Bela Mae Carlson

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Honored by Billie M. Anthony and Barbara L. Carlson, her daughters

Our mother, Billie Carlson, deserves recognition for her enthusiastic and dedicated contribution to childbirth education in Connecticut.

In the 1960s, our mother went to New York City to study the Lamaze Method of Natural Childbirth with Elizabeth Bing, who had studied Dr. Fernand Lamaze’s theory in France. Our mother became the first practitioner in Connecticut of this controversial method. My sister and I remember couples coming to our house, the wife hugely pregnant and the husband carrying a pillow, to take classes in the unique breathing techniques of natural childbirth.

Our mother also became a monitrice, a private-duty nurse for obstetrical patients whose husbands would not accompany them in natural childbirth. She also was the first Nurse Practitioner in obstetrics and gynecology in Connecticut.

It was through her work as a Nurse Practitioner that she became aware that many women suffered the effects of childhood sexual abuse, and so later in her career Mom became a certified sex therapist, conducting creative workshops which endeared her to many women. My sister and I got used to other women also calling our mom “Mother.”

Billie Carlson was an outstanding role model in her field for many people, especially our brother Bruce and for Barbara who became nurses, and for daughter Billie, who became a teacher. Our father was always very proud and supportive of Mom in her career, which gave the entire family a greater cohesiveness and joy.