Driving Skills

Driving Skills

When teenagers learn to drive, most parents strap on a great amount of patience and resolve. Parents typically quiz their children on the laws of driving to ensure they understand the material well. They become their biggest cheerleader when their child achieves the goal of getting their driver’s license! Don’t most parents give their children the guidance, direction, and gift of believing in them when the time comes for them to make such important decisions?

We don’t typically focus on teaching our student drivers how to minimize the damage of a future crash. Doing so would make it appear as though we assume a crash is inevitable. Rather, we focus on helping our teens learn and understand the skills needed to be a successful driver.

Likewise, we must give our teenagers successful life skills to make healthy and wise choices. We must not assume they are going to fail to do so.

Clarity of South Central Indiana believes in equipping our community with the education needed to allow individuals to make healthy sexual decisions. Complete with truth, facts, and medically accurate data, we aim to empower and equip people to make the healthiest, best choices, not compromising ones.

If you would like more information about Clarity’s educational program or how you can be involved in this life-changing work, please call us at 1-866-510-5067.

I Decide for Me
My Best for You

Things to Consider When Searching for a Great Sitter

Things to Consider When Searching for a Great Sitter

Due to the busyness of life and our commitment to a multitude of activities, we are presented times where we leave our children in the hands of someone we trust. Perhaps it is work responsibilities or the weekly Friday night date that draws us away. Despite the reasoning, whenever we ask others to care for our children, we put faith in them that they will protect our most precious possessions. Finding a great sitter can sometimes feel stressful, but when we do, we are given peace of mind whenever we leave home. Listed below are a few thoughts to consider when searching for a great sitter and to ensure expectations are clear.

How much are you willing to pay, and how much may they be asking for? Is it reasonable in consideration with what you are asking of them?

How frequently will you need them? What does of the week will they be available?

Special skills
Is the sitter certified in safety procedures? Do they know how to perform CPR or basic medical attention your child may require?

Potential tasks
Will they be able and willing to assist with homework, cooking, transportation, etc.?

Past work history
Does their previous work or sitter experience demonstrate reliability, timeliness, and dependability?

Ask them how engaged they plan to be with the children
What activities will they plan for free and unstructured time?

If you are unfamiliar with the sitter or if they were not recommended to you, ask the sitter for 2-3 references, and follow up with them.

There’s no such thing as a perfect person; therefore, there is no such thing as a perfect sitter. However, if you find someone that you trust, is dependable, you know will love and care for your children, and is able to meet your clear expectations, then you’ve hit the sitter jackpot! Your children are special gifts you have been entrusted with, and a great sitter will understand that as well.

Parents: Do’s & Don’ts for the First Week of School

Parents: Do’s & Don’ts for the First Week of School

Whether we like it or not, back to school time is upon us, and summer as we know it is ending. Having the freedom of summer has been fun, but now it’s time to start thinking of all things school: buying supplies, school outfits and shoes, bedtime routines, and packing lunches. Some may be shouting with joy as we send our kids back to the routine of school life, while some may be dreading the next phase. Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or a novice, here are five do’s and five don’ts to consider the first week of school, or really for the whole school year.


  1. Have an emotional breakdown when you send your kids to school. (You can cry when they leave!) Letting them know it will be a good day and that this is a normal part of growing up, will help them feel secure.
  2. Use baby talk or your favorite nicknames for the child at school. Believe us, your child will thank you.
  3. Turn the music up in your vehicle while you are dropping off your middle schooler. Starting middle school is hard enough without their “cool parents” embarrassing them. They are trying to discover who they are and make new friendships. (Of course, you are still cool!)
  4. Decide to bring lunch to your child on the first day. Let them get settled building relationships with the friends they will spend the year with.
  5. Go to their classroom, unpack their backpack and organize their school supplies for them. When/How will they learn the responsibility of taking care of their things if we are doing it?!


  1. Ask them how their first day was. Carve out time to sit down and ask open-ended questions like: What was your favorite part of today? What is one goal you would like to achieve this year?
  2. Sit down for dinner as a family. There is nothing better that you can do for the health of your family and child(ren) than to share a meal. This gives security and makes your home a “safe place”. We all have busy schedules, but try to make it a priority sometime throughout the week.
  3. Create a system to organize all of the school papers. You may want a place where you can keep information on hand that you’ll need frequently.
  4. Gradually move the kids’ bedtime up. While they may complain, their sleep is an important part of succeeding at school.
  5. Offer to volunteer in your child’s classroom, if time allows. This is a great way to help their teacher and get to know their friends.

Certainly this isn’t an exhaustive list of things you can do to prepare your child, but it’s a good start. The important thing is to make the year fun. Be the trusted adult your child relies on for their healthy future, and you can conquer anything the school year tosses your way.

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Understanding Postpartum Depression

I remember how excited I was when I got pregnant with our first child almost 20 years ago. I was thrilled to be expecting a child that we would welcome into our hearts and home. We had wanted to get pregnant so we were happy to have had no problem conceiving. I had no morning sickness to really speak of; just an occasional wave of nausea here and there. Then something happened around the 25th week of my pregnancy and I became sick. I became what is called pre-eclamptic and had to go on complete bed rest at 28 weeks due to extreme high blood pressure. It was around this time I began to experience what I call a “dark cloud” all around me. I just couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of sadness I was experiencing. I didn’t once speak of this to family, friends or my physician because quite honestly, I didn’t have the faintest idea what to call it or why it was there. I had briefly heard of the term “baby blues” , however since I was still pregnant I couldn’t understand how this could be related. I really just thought I was sick. We delivered a healthy daughter at 37 weeks. I fell in love with this little bundle of love and bonded instantaneously. However, the cloud of sadness still loomed. I blamed it on the medications I was on while at the hospital and thought possibly the hormones from pregnancy and breastfeeding may be to blame for how I felt as well.

When I got home, this darkness didn’t let up. I cried and cried. All I wanted to do was sleep and be with my new baby. I couldn’t seem to make myself even get dressed. I would wake-up when my husband got up for work only to return back to bed and sleep. When I heard him pull into the drive for lunch I would jump up and throw on some clothes and pretend to be doing something around the house. I could never seem to get even the most basic things done. Everything seemed so difficult. It was like my feet were in wet sand. I struggled to even care for myself. I would care for our new daughter, but felt really overwhelmed with my new role as wife AND mother. I grew somewhat resentful of my husband and his ability to seemingly transition so well from husband to dad.

I even grew angry. It seemed every little thing was an irritant and I found myself crying and being even more angry as the months seemed to lag on. I could never seem to shut off the thoughts running through my mind. I had no idea what was wrong with me. I had no idea why I was struggling so desperately with this darkness and fog that had grown to huge proportions in my mind. I didn’t understand why because I loved our daughter and my husband but still this darkness threatened to overpower me completely. I finally sought help after contemplating driving off the road and ending my despair with the wish of death.

Perhaps you are feeling like I felt or some of these other symptoms resonate with you:

Possible Postpartum Depression Symptoms

  • Feel very sad and hopeless
  • Have trouble sleeping or want to sleep all the time.
  • Don’t feel like eating or wanting to eat all the time.
  • Feel confused and distracted.
  • Don’t think I can be a good mother.
  • Feel anxious and get angry easily.
  • Not interested in your baby.
  • Don’t want to get dressed or do daily tasks.
  • Constantly worried about your baby.
  • Don’t want to see friends and family.

If any of these statements are true for you and last more than 2 weeks or become more severe, please immediately call your health-care provider for help.

My first step for help was to see my OB/GYN and he was wonderful. He spoke to me about my feelings and helped me understand I was dealing with postpartum depression (PPD). Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression that can affect the mother or father after the birth of a child. My doctor reassured me I wasn’t crazy or alone. He did prescribe some medicine to help me get my feet back under me so to speak. I also sought counseling and little by little the darkness began to lift. The darkness that once felt so heavy and overpowering slowly eased up. What seemed like such a struggle became easier and less burdensome. Eventually, I made it through and the darkness and the fog lifted.

I had five more pregnancies after this one, however I never struggled with postpartum depression like I experienced during and after my first pregnancy. I am thankful to have had such great support in my life. I have a caring husband, a wonderful doctor and great counselor who all helped me cope with this very difficult time in my life.

Please do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Postpartum depression is real and difficult, but the sooner you get help the sooner you can start feeling better. Remember, the feelings you may be experiencing are not your fault and you didn’t do anything wrong; postpartum depression is an illness. Talk to someone you trust and your health-care provider today. You can also talk to us as Clarity. We’re always here to lend a listening ear and help connect you to the resources in our community that can provide you the help you need.

Written by Missi Maschino, Center Manager of Clarity Pregnancy Services in North Vernon and Clarity Pregnancy Services in Greensburg

*Resources used for this blog include the MayoClinic, Channing Bete Company and PostPartum Progress

BABY&ME – Tobacco Free Program

BABY&ME – Tobacco Free Program

In April of 2016, Clarity Pregnancy Services began offering our clients the BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program initiative to help pregnant women quit smoking and remain tobacco free. Housed out of our Columbus pregnancy center, clients throughout the Clarity organization are eligible to enroll in the program to receive counseling support and resources to help them quit smoking.
Throughout their pregnancy, those enrolled will have four prenatal visits. On the third and fourth visit, they can earn a $25 voucher for diapers, and on the fourth visit, a diaper bag filled with a few baby items of their choice. Upon successfully quitting and remaining tobacco free, participants can receive a $25 voucher for free diapers every month for up to 12 months following the birth of their child. If their support person quits as well, they can earn another $25 in vouchers each month.
A year after launching the program, we caught up with the BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program coordinator and Columbus Center Manager, Lisa Pardue, to hear about the program’s impact.
What feedback did you receive from the BABY & ME – Tobacco Free program participants in the first year?
We heard lots of comments that it was a wonderful program from those who participated. We wish we had more join! One particular client shared after completing the program, “ BABY & ME – Tobacco Free program gave me more motivation to quit and a better support system. The best part of quitting and staying quit is that I am breathing better and my baby is perfectly healthy and full term!”
How is Clarity able to provide this program at no cost?
Anthem is underwriting our program. They provide us with all of the equipment for testing, the diaper bags and gift items, and the vouchers for free diapers.
Why did you begin offering the program in the first place?
Amanda Organist used to be our staff sonographer at our Columbus location. She left Clarity in 2015 to work full time at the Bartholomew County Health Department (although she\ still serves at Clarity now performing the ultrasounds at our Greensburg location). The Health Department offered this program, but weren’t experiencing much success (less than 10 clients went through the program). She felt it would be better to host the program out of a location where pregnant mothers were already regularly going so they would not have an extra barrier of having to find transportation to go to another facility. That’s when she suggested Clarity take on the initiative!
Do you have any data on how effective the program has been so far?
We’ve had a total of 25 clients participate in the program in the last 13 months we’ve offered it at Clarity. We’ve also helped an additional 11 support partners.
How can those interested sign up or find out more information about the program?
Just call us at 812-378-4114 to schedule an appointment Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m
A Safe Place to Sleep

A Safe Place to Sleep

Have you ever heard of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS? SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants between the ages of 1 and 12 months. The cause of SIDS is largely unknown; however, recent research suggests SIDS babies are born with an abnormality in the brain that controls breathing and waking during sleep, which makes them vulnerable to SIDS.

SIDS is the diagnosis given for the sudden death of an infant under one year of age that is unexplained after a complete investigation. An autopsy is done to rule out underlying health issues, family history/genetics, to review the infant’s symptoms or illnesses before death, and to examine the death scene. Some risk factors of SIDS include being born prematurely, having mothers who smoke, teenage mothers or mothers who did not receive adequate prenatal care.

What can we do as parents and caregivers to help reduce the risk of SIDS? One of the most important things we can do is to place the baby on their back to sleep; this keeps the infant from re-breathing. Re-breathing is when the baby breathes in the air that they have already exhaled, which is rich in carbon dioxide instead of oxygen. Placing an infant on his/her side or stomach can cause the baby to re-breathe the “bad air”.

In addition, if soft or fluffy items are placed in the infant’s bed, they have the possibility of getting in the baby’s face and can also cause re-breathing of “bad air”, or potentially, suffocation. The pack n’ play or crib where the infant sleeps should not have stuffed animals, pillows, blankets or bumper pads in it, only a tight fitting sheet and sufficient clothing to keep the infant warm. Infants are encouraged to share rooms with parents/guardians, but never share a bed. Putting an infant in bed with adults also puts the child at risk for suffocation. Regular use of a pacifier at naps or nighttime is one other way to decrease the risk of SIDS.

Lastly, infants in a smoke-free environment are 2 to 3 times less likely to die of SIDS. We encourage you to not allow anyone to smoke near your baby or in your home. Require anyone who does smoke to wash their face and hands and change their clothes before holding your infant, as third-hand smoke is still dangerous.

Infants should always have a safe place of their own to sleep. Cribs with bars wide enough to fit a soda can through are dangerous to infants and should not be used. Cribs which are broken or missing pieces can also be dangerous.

If you need help providing a safe sleep for your infant and need to learn more, please contact us to set up an appointment for a Safe Sleep class. In addition to learning everything you need to know to protect your infant from SIDS, you can earn a safe place to sleep for your infant at no cost to you, if needed.