First-time Mother Lavonne Patrick-Bacchus and husband Carlson Bacchus listen attentively to the discussion on "Spiritual Enrichment" at the Third Annual Antenatal seminar hosted by the Winston Scott Polyclinic at the Almond Bay Conference Centre, Hastings.

First time mothers have been told by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, that parenting brings its own form of education, regardless of a person’s background.

Dr. St. John made this observation today, as she addressed the Third Annual Antenatal Seminar for First-time Mothers, organised by the Winston Scott Polyclinic at the Almond Bay, Hastings, Christ Church.

She maintained that nothing could ever really prepare an individual for parenting as the "willingness to give of self", and said, "It is certainly the only task on Earth that provides you with an education in psychology, criminal justice, nursing, life skills and matters of the heart that no college programme on the face of the planet can match."

While urging women and their spouses to try to be "well-adjusted emotionally" in order to be good parents, she added: "Being a parent can drain you emotionally, and although the rewards are certainly worth it, you must be either well-adjusted, or be able to cope with your own emotional well-being [and that] of your child.?? This often means being able to put past hurts and traumas behind you, so that they do not become your child’s legacy."

Meanwhile, Chief Public Health Nurse, Joyce Holder, in describing the antenatal period to the young women, stated, "It is recognised as one of the most important stages in human growth and development. A baby that is given a sound start during this period is very likely to mature into a very healthy and productive child, adolescent, youth, adult and indeed, senior citizen…?? parents need to pay special attention to the needs and well-being of their children, starting in the early stage of development."

Mrs. Holder lauded nurses at the polyclinic for hosting the seminar, as well as the many spouses who attended. She said, "It is great to see fathers at the workshop. Quite often the role of fathers in a child’s life is underestimated… you have a major role to play, the mothers need you, the children need you, it is an investment that will pay great dividends."

The antenatal seminar was held under the theme "New Beginnings". It provided the mothers-to-be and their partners with insights into surviving on a reduced budget, handling parenting in an ever changing environment and learning how to care for the new born infant.

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