The many faces of Elaine
When I spoke to Elaine on the phone last week she was everything I had imagined her to be. With her charming southern accent, warm open and loquacious personality,
I immediately connected with her. Actually I could hardly contain my enthusiasm, cutting her off many times. Elaine suggested that we talk about the times we spoke to our daughters about sexuality, menstruation in particular,
"I am sure that you are an expert, since you have six daughters!"
I panicked because I was awkward when I did speak to my girls. I hated to admit this to Elaine but we shared laughter when we discovered that we both had helped a daughter use tampons by standing outside the bathroom door and shouting directions and encouragement through a tiny crack in the doorway. Since Elaine has seen thousands of naked women in the midst of childbirth, she found this experience with her shy daughter hilarious.
One of Elaine's biggest mandates is to improve mother/daughter communication about sexuality, starting with menstruation Most mothers are confident that their girls could ask them anything. Ironically, those very same daughters, when questioned, are horrified by the suggestion that they would approach their mothers with questions about sexuality. Elaine is adamant that open communication between mothers and daughters is crucial and it cannot happen after a girl's first period. Long before that happens, mothers must make a conscious effort to plan private dates with their daughters be it a long car drive, a luncheon or shopping trip . Any event that is private and invites intimate sharing. This will form a habit of confiding in each other for later years their daughters have serious worries or questions.
Her husband is the tall, quiet type, a perfect foil for this outgoing, confidant woman who loves to plunge right into the middle of things. At a recent event, as her husband eyed a spot at the back of the room, Elaine spotted the key-note speaker. Grabbing his hand, she excitedly headed for the front table and introduced herself. The main speaker immediately connected with Elaine of course, inviting them to sit down and join her. Her husband though simply was not comfortable sitting up front, on display in front of the entire crowd.
Even as a child, Elaine wanted to help people by becoming a nurse. In fact she was a natural. For example when a neighbour suffered a sever cut, it was twelve-year old Elaine who calmly applied pressure to the wound while everyone one else ran around in a panic.
The Cleveland heights House she grew up in still stands. Her mom said it cost 12,500 to build.
Her last hospital job was in Maternity and she loved it because everyday brought new challenges and new women to relate to. She studied for her Masters in Nursing and would have loved to become a midwife but that involved a long commute and as a young mother, it simply was not an option. Even when she was a spokesperson for Tampax in public relations answering consumers questions, Elaine has always kept up her RN status by taking refresher classes and written tests. She is a nurse above all else.
Friends, relatives, neighbours all know this, turning to Elaine as their health expert. She spends a lot of professional time answering health related questions from a variety of professionals as well. Even when she does not know the facts, she researches them and then relates them in a way that is more understandable than just reading the medical literature. Elaine really cares about and loves people, taking the time to help people really understand medical answers.
“It isn’t a matter of telling anyone what to do – far from it. It is about providing factual information about health so decisions about how to manage it for one’s self, is made using the best information possible. I decided to post on blogher.com because it is a place where women and teens go to ask questions about puberty, periods, menstrual health and menopause and to talk to each other about their questions and concerns. “
Elaine invites anyone with questions to, “Please feel free to ask away!”
Basically she is always on call. Nursing is a true vocation which has become part of her personality, her core identity. What does this woman do in her free time? What is her hobby? Why blogging mostly about women’s health at Blogher, what else? She is always exploring new creative avenues to become more effective.
Recently she started using video clips inserted into some blogs because she feels she can engage her audience when they can see her face and hear her voice. She is a woman who has tapped into the power of social media to reach hundreds if not thousands of women with health questions. Most often the questions are about that taboo subject-menstruation.
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