Children have always been a passion to me and I knew I wanted to become a kindergarten teacher one day. I was studying Early Childhood Education at Salem State University and was in my second semester junior year when my boyfriend Joshua and I found out we were expecting. I always dreamed of having a child, but I was taking contraceptives and was not planning on having a baby until I graduated college. I found out I was pregnant and thought maybe I would have twins because my father was a twin. My father and his twin brother are dizygotic which means fraternal twins, but I knew the odds of me having twins were 4 out of 100 births and for fraternal twins the probability was only 2 out of 3 (Conway 2018). I did not want to get my hopes up yet on twins, but I did want my first child to be a boy. When finding out the news of my pregnancy I was only a month into the pregnancy and only in my first trimester which is the beginning stage of a pregnancy when the zygote implants itself in the lining of the uterus and sends out chemical messages to end mensuration (Conway 2018). Immediately after finding out I was pregnant my boyfriend and I went to go see the doctor and check how the baby was doing so far. The doctor told us everything looked okay but shared some facts with us and told me to refrain from alcohol and drugs as the first trimester is important because the baby is not as protected from things as in the second or third trimester and is just developing (Conway 2018).
The pregnancy was going along very well, and my belly was starting to show a little more. I was still going to school and working and agreed to stop working only when I could no longer do so. I worked at a bank and that required me to be up and moving sometimes but it was still manageable for me at that time. I was in my second trimester and 5 months pregnant when the doctor told me I could find out the gender of the baby (Conway 2018). The baby was a boy and my boyfriend, and I was so happy because we always talked about having a boy first. The doctor then told us that in the second trimester the risk of miscarriage goes down significantly (Conway 2018). The information was a huge relief and she also let us know that during the second trimester we could determine any deformities or problems with the baby as well (Conway 2018). She shared with us that the baby looked to be in perfect condition, but male fetuses were more likely to result to be spontaneously aborted and more vulnerable to teratogens which is anything that could harm the fetus (Conway 2018). I just hoped that we would have a healthy baby boy and I did what I could to stay healthy and took prenatal vitamins as recommended by the doctor. Unfortunately, I went into labor early, I was only 34 weeks when I went into labor and it was very stressful. This was my first child and I was in so much pain but all I could think about was my baby being born safely. I was put to sleep and the baby had to be born through a C section which is a surgical delivery of a baby that involves one incision in the mother’s abdomen and another in the uterus (Krans 2018). My baby Benjamin was born on September 30th at only 4 pounds 2 ounces and 18.7 inches long. The baby was moderately premature meaning the baby is born between 31 and 34 weeks (Bird 2018). The baby was still small and had to be kept in an incubator because he still had trouble breathing on his own. Eating was something he had to learn. It could take a long time for him to learn for him since he had to be strong enough to do it on his own and be well nourished (Bird 2018).
The baby was finally allowed to come home after 4 weeks in the NICU. Benjamin was born premature, so he had intestinal tract which met he had to be given a special formula that contained nutrients that his body needed but could not produce (Conway 2018). The formula was working, and Benjamin was growing rapidly. The first few months were very difficult for his father and I, this was our first child and we were constantly checking on Benjamin as we had learned that the leading cause of Sid’s or sudden infant syndrome was between 1 month to the first year (Conway 2018). Benjamin growing up had a secured attachment which meant that he was able to separate from us. However, because of work, we had to start leaving him with his grandparents or at daycare. At daycare, we realized Benjamin also had some stranger anxiety, which is when a child is wary of strangers or people their unfamiliarity and seeks the caregiver (Conway 2018). I wanted Benjamin to go to daycare, so he could learn to have a secure attachment as he grows up and learn how to have long and trusting relationships at a young age with others besides his father and me. Although he went to daycare, I wanted him to experience life at home as well. He only went to daycare 2 days. Children with a secure attachment are shown to have more benefits when it comes to positivity, less aggressiveness, more socially skilled, more likely rated leaders, perform better academically and have higher self-esteem (Conway 2018). Benjamin was stuck in what Freud calls the Anal stage of development which is when a child is being toilet trained and still learning (Conway 2018). The anal stage was hard for us before we got Benjamin in daycare but then the caregivers there taught him a song and gave him his own toilet seat for the potty and he picked it up right away which was a huge help for his father and me.
Benjamin was growing very fast and although he was born prematurely you could barely notice it because he was just as big as the other children which made his father and me very happy. He was growing up fast and he learned a lot in pre-school but was now off to Kindergarten. Kindergarten was difficult for him and he now had rules to follow and homework to be done. Benjamin would get in trouble in school because sometimes he did not want to share, and we learned from his teacher about positive and negative reinforcement which is when you add or take away something to reward a behavior or cause it to stop (Conway 2018). We started using positive and negative reinforcement with Benjamin at home and school and it seemed to help with his behavior issues. Benjamin was doing great in school but as he started to move on to first and second grade we noticed he had speech problems. Thankfully his school provided Benjamin with a paraprofessional who is a teacher who helps children daily who have emotional special needs, cognitive disabilities, physical handicaps, autism, and other special needs (US Department of Education 2014).
Benjamin’s speech impediment was slowly going away after time and he was more into sports and wanted to learn how to ride his bike and skate and it became an obsession for him to learn how to without our help. A study we had read showed that traumatic brain injuries go up significantly during middle childhood development (Conway 2018). Benjamin was not allowed to ride his bike or skates without his helmet for safety precautions and we always made sure to keep a close eye on him while he played outside. Ninety-seven percent of school-age children asthma and Benjamin was one of them (Conway 2018). He was not allowed outside when it was too cold and sometimes he would miss school if his breathing was hard to get under control. Eventually, Benjamin outgrew asthma and was going to school more making friends and by the age of 9, he was good at maintaining and contributing in class conversation just like us adults (Conway 2018). The teachers that Benjamin had were somewhat authoritative like us and I appreciated that I got to pick some of his teachers because studies show that teachers who behave like authoritative parents are most effective (Conway 2018). Benjamin worked better with authoritative teachers and he constantly needed that support from us and his teachers.
As Benjamin started to get older, we noticed he started developing Freud’s child development theory of when children in middle childhood move past their parents and seek their needs met through peers (Conway 2018). What we thought of Benjamin was important but what his friends thought and what was going on in school was a big part of his life. For children to have a good self-esteem, children must feel loved and supported by parents and peers (Conway 2018). We always made sure as parents that Benjamin had a great support system and I feel it all paid off as a pre-teen now we had no issues with bullying or him feel down about himself. My son wasn’t the most popular or the smartest, but he was known for being smart, down to earth, and always willing to help. Children in middle childhood are still dependent on parents but becoming more independent (Conway 2018). Benjamin would walk to school now, fold his own laundry, wash the dishes here and there and that was a lot more I thought he would be doing at age 12. At age 13, we decided to get Benjamin his first cellphone for enjoyment and contact with him in case emergencies. The media shows a lot of negative things and a study we had read showed that violent video games and television shows correlate with emotional hostility and a decrease in empathizing with others (Conway 2018). We had Benjamin’s phone and video games monitored for a while, but he was about to be 15 and we started being more lenient with our son letting him grow on his own, learn from his choices while keeping a mindful and distant eye on him on the next years to come.
- Bird, Cheryl, and Joel Forman. “The Different Stages Premature Babies Can Be Born.” Very well Family, 16 Nov. 2018, www.verywellfamily.com/premature-babies-week-by-week-2748606.
- Conway, James. “Child Growth Development Lecture.” 2018, Salem, Massachusetts, Salem State University.
- “Paraprofessionals.” Center for Parent Information and Resources, 20 Oct. 2010, www.parentcenterhub.org/paras/. updated 2014
- Watson, Stephanie. “C Section Tips for a Fast Recovery.” Https://Www.healthline.com/Health/Pregnancy/c-Section-Tips-for-Fast-Recovery, Health Line -RED, 24 Jan. 2018.