Times has more on his life and work:
“Dr. Stern was noted for his often poetic language in describing how children respond to their world — how they feel, think and see. He wrote one of his half-dozen books in the form of a diary by a baby. In another book, he told how mothers differ psychologically from women who do not have children. He coined the term “motherese” to describe a form of communication in which mothers are able to read even the slightest of babies’ emotional signals.
Dr. Stern, who did much of his research at what is now Weill Cornell Medical College and at the University of Geneva, drew inspiration from Jay S. Rosenblatt’s work with kittens at the American Museum of Natural History in the 1950s. Dr. Rosenblatt discovered that when he removed kittens from their cage, they made their way to a specific nipple of their mother’s even when they were as young as one day old. That finding demonstrated that learning occurs naturally at an exceptionally early age in a way staged experiments had not.
Dr. Stern videotaped babies from birth through their early years, and then studied the tapes second by second to analyze interactions between mother and child. He challenged the Freudian idea that babies go through defined critical phases, like oral and anal. Rather, he said, their development is continuous, with each phase layered on top of the previous one. The interactions are punctuated by intervals, sometimes only a few seconds long, of rest, solitude and reflection. As this process goes on, they develop a sense that other people can and will share in their feelings, and in that way develop a sense of self.
These interactions can underpin emotional episodes that occur years in the future. Citing one example in a 1990 interview with The Boston Globe, Dr. Stern told of a 13-month-old who grabbed for an electric plug. His alarmed mother, who moments before had been silent and loving, suddenly turned angry and sour. Two years later, the child heard a fairy tale about a wicked witch.
“He’s been prepared for that witch for years,” Dr. Stern said. “He’s already seen someone he loves turn into something evil. It’s perfectly believable for him. He maps right into it.”
Dr. Stern described such phenomena in 1985 in “The Interpersonal World of the Infant,” which the noted psychologist Stanley Spiegel, in an interview in The New York Times, called ‘the book of the decade in its influence on psychoanalytic theory.’”
Image: Mother and baby, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 10th, 2012
An annual report from the non-profit organization Save the Children has ranked the United States 25th in the world in how the country cares for and supports mothers. The rankings are based on measures of everything from medical care to maternity leave. CNN.com has more:
That puts the U.S. right between Belarus and the Czech Republic. Norway is No. 1, just ahead of Iceland and Sweden.
The report’s ranking of 165 nations factors in measures of education, health and economic status as well as the health and nutrition of children.
“There’s still an awful lot that we need to do,” said Carolyn Miles, the president of Save The Children.
The U.S. has made strides with respect to better care for teen moms and also in electing more women to government positions, which the organization sees as an important measure of how society values women.
But it has to do more, Miles and others stress.
“We valorize parenthood and in particular, motherhood, while at the same time we offer very few supports,” said Robin Simon, a professor of sociology at Wake Forest University.
So while the U.S. recognizes mothers for their incredibly important role as the primary caregivers to children, it still hasn’t done enough to help raise the kids.
It’s no secret: Raising a child is stressful and really expensive. A new mother needs a lot of help, Simon said, and other countries provide more government assistance than the United States does.
“Unlike other industrialized nations, we lack the kind of state-level protections and policies that would reduce some of that stress,” she said, speaking of “family-friendly entitlement programs” like universal health care.
Image: Mother and child, via Shutterstock.
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