Today we are kicking off a Q&A series with our Wright Mommy and Me class leaders so that you can get to know them a bit more personally. Have you met Kim-Lan Dovan, MFT? Kim-Lan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, with over 15 years of specialized experience with babies, young children, and their parents. She’s instructed Wright Mommy and Me classes for the last 6 years.
1. What is your favorite part about leading Wright Mommy groups?
There really are so many wonderful aspects of being a Wright Mommy and Me leader. One part that I really enjoy is watching the newborn babies grow and bond together. When babies begin to recognize each other and start to explore and “play” together it really melts my heart. Watching their interactions as they become more aware and active in class is amazing. At the same time, the moms are finding their own groove too. Oftentimes when we have discussions about our class topics such as language, sleep or separation anxiety, you can feel the room shift as moms realize that they’re not alone. I think this understanding along with knowledge and consistency really helps to build a parent’s confidence.
2. Do you have a favorite memory from the past 6 years of teaching?
I love seeing mommy and me “firsts”. We’ve seen the first time baby rolled over, said “mama”, crawled and of course, first steps! A vivid “first” memory I have was when I talking about food during a group with 10 and 11 month olds. We were talking about menu ideas just as an older baby stood up next to her unsuspecting mom and took a bite of her turkey sandwich! The best part was that her baby did not have a single tooth yet, but ending up eating another three bites. We were laughing and talking about it for while after that!
3. What is the most common discussion you hear in your groups?
Early on in groups the conversation tends to move toward sleep and then food. “When should he be sleeping? How long? What’s too short? What’s too long? When should we start solids? What kind of solids? How much? How often?” And of course, “Is there anything I need to buy???” There’s a lot of focus on products and timelines, which can get in the way of individual family needs. There’s so much information out there that it helps to visualize your own values and goals. I like to talk about how both of these topics relate to the baby’s individual readiness and how to support them during transitions and new experiences. We have a lot of great handouts that allow the parent to put the focus back on their own baby.
4. Over the years, have you seen parenting change?
When I first started doing groups, the idea of self care for mommies was just gaining traction. Now we know how important it really is, not just for moms, but for babies too. We’ll have a class on evolving motherhood and already the moms are sharing some of they ways they are taking care of their spiritual, emotional and physical self. Sometime it’s hard to give ourselves this permission, but I see it happening more and more. I know that it can be hard to find this balance, but I definitely think it’s becoming a larger part of the parenting landscape.
5. Outside of Wright Mommy, what do you like to do for fun?
My daughter Sofia and I recently discovered the Aquarium of the Pacific. I’ve decided that staring at the jellyfish tanks might be our new favorite show! (I find it relaxing, she thinks it fun to name them all) At home I enjoy cooking (got that from my parents.) Lately Sofia has been asking to help out, so that might be something I can pass on to her. Also, depending on the sport season, you can either find me with my husband and daughter cheering on the LA Galaxy or with my New England West family watching the Patriots.
The Wright Mommy and Me classes nurture the adjustment to motherhood and explore many topics throughout baby’s first year, while also creating a place to find new and supportive friendships with other moms. Developed by Julie Wright, MFT, co-author of The Happy Sleeper (praised by Daniel Siegel, MD, author of Whole Brain Child as “Compassionate, courageous and creative!”)
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