Meet Our Blogging Intern Naomi Rendina

Hello, everyone! I am Naomi Rendina, and am the new intern for the Museum of Motherhood! Currently, I am a PhD student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and am studying the history of medicine. My research interests are the history of contraception, childbirth, and consumerism related to the medical and social aspects of motherhood.


I have been married to an US soldier for just over six years, and we have a beautiful five year daughter who is starting kindergarten this year!

As for this blog, I am going to focus on contraception and birthing methodologies. Both of these topics currently are in the limelight, and I aim to help create material that can better educate the public on women’s issues, where they come from, and why we should support them. I want to illuminate how contraception works, how they have developed, and even social issues surrounding them.

I have noticed that there is a lot of material floating around social media sites about how to give birth. The abundance of methods creates a need for a better understanding of each so that not only are expectant couples aware of their options, but can accept other couples’ choices in how they bring their new babies into the world. Hopefully, I will get to share some of YOUR birth stories with the world through this blog! At some point, I will share my own!

Each week, I hope to bring you a short, interactive blog post that encourages discussion and provides insight. Every week, each blog will include suggestions for further reading, and links to expert and interesting websites to check out.

Please go “like” the Museum of Motherhood on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

I look forward to writing for this blog, and hope to get to know you all a little better over the next year.

In the comment section below, please introduce yourself and make any suggestions as to what you would like to see in the blog! I would love to hear from you, and will try to answer any questions you may have.

So, what about contraception and childbirth would you like to know?

Until next time!


Birth Stories Featuring Kim; Raising Awareness about HELLP Syndrome

It’s #FriendFriday!!!  This week I’m sharing a birth story from my friend Kim Meeks. She and her husband, George, have had an incredible journey with her daughter. Mary Farris was born at 25 weeks gestation, 15 full weeks premature. Kim shares her story here:

It was a normal pregnancy for the first 6 months.  My husband and I were thrilled about expecting our first (and only) child. We found out at 22 weeks that we would be having a girl.  We were unaware, however, that she would be born 3 weeks later.

13550893811764On May 25, 2008, I was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a rare and possibly fatal form of pre-eclampsia.  I was taken by ambulance from our local hospital to a St. Thomas Midtown. My husband was told that an emergency c-section was necessary to save not only my life, but to attempt to save the life of our unborn child.  Mary Farris was born at 25 weeks gestation, weighing only 1 lb. and  3oz.  She was born with a birth defect called choanal atresia.  She had no openings in the back part of her nose, and was unable to breathe on her own.  We were finally able to hold her at 54 days of age.  After 3 months on a ventilator, she pulled out the tube herself and began to breathe through her mouth.  After 148 days, Mary Farris was discharged from the NICU.  We hoped and prayed for the best life she could have, keeping in mind that having a “normal” child was highly unlikely.

She had to have a g-tube placed for nutrition related to her defect, as her mouth was her only airway.  Mary Farris was primarily tube fed until age 3 ½.  She required physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy.  She attended a special education preschool where she could continue to receive some of these services during the school day.  She also had the benefit of 3 years of early intervention services.  In her first 5 years, she had 11 surgeries.

Last year, Mary Farris was transferred to a regular kindergarten class and is keeping up with her peers now in 1st grade.  She met all of her goals in physical therapy and was discharged, and they plan on meeting occupational therapy goals soon.  She is now 6 years old.  We felt after all of her days in the hospital, that she is partly their baby, too.  For this reason, we celebrate her birthday with the NICU staff every year.  Mary Farris says she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

Through all of the experiences with Mary Farris, I have become very active in the g-tube community helping other parents adapt to their new “norm”.   I also was inspired by our experience in the NICU to go back to school.  I will graduate from nursing school in December.  Our story will come full circle when I begin my job as a NICU nurse.

Laughing Gas For Birthing Mothers? [Click to read more]

By Naomi Rendina for M.O.M.

Recently, the use nitrous oxide in the delivery room has been questioned and even projected as the “next big thing” in American obstetrics. What many people are failing to recognize is that nitrous oxide has had a presence in the delivery room in the US before, and it failed to catch on. Starting in the 1880s, analgesics like chloroform or ether, were used to help take of the edge and anxieties of the birthing process. It was followed by the introduction of scopolamine, which completely knocked out a birthing woman, leaving her with no memories of her experience. By the 1950s, women were overly medicated in their birth experiences, and a backlash against the medicalization of childbirth began.

It seems as though American women are interested in the idea of laughing gas in labor. The skeptics believe the nitrous harms the baby, when, in fact, it takes one breath of room air to clear mother and fetus of nitrous. Some women find it silly that the analgesic that we’re most accustomed to in the dentist’s chair has potential in the birthing room. Other women are happy to see an alternative to pain management that is minimal, and low-risk.

The Atlantic ran an article recently, as did Slate, talking about nitrous in the delivery room.

For more information on the use of anesthesias and analgesics in the delivery room over the last 120 years or so, please see Jacqueline Wolf, Deliver Me From Pain: Anesthesia and Birth in America.34712

Do you think that re-introducing nitrous (or another inhaled analgesic) into the delivery room is a good idea? Do you think it would facilitate a movement towards more natural, de-medicalized births?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Lindsey’s Family!

Hello, everyone! Each week, I am going to highlight a family that has shared their experiences with me. Some women will talk about their experience becoming mothers, their families, or what being a mother means to them. I am actively searching for fathers to share their experiences as well! (If you, or anyone you know, is interested, PLEASE let me know!)

For this first #familyfriday, Lindsey is shared her thoughts on being a busy family, and how they handle public reactions to being a biracial family.

I hope you enjoy!

Hi, my name is Lindsey Pitts and I’m a first year Child Development graduate student at California State University, Sacramento. My husband Will and I have two children: Mikaila, age 5, and Preston, age 3.5. Growing up, I would play house all day everyday, and always knew I wanted to be a mom. However, being a mom who works outside the home, while being a student, has been nothing like I ever imagined.

My studies in Child Development have not only helped, but have hindered my parenting skills at times. No matter how much you know about children and their developmental stages, there’s nothing like hands on experience. There is no right way to raise a kid, and once my husband and I accepted that, it made parenting so much easier. Parenting is a fluid topic. No matter what theory or research says, it’s going to come down to you, the parent, to make the decision about what you think is best for your child(ren) and family. Will and I both have a passion for kids. We have both been working in education for nearly 10 years, and are excited about continuing our own educations. Both of our children started full day Pre-K programs at young ages, and we really believe in providing hands on experiences for them in their early development.

Being busy is an understatement when it comes to our family! My husband and I work, recently finished our undergraduate degrees, and are now pursuing Masters degrees in our fields of study. We really couldn’t have done it without each other, or our kids. Teamwork is BIG in our household, whether it’s mealtime, getting out the door, or daily chores, everyone plays a part. One thing we really try and do is spend quality time together. We laugh a lot (at ourselves and each other) and try to make everything a fun experience for our kids (even cleaning!) There were times in our BA programs when we disagreed, and were just so tired and stressed from deadlines and the daily grind of parenting. Taking a step back, and time out to spend time as a family and with each other, was what put everything back in perspective. It reminded us why we were doing what we were doing, and why it was all worth it. Making our family a priority is why I think our kids are so happy- and is also how our relationship survived the last few years.


Something that’s unique about our family is that we are a tall bunch, and we are a biracial couple. My husband is 6’8, I’m 5’10, and our kids look like they are about 3 years older then they really are. Walking through Target, having your child who looks like they are 6 have a meltdown over not getting a toy, isn’t fun. We’ve gotten looks. I usually respond with, “I know being 3 is tough, we can’t always get what we want.” Patrons usually smile after that and comment on how tall and beautiful our kids are. When we aren’t making tantrum scenes, the kids usually get comments and questions about them being models (both have lighter complexion and hair, and Mikaila has blue eyes.) If I got paid for every time someone commented on this- both my kids would have college funds by now. 😉 Living in a very diverse city, we receive lots of positive feedback about being an interracial couple. One thing that has been bothersome, however, is the stereotypes society has placed on couples like us. Some people are just going to “hate” because of their own situation. Luckily, assumptions like these are few and far between, and when people do make comments, we just ignore them. With different cultural backgrounds, we have made it a point to introduce and expose our children to both our cultures and families. My daughter said it best the other day when she told my husband, “even though we have different color skin, we are still family.”