Welcome! Whether you are a student in my classroom right now, if you were previously a student in my class and are using this tool to prepare for another birth, or if you have purchased the book and are using it independently, welcome. I stalled out getting this ready for a little while, thinking that I had to do a lot of recording myself, and while some of that may come, I realized that I don't need to reinvent the wheel here. There are a lot of resources out there, enough to make my head spin sometimes, so I decided to simply sift through them on your behalf, and find resources and tools that I have found to be practically universally helpful. I like to keep things pretty simple, in fact much of my revised 2nd edition of Expecting Kindness was removing commentary that was redundant or unnecessary, or clarifying my points to make them more concise. In doing so, I'm sure I cut it down by 10-15 pages, and it wasn't that long to start! The books I will be assigning homework from will grow here, you don't need to read all of them. I want to add depth and color to the lessons here by providing some other resources that demonstrate what I want to you know, practice, believe, etc. So I will be going through the many books that I see on my clients nightstands, next to mine, and aligning chapters from each with the lessons in Expecting Kindness. My aim is to make it so that you can use what you likely already have, and create a lesson plan with it. I have spent HOURS and HOURS going through video's, so that I can show you what the various stages of labor really look like, when a woman is unafraid, informed, and well supported. Let me be your filter, it's not about Pinterest perfection...not about making it "pretty", though I have yet to see a woman laboring that I didn't view as a goddess. I will keep it real, there will be noise, there will be nudity, there will be intensity. Birth is extremely powerful...truly a superpower, actually...so trust me, I will keep it real to honor that. The other resources I will share here, will only appear if I have personally used the tool/technique/activity/practice with clients and have found them to be essential for more than a handful of women.
Homework for Lesson 1
Follow the link below to view a very short video that shows the entire birth process in animated form., it shows the spine, pubic bone, uterus, cervix, baby, placenta and cord. It demonstrates decent, dilation, effacement, station, and movement through the pelvis...all in about one minute. Incredible, yes?
To get the most out of this course I recommend taking the time to get your hands on some of these Supplemental Reading Options, hopefully you have a few laying around already.. I will align the chapters to go with the lessons to put the information into perspective, and help you to know when to apply the knowledge throughout the labor process.
- McCutcheon, Susan. Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. Plume Book. 1996. Browse.
- Gaskin, Ina May. Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. Bantam Dell, New York, 2003. Read Ch. 2
- Simkin: The Birth Partner: Pages 107-110 (Labor in a nutshell)
Journal: Find or make a pretty little journal for your journaling assignments and anything else you wish to remember. Assignment: (with your birth partner if possible) Following our discussion about the overview of labor and birth and following the video above and your reading, what stands out? What did you already know or understand? Did anything surprise you? Did it bring up any worries? Does the lesson support or contradict what you already knew?
Homework for Lesson 2
Over the course of the class, you will find assignments here to support strength, flexibility, and endurance specific to labor and birth. You will see the some repetitions increase week by week, while others will rely more on the growing baby to provide added resistance.
Exercise • Pelvic tilt – 50 reps • Kegels - 50 reps (tense & release) • Cardio – 20-30 min. • Squat – Instead of bending • Abd./Add. fly – 10 reps • Stretch – 2x daily, what feels good?
Endurance tip: As discussed in the book, I'm a fan of yoga for pregnancy. In my experience, women who practice yoga appear better prepared to use movement throughout labor for comfort and labor progress. I've previewed this Prenatal Vinyasa Flow, but as always, talk to you health care team before starting any new exercise practice, and modify the movements and poses as instructed for specific limitations. Once you click through to this link, you can find other video's, some shorter, some focused on building strength, browse to see if any others feel better for you. Breathe. Connect with your body and your baby. Namaste.
The exercises in this video are discussed in class, along with Kegels and some kind of physical endurance building/cardiovascular fitness training. Most of these are glorified positions, but you should always check with your healthcare provider before implementing a new exercise regimen.
Relaxation Practice twice daily, once with your birth partner and once on your own. Tense/Release technique: Begin at your toes and move slowly up your body tensing and releasing each muscle group all the way up to the muscles of the face, jaw, eyes and brow. Intentionally tense each muscle in turn, contract it as much as you can, and then release it, intentionally. The goal is to be able to recognize what every muscle in your body feels like when it is holding tension and then practicing releasing that tension.
- McCutcheon: Chapters 5 and 9
- Gaskin: Chapter 5
- Simkin: Part 1
Journal: Spend some time journaling throughout the weeks. I will offer prompts, but you may write about whatever you wish, of course. This week I encourage you to write down a positive birth story you have heard. It may be your own, a friend, your sister, or a stranger. You can interview someone if necessary, and journal about what you found to be positive about their birth. There is always beauty in birth, always learning, always strength, always courage, always power.
Homework for Lesson 3
Exercise: • Pelvic tilt – 80 reps • Kegels - 80 reps (tense & release) • Cardio – 20-30 min. • Squat – Instead of bending • Abd./Add. fly – 10 reps • Stretch – 2x daily, what feels good?
Make appointments to interview care providers if you have not yet selected one, or feel the need to broaden your options. Remember, you have nothing to lose, and possibly something wonderful to gain...especially if you are feeling unsupported, like a number, or downright disrespected. DO NOT SETTLE. Find the person who answers your questions, thoughtfully. You can even throw in a "silly question" into "the interview" (that's what I call the first appointment with any provider) to see how they respond. Condescending responses are our kryptonite. Buh, bye. We want educators, allies, and lifeguards, who will respect our wishes and desires when healthy, and someone who will be honest with us about risks and challenges that may arise, without using fear tactics. They are out there.
Relaxation: Practice twice daily, once with your partner and once on your own. Massage exploration. Although there are a few women who find touch over-stimulating during labor, most women feel comforted, and deeply value touch and massage so it is an important tool to have in your belt. Mom should find a comfortable position; side lying would be my preference, and figure out together: Where do you carry your tension? What helps you to release that tension? Can you intentionally let go of tension when verbally guided? Do you benefit from physical guidance, moving the tension down and out of your body? Which words relax you, which words trigger tension?
- Gaskin: Chapter 4 & “James’ Birth”
- McCutcheon: Chapters 11 & 12
- Simkin: Part 2, Ch. 4, Comfort Measures
Important tip: During labor (and relaxation practice) turn off phones, or at least silence the ringers and text message alert. If the phone is set to vibrate, place it on a soft surface so the aggravation of its buzzing is lessened.
Journal: On a piece of paper, write down any negative association you have with the birth process. This may include toxic remarks at work, grocery store, scary birth stories shared by women at parties or play grounds, experiences with birth in the media, fear tactics used by intervention crazed caregivers, even the fears of our own family and friends who mean well. Their stories are not your story. Their experiences should not define yours, especially before your story even has a chance to unfold. You can then fold it up and put it somewhere out of sight, throw it away, or burn it. I prefer burning
Homework for Lesson 4
Exercise: Pelvic tilt – 100 reps Kegels - 100 reps (hold 3 sec.) Cardio – 30 min. Squat – Instead of bending Abd./Add. fly – 10 reps Stretch – 2x daily, what feels good?
As we discuss in class, the first stage of labor has phases. Early labor can be a big variable, sometimes starting and progressing steadily in active labor, and sometimes starting and stopping, or progressing steadily, either quickly, or slowly over time. This mama demonstrates the latter, she does everything I would ask her to do, rest, continue to nourish her body with healthy foods that will provide some lasting energy, walks, changes position often, etc. I also love this video because it beautifully demonstrates how much "down-time" we have between contractions and how we can still be ourselves, have fun, work a little, hang out, take a walk, and just basically act like any other day...until it becomes QUITE clear, that it isn't. You may notoce that her birth team was on the scene pretty early in her process, that is likely because it is not her first rodeo, and she mentions at some point that once her water breaks (which is unpredictable) she tends to progress quickly. Her team does a beautiful job of checking in, and them giving ideas on what may help, and then giving them privacy (it's unclear if they are staying at the house, or coming and going) to labor and progress.
Relaxation: Practice twice daily, once with your partner and once on your own. Roving Body Check Put on some calming music and light a candle if you wish. Relax into a side lying position. Begin at the toes. Take a deep yogic breath in, as you exhale, release all of the tension in your toes. Now, the feet and ankles, breath in, and exhale again, releasing all the tension from the ankle, through the foot and down through the toes again. Feel the tension sink or drain out of your body. Now the calves, then thighs, hips and booty, lower back, upper back and shoulders, neck, jaw, eyes, and mind. Continue with full yogic breathing each time allowing the tension to drain all the way down and out through the toes. Take as much time and as many breaths as you need. The candle below is accompanied by music that will guide your breathing slowly in, and slowly out. Not forced, just soft, easy, slow, breath. It will carry your farther than you realize, through labor contractions, especially when you've practiced responding to tension, stress, and discomfort in this way.
- McCutcheon: Chapters 13, 14, 15
- Gaskin: Chapters 6, 7
- Simkin: Part 2, Ch. 2.
Journaling Assignment: This week, I encourage you to journal about what makes you feel “at home.” What does “home” mean to you? For some it is warmth, for others, the smell of baking bread, and for others perhaps a fire or having certain people around creates the sense of home. Of the things on your list, what elements of home can you incorporate into your birth, and how? Bringing your own pillow, wearing your own clothes, familiar and comforting scents, sounds, and sights can create a sense of home, and hopefully comfort by association.
Homework for Lesson 5
Exercise: Pelvic tilt – 100 reps Kegels - 100 reps (hold 3 sec.) Cardio – 30 min. Squat – Instead of bending Abd./Add. fly – 10 reps Stretch – 2x daily, what feels good?
I can't really express how much I love this video. First, it demonstrates some important moments in labor. Her "false alarm"...I call it a dress rehearsal...cause her to go in to her birth place too early, her sharing that with us allows us to see the difference between the contractions, and her response to them. We can see what they look like in early labor, and compare it to the contractions, and her response to them when entering the active phase of first stage labor, when her water breaks and she's admitted. I appreciated her analogy about being sent home, it really does feels a little defeating. Her response is perfect though, and those dimples...I wonder if the baby will have those. Ridiculous. I hope to prepare you to labor at home longer, feel comfortable laboring longer at home, so you don't have to feel like you are in that puddle. Hiring an experienced doula can also make a difference, labor can feel pretty big long before it's really time to be at your birth place, and she (or he...there are a few men in the field) will be able to help you discern these phases. My favorite moment was the vocalizations she is making at about 8:30...I could tell by the sounds that she was in Transition. That "singing", I have heard hundreds of times. Transition isn't usually very long, but you can certainly hear the intensity! This is what were training for. Rehearsing breathing and relaxation throughout your last weeks of pregnancy, using breath and relaxation throughout your early labor to build the habit...all for this. Transition. Also...GET IN THE TUB if you can, even if you don't plan to, or are prohibited from giving birth in there, it can take a significant percentage of your discomfort away. Gravity is a bitch sometimes, and a tub of nice, warm water takes that bitch away.
This next birth is particularly educational because the videographer, One Tree Photography, at the request of the family, edited this birth in a way that really demonstrates clearly, not only the stages of labor, but the phases within each stage. In this short film, you really get to experience some of the fun that can take place between contractions, the increasing amount of work and the changing physical, mental, and emotional challenges are palpable, the changes in discomfort are practically narrated by this Mama, and the expressions of JOY and relief are just priceless.
Anatomy of the pelvis:
Relaxation: Practice twice daily, once with your partner and once on your own. This week, relaxation will be a guided imagery of your choice. I recommend having a few images for different applications, not knowing exactly what you will respond to in labor. Some guided imagery is focused on internal visualization, meant to help you focus on what your body is doing and allow your body to open. Others are meant to help you go “out of body” or escape to a comforting, safe place in your mind. These visualizations are best kept simple, too many details may be overwhelming. Some of my favorites are listed below.
In-body • Picture a drop of water falling on a still lake and watch as the ripples open and widen until they meet the shore. Imagine your cervix following the ripples, thinning and widening. You can describe the environment...A mountain lake, sunlight casting shadows of clouds on the mountainside, the blue sky reflected in the still water. You wade gently into the water, feeling the water, the perfect coolness in contrast with the warm air, your warm body. Toss the stone, and just witness the perfect circles, opening, stretching, reaching, thinning, and softening as they reach the shore.
Out-of-body Imagine you are floating on the ocean, protected and relaxed. Feel the contraction like a wave, gently building as it approaches, softly rising and lifting you up to the crest and then calmly bringing you down safely into tranquil water. Describe the water, the beach, the size of the wave, the peace in the motion of rising up, and coming down. Some waves are higher than others, but the motion is always the same. Inhale deeply with the rise, and exhale, allow your breath the follow the sounds of the waves as your body floats over the larger wave of contraction.
Pro-tip: I discovered these massage stones while working as a Doula for the Owner/Inventor of this incredible product. We used the stones to provide comfort during their labor and birth and I have carried them with me ever since. The radiant heat provided by these stones is magical for the pressure on the lower back and hips as baby descends and is moving through and against the bones of the pelvis. If you are local, you can find them at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Wa. Check these out! http://www.synergystone.com/
- McCutcheon. Chapter 18. Gaskin. Birth Stories.
- Simkin: Part 2, Ch. 3 Pages 59-88
Journaling Assignment: Spend some time journaling this week about experiences and moments in your life when intensity and change have been positive experiences.
Homework for Lesson 6
Exercise: Pelvic tilt – 100 reps Kegel - 100 reps (ladder), tense a little, a little more, hold 2 sec. release a little and let go. Pay special attention to the release/ relaxation of the kegel muscle this week. Cardio – 30 min. Abd./Add. fly – 10 reps Squat – for 60 sec. every 5 min. for one hour Stretch – 2x daily, what feels good?
Like a key fitting into a lock. As we discussed in class, I like to see this stage of labor be a combination of a few "methods". First, unless there is a medical urgency to deliver sooner than later, if you don't have an urge to push right away, you have certainly earned a rest. Take a break, let your baby "labor down", blow, breath, or hum through contractions, Sleep or rest in between. But once that urge kicks in...as it almost always does...I think of pushing as a team effort between you and your baby. There is a reason for it, it is a birthing refelx, a part of the process. Your uterus is strong, and over time it can do it on it's own, but you are so powerful, the urge is often overwhelming, and more than capable of adding some downward pressure to help your baby move through this space efficiently, and you can all be done sooner if you follow your body and give an assist. The pushing technique in the book will bring your baby into your arms sooner, you'll be done with your labor sooner. You will be guided if there is a reason to not bear down, if it is healthier to not push.
Relaxation: Practice getting into the squat (If baby has not turned head down, and we're still working on positive positioning for birth, replace the squat in this activity with pelvic tilts and/or a little inversion...see video from lesson 2 for review) for 60 seconds at a time at 5 minute intervals for a period of 20-30 minutes. Between squats, use the time for an active labor rehearsal, trying to reach a point of complete physical relaxation between squats. Using any relaxation tools you have come to take comfort in: touch, atmosphere, music, words, etc. After your squat (or tilts), relax into a resting position and use our yogic breathing along with your chosen relaxation tools and techniques. You have 5 minutes to get as relaxed as physically possible before you will pull yourself (with support if necessary) into your next squat (or hands and knees for tilts).
- McCutcheon. Chapters 16, 17, 19, and 20.
- Gaskin. Chapter 8 and Birth Stories.
- Simkin: Part 2, Ch. 3, Pages 89-102
Journaling Assignment: Becoming a parent is a big change, whether your first or your tenth. Spend some time journaling this week about what you are looking forward to in the first days and weeks of parenthood. This irreplaceable moment should be revered and respected. What do you imagine it will be like, feel like? What do you imagine the challenges will be and how do you plan to overcome them? List some ways that going through the process of labor may relate to or inspire your parenting.
Homework for Lesson 7
Exercise: Pelvic tilt – 150 reps Kegels - 200 reps. Hold for 3seconds, release using ladder Cardio – 30 min. Abd./Add. fly – 10 reps Squat – Instead of bending Stretch – 2x daily, what feels good?
This week we discuss in detail all the things that are happening immediately following the birth of the baby. The video below is designed for nurses, training to provide immediate care, but it is a thorough explanation of APGAR, and details how they assess the wellbeing of a newborn immediately following birth. Some hospitals will tell patients that the "newborn exam" is commonly done with baby skin to skin, this is the exam they are referring to.
The full, head to toe, newborn exam that can provide a pretty thorough overview of your baby, if it is performed when parents can really focus and ask questions, is often performed in the warming bed and we often have to ask to be a part of that. You can see the full newborn exam below, the doctor details what is common/normal/healthy, as well as the anomalies the exam is meant to identify.
Below, you will find a video that shows an examination of the placenta. I know, I know, you might think it's a little gross right now, but believe me, when it's yours, when it was the place where your baby lived, and after you've experienced all the not-so-glamorous attributes of birth, this will seem less "icky" and it will be far more personal. No matter what, the placenta is truly a work of art and it is fascinating.
Relaxation: This week I want you to explore some hypno-birthing techniques. The idea is to associate words, smells, sounds, tastes and images with total physical relaxation, so that when it is challenged, your chosen word, smell, sound, taste or image may be used to help guide you back to that state. Be creative and have some fun. While you are completely relaxed, have your partner add: Candles, flowers, honey, chocolate, music, calming words, photographs, art, meaningful spiritual passages, a specific touch, whispering memories, repeating a mantra. Then, when beginning your relaxation practice, bring your chosen tools in at the beginning to help you reach that place of calm and comfort quickly. These tools can be applied after your birth as well, while working on learning to latch on, or trying to comfort your crying baby, you calm will set the tone, so will your tension, so these skills will be beneficial for the days, weeks, months and years to come.
- Sears, William, M.D. and Sears, Martha, RN. The Baby Book. Chapter 4.
- Simkin: Part 2, Ch. 3, Pages 103-106
Journaling Assignment: This week, journal about what you want your first moments as a new family to look like, think of it as planning a ceremony. I want to be clear and tell you that there is no guarantee that you will have the story you want, or a flawless, smooth transition into parenting. I do, however feel that being intentional will increase your likelihood of getting as much of what you want as is humanly possible.
Homework for Lesson 8/9
Exercise: Pelvic tilt – 200 reps Kegels – 200+ reps. Tense in 3-step ladder up, Hold for 3 seconds, release using 3-step ladder down Cardio – 30 min. Abductor/Adductor fly – 10 reps Squat – Instead of bending - Stretch – two times daily, what feels good?
This week we discussed variables that can come up, as well as the benefits of writing a birth plan that will support your intention of keeping interventions to a bare minimum, but also provide guidance in the event that we have to diverge from our ideal birth. Organizationally, I like to see either a Plan A (healthy and uncomplicated labor) and Plan B (care becomes escalated due to risks), or just a continuum of care that escalates if medical intervention becomes necessary. When necessary (it takes some work to differentiate between routine/protocol and medical necessity at times) I want you to able to choose interventions in service of the well being of mom or baby. It doesn't mean that we have to let go of everything we wanted, but interventions may become our healthiest options, and I want you to be able to know that you made the healthiest choices for you or your baby. As you write this plan, I want you to be careful not to constantly give your power away. Make your introduction a highly personalized single paragraph. Say once that if there is an urgent medical situation that requires more intervention than you wished for, that you would like to have the opportunity to give full informed consent if there is time. Then avoid the phrases like "unless my provider thinks it's necessary, I prefer to avoid _______." The whole reason you are preparing for natural childbirth is for the higher purpose of the health and wellbeing of the baby, so of course if the health of the baby truly requires an intervention, consent will be given. Follow the link below to find a free birth plan tool. I prefer that you use it as a rough draft and write you birth plan as shown in the book; it's more personal and I believe that creates a greater investment by staff in your happiness/satisfaction than a form letter or list of bullet points alone. I also prefer to phrase your expectations in the positive, I want, I intend, I expect...rather than what you don't want. Save the “do not” and "I don't want" prasing for things that you feel very strongly about. If it appears that you are arbitrarily saying “no” to everything, you become “that pain in the ass in room 212” and you are unlikely to get the support you want. Remember that if you are planning to have a low intervention birth at a hospital or plan a home/birth center birth but end up in the hospital needing specific care, there is an increased likelihood of unfamiliar care providers entering the scene, it is important to get people on your side to maintain as much of your birth plan as possible in your new circumstances. Just because some logistics have to change, doesn’t mean we have to have a sterile, unfeeling, delivery of the baby. See the video below of a "family centered cesarean section". Even when surgery becomes necessary, it is still the birth of a baby, and as long as there is no emergency, it can still be a loving and warm welcome.
Birth Plan Site:
Relaxation: This week I want you to return to your breathing. With all this talking about and planning for all the possibilities that can come up during your birth, a little breathing will center you, allow you to meditate on the decisions you have yet to make, and reflect on the decisions you have made. Master the Yogic breathing with twenty cycles and then, meditate about one question at a time. What decision gives you the most peace? Breathe and find peace in your resolutions, even if they differ from your idyllic birth. Find the beauty in the solution, even if it isn’t what you wanted. It is still the birth of your child, and there is always beauty in birth.
If you are interested in making sure that your partner will be able to attend your baby's birth, you might consider giving them Power of Attorney for your Health Care. There are obvious considerations for making this decision, but in the event you research this and decide to assign you partner, here is a link to the (Washington State) site for downloading forms. No one likes to think about the events that would lead to this becoming necessary, but I have seen situations in which Dad was removed for a cesarean when this form was not presented, and seen situations where he was 100% allowed in ONLY because it was presented.
- Simkin: Part 3
Review: Review any lessons and or reading assignments as needed so that you can fill out a birth plan worksheet.
Lesson 10 Homework and Resources
Get enough sleep. I really can not emphasize this enough. You need 8-10 hours of sleep in ever 24 hour cycle. It will not be "in a row" as we are accustomed to, so you have to be diligent about accumulative sleep over the course of each 24 hours.
Have each others back. Team (Insert your family name here). We all need someone looking out for us, making sure all our needs are being met. The most basic needs can be overlooked. Have you eaten? Can I get you a glass of water? Can I take the baby for a bit so you can shower? Have you been able to nap throughout the day? I promise, everything will seem more manageable if you are all rested....sleep deprivation is some seriously dangerous territory. Did I mention sleep yet? You'll sense a theme shortly.
When it goes beyond sleep deprivation and you or your partner is worried about your well-being. Go to www.PortPartumProgress.com and search the articles under "Find Answers" to evaluate your symptoms as the compare to PPD or PP Anxiety/OCD. Do not wait...there is help out there, even links to Post Partum Practioners right on that site, you may need some support in this transition into parenthood/motherhood, physically, mentally, or emotionally. No one is more deserving of support than you, your baby's mother.
Breastfeeding. The first week or so is sort of like breastfeeding boot camp, hard training now...when you should basically be just lying in bed (getting plenty of sleep, newborns sleep a lot, so if you sleep even some of the time baby does during the day, you should be alright) anyway, will help to avoid other pitfalls later. Here is a link that I love to help learn to latch your baby on deeply, which will help you to avoid the challenges of a shallow latch (sore, cracked, bleeding nipples, and a baby who may not be getting the milk efficiently, which leads to a fussy baby (hungry) or very frequent feedings that interfere with other needs being met adequately....meaning sleep).
- Simkin: Part 4
I love that this one shows exactly what is happening in the baby's mouth when we achieve a deep latch and why it make such a big difference. I strongly advise finding a local chapter of La Leche League, to have in your back pocket in case you encounter any breastfeeding challenges. I always tell my clients that breastfeeding is like two people trying to learn a dance that neither have done before. Your baby has basic instincts, but will likely need to be guided, and as new mothers, we REALLY benefit from the support of other women who are, or have recently learned the dance and may have a few more steps down. Small challenges are normal. Having a circle of support ahead of time will save you the stress os trying to reach out when you are already stressed and struggling. See below for a laugh...expect a little sarcasm.
In addition to having resources around you for breastfeeding, I am a big believer in having a village of support. Unfortunately we don't live in a time in which we can assume that women will have their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, or close friends nearby or available to provide the near constant support that we really need (and was built into our society in generation past) during this time of recovery, transition, and big emotions. We can build, at least, a partial village by connecting with other parents, perhaps from our childbirth class, La Leche League meetings, mom and baby groups, parenting classes, CPR classes, by reaching out through our hired support staff, midwives, doula's, holistic practitioners, etc. The first weeks of a baby's life are far more home centered than most people realize, and can feel lonely at times. If you already have someone you can call to talk through challenges or invite for a visit...someone who understands the shit-show, the disaster, the 3 days without a shower, and the beauty in all of it; it builds a deeper relationship. I want you to have some people you can call in your moment(s) of need. We all deserve that. You will have plenty of time to be that for someone else later, in fact you will feel driven to help that frazzled mom at the grocery store, cuz you get it now. Give yourself grace.
Above is a little tribute to my Mommy, Darla Eloise, she sang this song at bedtime, and on our long, cross country road trips to Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. I love this song all the way to my bones, and it's message is perfect as it relates to bonding. It really doesn't matter if "it's good enough for anyone else to hear", whatever you do, will be treasured memories. Below is a another one for my Daddy, Brian Perle. I love his voice and can plainly hear his low baritone chiming in with "poor old Charlie" following the line "and his fate it still unlearned". I will remember it forever, long after he is no longer able to sing along with me.