Single vs Marriage 💑

On Single versus Married 💑

Well, normally I’m not the type who goes into that kind of argument. But recently a friend made a long list of the benefits of being single, and couldn’t find a single comparable benefit of being married…

Then I stumbled upon an article on TED.COM and decided to share it word for word. It was written by Jessica Gross, a New York writer and it highlighted a sixty something years old researcher’s findings and her quest to end discrimination against single people.

Perhaps one day I would share my own personal opinion. But for now, I’ll say: Read and enjoy😉

Bella DePaulo, now in her sixties, has always been single. For some time, she thought the marriage bug would bite her, until she realized it wouldn’t—and she didn’t want it to. DePaulo, who describes herself as “single at heart,” relishes the lifestyle. What she doesn’t love is the prejudice that single people face, from cultural stigma to discrimination at work, in the media and elsewhere. That’s why the Harvard-trained social scientist (now a project scientist at UCSB) has spent nearly two decades researching single life in America, publishing her findings in scholarly journals, in books including Singled Out, and on blogs. She explains why the pervasive negative stereotypes about single people are largely unsubstantiated, while the anecdotal prejudice is real — and so ingrained we often hardly see it.

First, let’s define our terms: “singlism” and “matrimania.” DePaulo has coined two words that are essential to this discussion. “Singlism is the stereotyping, stigmatizing and discrimination of people who are not married,” she says. “The flip side of that is matrimania: the over-the-top celebrating and hyping of marriage and coupling and weddings. So if you’re single, you get it coming and going.”

Single people face discrimination in the workplace …   DePaulo posits that single people’s non-work lives are often cast as less valid and valuable than married people’s. As a result, they’re often expected to cover while those with spouses or families leave the office early, take the leftover vacation slots or travel more on the assumption they have no need to be home. For US singles, there are also more concrete effects, like insurance benefits or Social Security benefits and pay: married men earn about 26 percent more than single men at equivalent levels.

… and are generally held in lower esteem than married counterparts. DePaulo and her colleagues created biographical sketches of people who were identical — except that half were single, while half were married. Participants judged the hypothetical singles to be less socially mature, less well adjusted, and more self-centered than their otherwise identical married counterparts. The effect was starker for hypothetical 40-year-olds — who, by cultural standards, are at a should-be-married age — but persisted for hypothetical 25-year-olds, too.

Yet, there are 107 million unmarried people over the age of 18 in the United States.“Single people are near half the population and — one of my favorite statistics — Americans spend more years of their adult lives not married than married,” DePaulo says. That means that the moralizing of marriage as an institution, and the accompanying degradation of single life, not only affects a huge proportion of the American population, but is out of touch with the country’s cultural reality.

We often don’t recognize singlism as prejudice. As part of a series of housing studies, DePaulo and her colleagues described to participants a landlord with two people interested in the available property. In each example, a person from a discriminated-against group offered to pay more than a person from a recognized majority, but the landlord chose the latter: a man over a woman who offered to pay more; a white person over a black person; a married couple over a single person. In each case, participants explained the landlord’s choice as discrimination—except in that last case. Then, “they said, ‘because the couple is married,’ like that in itself is an explanation,” DePaulo says. “They didn’t get to what was obvious in all the other instances: that it’s discrimination.”

Singlism and matrimania are the result of cultural insecurities. Perhaps counterintuitively, DePaulo thinks that the prejudice against single people and the hysteria about marriage are an outgrowth of our insecurities. “If the benefits of marriage were perfectly obvious to people, we wouldn’t need all this hype around it,” she says. The benefits marriage used to confer can now be attained in other ways: single women can have kids, sleep with partners without anyone batting an eye, and support themselves. To say marriage is a good choice for those who genuinely want it is one thing, but to believe that married people are unilaterally better off than single people is, DePaulo suggests, to betray a deeper ambivalence about what makes marriage a worthwhile decision.

The meme that married people are happier and healthier than single people is unfounded. DePaulo dug into the research supposedly proving the benefits of getting married and found substantial experimental flaws across the board. (Often, these studies either excluded divorced people entirely or lumped them in with single people, thereby obscuring the fact that they had gotten married — and hadn’t liked it. Another problem: Unlike with drug studies, a study of marriage can never truly isolate that variable; you can’t randomly assign people to get married or not.) The least problematic research, in DePaulo’s estimation, which follows the same people over the long term, has found that around the time of their weddings, people show a brief increase in happiness, then go right back to where they were when they were single. (If they get divorced later, they don’t even show this brief honeymoon effect.) Stigma against single parents is easily debunked, too: what’s really bad for kids is not having a single parent, but “conflict, acrimony or cold, neglectful environments.”

The bottom line is that there’s no better or worse — and no shortcut to happiness. Those who are happiest follow their desires, whether that means getting married or staying single. For DePaulo, as for many others, staying single just feels right. “If I got married, I would not become happier and healthier!” she says. “I love living single — except for all the singlism and matrimania.”

#SomethingForSunday: Before you say “Mi Casa et Tu Casa Part 2

Welcome to the second part of this historical account of two kingdoms which demonstrates to us that though relationship is a good thing, wrong association can have far reaching effects and the earlier we cut it off, the better.

The first part concluded with what seemed to be the end of an unequal alliance between two Kings, two Kingdoms, two dynasties, but was in fact the beginning of the consequences of a folly-alliance King Ahab’s deceit caught up on him while King Jehoshaphat narrowly escaped death. He returned to his Kingdom Judah and lived the rest of his life in peace and prosperity. What a God-fearing man. He would be missed! He was survived by seven sons.

His first son who was also the Crown Prince Jehoram succeeded him as King Jo II. Quick reminder: this young man was the same Prince who married the charming Princess Athaliah, Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, a political marriage and a form of alliance between the two royal families. And needless to say, both of them followed the ways of Ahab!! How do I know? He did not bat an eyelid before killing his six younger brothers so he could secure the throne. Bloodshed? That was definitely Ahab and Jezebel’s way.

King Jo II was so wicked in his ways that Prophet Elijah, yeah, the same fire-spitting Prophet had to send a prophecy to him by MAIL as he couldn’t come physically – his hands were full in the Northern kingdom dealing with Jezebel and her sons and the entire Ahab dynasty. Thankfully, king Jo II only reigned for 8 years. He died of an incurable intestinal disease, that was after he lost all his children to attacks from marauders. He was survived by his wife Athaliah the Queen, his youngest son – 22 years old Ahaziah and surprisingly a Godly daughter Princess Sheba who was married to a Priest Iada. Ahaziah was crowned King – King Jo III. And as expected, he too followed the footsteps of his mother Athaliah and grandparents Ahab and Jezebel.

Talking of Jezebel, she seemed to have become the Iron Lady controlling both the Northern kingdom Israel and Southern kingdom Judah. Jehoshaphat’s alliance with her late husband gave her so much power in both kingdoms even though she was originally from another country entirely. And she was still notorious for her ruthlessness. Upon her husband’s death, her son Ahaziah became the King. But unfortunately, for whatever reason, he fell accidentally in his Palace and sustained serious injuries. He died from the complications of the injuries. He reigned for only two years. After him, his brother Joram who happened to be another son of Jezebel became the King. He reigned with terror for the next 12 years.

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Elijah: the “Hairy”, “Fire-spitting”, “Letter-Writing” Prophet

It would appear that the dynasty of Jehoshaphat had an uncontrollable obsession with Ahab’s dynasty. They had this compelling urge that they must be loyal and faithful to their “brothers” up North. The relationship seemed to be one way and not the other way round.

History was repeating itself: Ahaziah, King Jo III joined himself with Joram to fight Joram’s battles again. And like his grandfather Jehoshaphat the First he escaped and survived and returned home. Also like Ahab, Joram too was wounded, but he didn’t die and returned to his hometown in Jezreel to recover. However, King Jo III he felt compelled to keep visiting  Joram until Joran fully recovered. Unfortunately for him, during one of his visits, there was a coup de tat taking place up North where King Joram was dethroned and killed by his Chief of Army Staff. King Jo III, by association, too became a victim. He tried to escape like his grandfather, only this time, he wasn’t so blessed. He was shot and killed. Tragedy!!

All these troubles were happening because of one man Jehoshaphat decided to tie his destiny and that of his family to a man who did not deserve it – Ahab!

At this point in history, the destinies of these two great nations all of a sudden lie on three generations of Women: Jezebel (the Queen Mother in Northern Israel), her daughter Athaliah (the Queen Mother in the Southern Judah) and the new addition – the Godly Princess Sheba, Athaliah’s daughter.

Athaliah: Judah’s Powerful Queen

At this point, it was time up for Jezebel. Enough of Ahab and his seeds!! Another king has taken over, Ahab and his entire household was wiped out!! An unpleasant end for the power couple Ahab and Jezebel.

The spotlight was back on Judah. Athaliah probably panicked. Her mother, brother and entire family have all been killed in the Northern kingdom. And her own son the king too was killed alongside. It was time to bring out the Jezebel in herself.
She took over the Kingdom, becoming the first female Monarch in both kingdoms. True to form, she ruled with iron hands. She destroyed the Royal Family and killed every rival who could have access to the throne, all except one, a baby whom her daughter Princess Sheba smuggled out of the palace and hid in the Temple; baby Joash who would later become King Jo IV, the king who, after all the drama, would make it all right again

It’s never too late for good to trump evil, and for every wrong to be made right. It was time for Princess Sheba to stand against the Queen Mother.
For six years, Athaliah reigned as the Supreme Monarch, Jezebel incarnate. It seemed evil had prevailed. But behind the scene was a toddler and his nanny, protected within the Temple walls by a rebel Princess and her Priest husband Iada and a privileged few sworn to secrecy.

As I conclude this series, I thought about the movies I’ve seen where Priests commit treasonable acts, revolting against reigning Monarchs and toppling kings. Perhaps the most fascinating to me is “The man in the iron mask” which displayed the bravery of the three musketeers and a faceless Prince.

JOASH: The Boy King

Here, it was Jeho-Iada the Priest who felt he had had enough. But he couldn’t do it without the military. summoned five army Commanders, the Carite mercenaries Levites and some Temple guards. He made them to swear an oath and revealed the Prince to them. He was just a seven years old baby, but he had enough Royal Blood to become the King. They knew they were at risk of immediate execution for treason, but it was a risk they were willing to take.
And just like that, they Crowned Joash as the new King, King Jo IV, even though the ruthless Athaliah was still alive and well. It was a bloody one, but they found to finish. And Queen Athaliah was executed for her crimes against humanity.

JOASH: What a cute and lovely boy name!

King Joash King (Jo IV) reigned under the supervision, tutelage and mentoring of JehoIada the Priest. As a team, they corrected every single wrong and made Judah great again. They brought peace, prosperity and national security back to the Kingdom. They led the people back to God. And laid a lasting positive impact. That’s not all, but Iada the Priest was blessed with long life living up 130 years and was buried among the kings, because he did well for the nation.

It took four generations to be finally free from the influence of Ahab and his family, an alliance his great grandfather has trustingly and blindly forged, but phew! It feels good to be free indeed.

 

 

#SomethingForSunday: Before You Say, “Mi Casa et Tu Casa” (Part 1)

Welcome back to KemiDele’s blog. My thoughts this Sunday dwell on a little historical event found in the Holy Bible.

You know that when we see a relationship like WALL*e and EVE, we remember the popular old saying: Opposites Attract. Yeah, but sometimes, for the sake of common good, some “opposites-alliance” must not be allowed to thrive.


Pixar’s WALL-E & EVE

There’s a Bible verse which states that “Be ye not UNEQUALLY YOKED TOGETHER with unbelievers…” 2 Corinthians 6:14, kjv).  I used to struggle with a Bible verse which preached an apparent discrimination. But over the years I understood the true implications of being unequally yoked together with someone, some organizations or institutions with conflicting values. It’s got nothing to do with discrimination; unequal yoke is a nightmare!!

The Message Bible captures the essence of this passage perfectly!!

“Don’t become partners with those who reject God.
How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war.
Is light best friends with dark?
Does Christ go strolling with the Devil?
Do trust and mistrust hold hands?
Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple?…” 2 Corinthians 6: 14-16a (Message Bible)


Paddling a canoe in opposite direction is to be unequally yoked. It doesn’t make sense😦

Now back to my story. It’s a story about some notable Kings and Queens in the Old Testament of the Bible.
I don’t know if you have ever heard of King Jehoshaphat, but you are more likely to have heard about King Ahab, and definitely about Jezebel. Yes, the same popular Jezebel – the Princess of Sidon, daughter of EthBaal, an absolute Monarch, and later became the wife of one of the worst Kings in Israel – king Ahab.


Jezebel: A Ruthless Queen, A Faithful Wife

King Ahab and his wife Jezebel ruled over Northern Israel while King Jehoshaphat (King Jo the First) ruled over the smaller Southern Israel also known as the Judah Kingdom right about the same time, reigning for 22 and 25 years respectively.

King Ahab was notorious for his wickedness. He married a beautiful Princess Jezebel and they both ruled with iron hands from Samaria, the capital of Northern Israel. Their reign was full of terror and bloodshed. It was during his reign that Prophet Elijah caused 3 years of famine and also called fire from heaven. Their marriage was blessed with many children, especially Princess Athaliah!!

King Jehoshaphat (King Jo I) was the exact opposite. He was a good and a Godly man, a King of Reform. He was the one who made the Popular speech: “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper”. His reign was known for peace, prosperity and national revival.
King Jo I reasoned that the two Kingdoms should be able to work together in harmony, so he formed an alliance with King Ahab, (the biggest mistake of his life). In fact, his son Jo (Jehoram) married Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, the beautiful Princess Athaliah, thus the two first families became in-laws.

How can such a good man Jehoshaphat and such an evil man become so yoked together in an alliance? We should find ways of unity rather than division. Jo’s intentions were noble, Ahab’s weren’t. Jo trusted Ahab so completely that the motto of their relationship became: Mi casa es Su casa!! What is Mine is Yours, My Home is Your Home!!

Anyways, King Jo I was about to meet the real Ahab! Many years later, Ahab deceived Jo into a war with some countries (Aram) based on border disputes. Ahab and Aram had some unresolved disputes where he (Ahab) was deceived by a disguised Aram king. Ahab was itching for a fight, but he wanted to use his friend, fellow king, partner and in-law Jo as the BAIT!!
When he enticed Jo I to join forces with him in that war against the Aram king, King Jo I replied using his usual lines: Mi casa es Su casa!!

“Why, of course!
You and I are as one.
My troops are your troops,
and my horses are your horses.” (1 Kings 22:4)

Even when Jo knew that the battle would be an unnecessary waste of precious lives and resources, he still agreed.
Even when he knew the spiritualists and prophets consulted were telling lies, he still agreed.
Even when Ahab showed his real intention: To expose King Jo I to danger to protect himself, Jehoshaphat still agreed. He was a man of his words, isn’t it?
(Ahab) The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Wear my kingly robe; I’m going into battle disguised.” So the king of Israel entered the battle in disguise. (1 King 22:30)
Meanwhile the Aram king was also not interested in the war. It was already three year after their last encounter and he wasn’t looking forward to any more battle; it would be an unnecessary waste of lives and resources. So he decided to kill the king (Ahab) and end the war.

King Jo the First fought another man’s battle, dressed in another man’s regalia, in another man’s chariot…. And he was attacked like that other man. To all, he was Ahab, the one and only target of the enemy.
Long story short, he escaped, but only by some Divine Intervention. Someone recognized his voice, and knew that was not the voice of Ahab. nor the attitude of Ahab. So they spared him. He ran back to his own Kingdom of Judah, without looking back! Experience, they say, is the best teacher

Ahab with all his disguise, unfortunately did not escape still. He was shot by a random soldier, and it blew up one of the big arteries of his leg. And he bled all day. The life of an ordinary soldier – he received no urgent medical attention, and no help at all. To the onlooker, he was another soldier and not the King, there was no need to rush. So he lost so much blood and died.

Well, this looks like the end of the story, right? But trust me when I say the saga was just BEGINNING!! Wrong association always has terrible repercussions; and we must never be afraid to pull out once we recognize the danger signs…
Watch out for the second and concluding part of “Before you say Mi Casa et Su Casa” next Sunday.

All scriptures, unless otherwise stated,are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation.

 

DONATE BLOOD, IN HIS STEPS

 

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DONATE BLOOD IN HIS STEPS

I’m still on my Blood Donation Campaign.

In the Spirit of Easter, we celebrate our Lord Jesus who gave His Blood, His Life, to give us life.

On His Head: Crown made of sharp thorny twigs.
On His Hands: Rusty Iron Nails pierced.
On His Tummy: Shot with a Spear. On His Feet: Rusty Iron Nails pierced.
On His Body, head to toe: Brutal beating by angry soldiers.

That’s a lot of blood! From the crown of His Head to the sole of His feet, He bled to transfuse a dying world.

…in His Steps…

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)

Let us follow in His Step and donate blood. It might just save a life.
If you’re healthy, with good hemoglobin (PCV) levels, then you have something to give.
Thank you as you consider donating at least a unit of blood before the end of the year.

Good Friday: What A Day!

There are those days when life can be a little bit overcrowded with events and activities, with life-changing events, either for good or bad, and it’s just difficult to believe everything happened within a 24-hour day.

That was the story of Jesus so very many centuries ago, on a day we now recognize as Good Friday, although it might not even have occurred on a Friday. But it did happen on the day the Passover Lamb was killed according to Jewish tradition.

My devotion on this Good Friday is from Mark 14 of the Holy Bible.

Mark 14:33-34 (NIV): “He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.””

The Big Question is: How did Jesus get to this point of distress?

Just two days earlier, He was reminded of His coming suffering and death in the sweetest way. He was invited to one of those opulent parties hosted by one Simon (previously) The Leper. There, one (previously) bad girl brought the sweetest gift, a gift criticized by those present as sheer waste of something precious…

Mark 14:3 (NIV): “While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.”

Jesus recognized the sign, and knew what He must do. Soon after, He went ahead to make a reservation for a Guest Room that was fully furnished for an all-important dinner.

Mark 14:14-15 (NIV): “Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.””

This reservation was pivotal, so that He could have that special time with His disciples; to eat His Last Dinner on earth, which also doubled as the Passover meal with them; to say His Farewell, no, not farewell, but to tell them His time was up, and to give them those very important messages that would be passed down to the church of all ages.

John the Beloved, a dear disciple, many decades later took the pain to write what happened during the dinner. It was a long emotional meeting documented in John chapters 14-17!!

The dinner was also special, so He could reveal the Face of the Traitor, Judas Iscariot himself.

Meanwhile, Judas had embarked on a little scheming already, having closed doors meeting with the Chief Priests on: “What would it cost to betray my friend Jesus?” They promised him some compensation, and he, blinded by greed, agreed.

The dinner came, thirteen men came in, for a life-changing experience. Jesus told of His soon-to-come exit, and too many information (John 14-17). Then came the moment of truth, the Traitor was identified and as a matter of fact, Jesus said they would all desert him at some point. The Lord’s Supper was instituted, and then, the night was over.

Or was it just starting?? It was just late afternoon, the night was still young.

The Gethsemane Experience…

Jesus went with His Disciples to their favorite outdoor spot. But this time, for a serious business. Within the next 24 hours, He was going to be killed. Like a criminal. And the thought of it terrified Him. He was deeply distressed and troubled.

HE NEEDED TO PRAY.

He told them: My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, Stay here and keep watch.

But apparently, the guys were full from the dinner, and they couldn’t keep their eyes open, even after Jesus woke them 2-3 times. They couldn’t pray, they couldn’t support Him, they couldn’t encourage Him. He prayed alone, with his clothes soaked with sweat.

He prayed: “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 NIV).

Needless to say, that was one cup ABBA FATHER had no intention of taking away. The stakes were too high.

The rest, they say, is History. Or is it?

Within one short hour of prayer, His time was UP! His dear friend Judas, with whom they just finished a sumptuous (unleavened) supper that was making their other friends sleepy, returned. He greeted Jesus with a KISS. He could have as well brought a Knife.

HE BETRAYED JESUS WITH A KISS!

What kind of sick human being betrays his friend of over three years, with a kiss??

Behind Him was a mob of angry citizens and Temple Guards; angry mob incited by the Chief Priests and Temple Leaders. Ready to arrest whoever Judas kissed.

Jesus Christ from the village of Nazareth. The Son of God. He was arrested unfairly in the garden where He was praying.

That same night, He was TRIED by the Chief Priests and Religious Leaders. Because they couldn’t sentence Him, that same night, He was taken to be tried by the King (Herod) and then by the Roman Governor (Pontus Pilate) both of whom found Him innocent. But for political reasons, sentenced Him all the same.

TO BE CRUCIFIED ON THE CROSS.

That was the only politically-correct move at that moment. There, in the midst of a most holy Passover Festival, He was crucified, and He died to take away the sins of the world and restore man back to God.

Amen!

#BabySitting Tips: Caring For Children With Special Care

 

If you are willing or volunteering to provide specialized babysitting and respite care for children with special needs and you feel overwhelmed, do not panic. Even experienced babysitters and teachers of special needs kids sometimes feel a little intimidated at that thought.

Here are some tips that you might find helpful when looking after kids with Autism and ADHD:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Children with ADHD often have lots of energy and can get wound up quickly. Their attention span for activities might be shorter than that of other children, so plan many activities and use them as needed.

Important To Know:

  • Children with ADHD are often quite creative. They may enjoy drawing pictures or building with blocks.

  • Active, outdoor games can be fun for children with ADHD. Try activities like hopscotch, swinging, and jumping rope. But skip the playground if it’s close to bedtime.

  • Wind down with quiet time at bedtime. Low-key activities, including watching a movie or sitting in a rocking chair and reading a book, can help all kids calm down for the night.

  • If the child needs to take medication while you’re babysitting, make sure the parents explain the dosage to you. If it’s possible, ask parents if you can watch them giving the medication a couple of times. Find out what time you should be giving the medication (or helping the child take it).

  • Be specific with your directions. To make sure kids with ADHD have listened and understood you, ask them to repeat the directions back to you.

  • Know how to deal with difficulties: It might help to provide the child with a schedule of what you’ll be doing, especially if your visit is lengthy. Children with ADHD sometimes have trouble switching gears. That means playing a boisterous game of tag right before naptime might not work. If you know some calming strategies and have activities prepared for your visit, you and the child can relax and enjoy yourselves.

Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that makes it hard to communicate or interact with other people. Some kids have autism that is mild; others have autism that is severe. Children with autism can have trouble understanding subtle directions and requests. They may become overwhelmed by busy and noisy environments. And, sometimes, they do not enjoy being touched. Because every kid is different, ask the child’s parents what to expect and what kinds of things the child enjoys doing.

Important To Know:

  • Follow the child’s routine, especially at bedtime or mealtime. Kids with autism prefer structure and can get upset if routines are different from what they’re used to.

  • Ask the parents about the child’s favorite toys so you can play with them. Go slowly. One tactic is to sit alongside the child and mimic his play. That might attract his attention and lead him to join you.

  • Special toys can help you encourage the child to cooperate. For example, you might say, “If you brush your teeth, you can play with your toy car.”

  • Don’t be offended if the child decides to play alone or limits interactions with you. This is part of the disorder.

  • Maintain a calm environment. For example, skip a trip to the playground when you know a neighborhood gathering is likely there. Avoid bringing your friends or other people the child may not know into the home.

  • Go slowly when it comes to physical contact. Find out from the parents how their child reacts to affection. A quick hug or light tickle could set off a child with autism.

  • Know how to deal with difficulties: Ask the parents how to handle it if the child becomes upset or agitated. In general, as long as the child isn’t hurting himself or anyone else, it’s best to roll with the tantrum. Keep the child safe and close to you. If the child starts to settle down, you might bring out a favorite toy and start playing with it to create a distraction. Some children with autism might calm down when cuddling a special stuffed animal. Others might respond well to sitting in a rocking chair with you or swinging on the backyard swing set.

Remember…

Children with special needs can be very sweet and loving. And it’s great babysitting experience to learn how to care for kids who have different abilities. Seeing the world through a special child’s eyes can change the way you look at life!

-ADAPTED

Obstetric Fistula: The Biggest Problem You’ve Never Heard Of…

United Nation’s International Day to End Obstetric Fistula is marked worldwide on 23 May.

This year’s theme, “End fistula, restore women’s dignity” which the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said  would serve as an opportunity for world leaders to commit to ending the scourge of fistula in our lifetime. “We have a moral obligation, as a global community, to complete the unfinished agenda of eradicating fistula,” he added.

Obstetrics Fistula: The Biggest Problem You’ve Never Heard Of… It’s everywhere, but nobody is talking about it… And the victims are marginalized…

What is obstetric fistula?

Obstetric fistula is a tear or a hole between a woman’s birth canal and one or more of her internal organs (such as the bladder or rectum) resulting in permanent incontinence.

When the hole develops between the between the bladder and the vagina, it is called  vesicovaginal fistula, and when it is between rectum and the vagina, it is called rectovaginal fistula.

It is most often caused by prolonged and obstructed labor during which the mother does not receive adequate treatment or care. More than 75% women with obstetric fistula have endured labor that lasted three days or more.The baby almost always dies during labor. And the mothers i.e the sufferers often endure depression, social isolation and deepening poverty. Many women live with the condition for years – or even decades – because they cannot afford to obtain treatment.

It is a debilitating condition, to say the least.  Without proper treatment, women with an obstetric fistula can face a lifetime of suffering, unable to control the discharge of urine or fecal matter. They are often ignored and discarded, abandoned by their husbands and families, and they find themselves effectively ostracized from society. Girls drop out of school, women cannot work, and are often left to live a life of isolation.

   

Fistula is almost entirely preventable. It is also a treatable condition. Yet it is estimated that more than 2 million (young) women live with untreated obstetric fistula in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean, and some 50,000 to 100,000 new cases develop each year. Between 3,500 and 5,000 cases of obstetric fistula occur in Pakistan each year and there are 4500-5500 new obstetrics fistula cases in East Africa alone, annually!! Thousands of women simply suffer in silence, unaware that they can seek medical assistance.

The persistence of obstetric fistula is a sign that health systems are failing to meet women’s essential needs.

The Global Fistula Map, affecting mainly women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, and Latin America and the Caribbean

Prevention.

Evidence has shown that obstetric fistulae can largely be avoided by delaying the age of first pregnancy, by the cessation of harmful traditional practices and by timely access to quality obstetric care.

Adolescent girls are particularly at risk of maternal deaths and morbidities, including obstetric fistula. And with over 16 million adolescent pregnancy per year globally, it is not surprising that adolescent contribute significantly to the burden of obstetric fistulae.

Obstetric fistulae are prevalent in area where harmful cultural/traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and child bride are predominantly practiced. They also occur among women living in poverty in cultures where a woman’s status and self-esteem may depend almost entirely on her marriage and ability to bear children. In other parts of the world, obstetric fistulae are not considered as medical conditions but rather as a “punishment” for women being disloyal to their families, or as a divine punishment for carrying a venereal disease. These perceptions, along with the physical symptoms, mean many of the women live in isolation, poverty and shame, perhaps for life!

She’s a baby herself, but she’s already married to a man old enough to be her grandfather…

Treatment

There is hope. Patients with uncomplicated fistulae can undergo a simple surgery to repair the hole in their bladder or rectum. Approximately 80-95% of vaginal fistula can be closed surgically.

To commemorate this year’s International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin admonished, that as the world shapes a new development agenda, a new opportunity has presented itself… “Let us decide, as a global community, that the world we want is one where fistula no longer exists,”he said, adding: “Let us, once and for all, put an end to this assault on women’s and girls’ health and human rights, which steals from them their very dignity and destroys the most fundamental of human qualities: hope.” (The Campaign to End Fistula was launched by UNFPA and partners in 2003).