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Babies and Bellies – The View
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Babies and Bellies


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“I’m going into labor!”

“Want to feel her kick?”

“She’s my pride and joy.”

These are just a few of the jokes cracked by the students in Park Hill South’s child growth and development class.

For the students of South, seeing a pregnant belly or a baby in a carrier is not always an oddity.  Every semester the girls, and occasional boy, in the child growth and development class take turns either wearing an empathy belly or taking home a RealCare baby for the night.

This year is the first year in a while that the empathy bellies are required. They were originally extra credit, but now there are few enough students for all to get a turn. These bellies give the experience of being nine months pregnant. It gives the students an opportunity to see how difficult carrying a baby can be and how hard it is to do many things while you’re pregnant.

Gabrielle Griffith, Senior, said, “It’s heavy and uncomfortable, and when you wear it in public people think it’s real.”

Other students agree.

Ashton Dittmer, junior, said, “It’s a little embarrassing, it always seems like people are judging you.”

The RealCare babies are one in the same. They give the students an understanding of what it’s like caring for a newborn baby. They have computer chips in them and a program set so it cries and the student either needs to feed, burp, change or comfort the baby.

“It gives you all the basics, but you don’t love it like a real baby so it’s hard to have the motivation to take care of it constantly” said Dittmer

Almost all the the students agree that it is a good experience in order to know what to expect, even though it can be hard. It’s main purpose is to give students a realistic and accurate experience of being pregnant and caring for an infant.

Janis Foster, Growth and Development teacher, said, “They really enjoy the experience in the beginning, but in the end most often say, ‘This is really hard, take this baby back’ or ‘take this off me my back is sore and I’m too warm’ They are eager going into it and just as eager to give them back to us.”

Each student returns their baby or bellie after a day or two and they are passed to the next student to give parenting a try, whether they joke about going into labor or take it very seriously.

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