All posts filed under: Motherhood

These posts cover all things motherhood – from pregnancy to breastfeeding and parenting.

Who Says I’m a Bad Mother?

Women may often be described as goddess-like, but perfect we are not. When my daughters were born I was ill-prepared and scared, and I momentarily felt like I lost a sense of myself. Don’t get me wrong – my little miracles were precious to me from the first hint that I was pregnant, but it was a major life change. Sharing these mixed emotions seemed to perplex people, as though I should have been ever-joyous, selfless and nurturing, even despite sleep deprivation and my body being transformed beyond recognition. I was a working mother who also attended school but I wanted to ensure the girls were my first priority. I made sure I was home most days after they were dismissed from school. We spent our afternoons doing homework, laughing and talking as they eagerly told stories of their day. Each night, I was thankful that I was able to read to them, pray with them and tuck them in. And as soon as they dozed off, I cracked my schoolbooks open. Everyone familiar with my …

UN Experts Call for Action on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Breastfeeding is recognized as a human rights issue for both mothers and babies, and those who wish to breastfeed their children have the right to unbiased and accurate information to be able to make informed choices. There are numerous barriers facing women worldwide in regards of optimal breastfeeding. Inappropriate and varying knowledge and skills among healthcare workers, non-existent maternity leave and non-supportive cultural practices are only a few that affect and hinder women who wish to breastfeed. On November 22nd, a joint statement by a group of UN experts was released to urge action on one major obstacle: the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, also known as formula. Together, they call upon Member States to implement legal measures to protect babies and mothers from misleading, and often aggressive marketing. Let’s have a look at some facts: Global sales of breast-milk substitutes total US$ 44.8 billion In 2019, the number is expected to rise to US$ 70.6 billion Of 194 countries analyzed, 135 have some form of legal measure in place related to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (also …

The Arduous Process of Getting Pregnant: Infertility and IVF

Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, or if I struggle to fall asleep in the night, I tend to go back to the time when my husband Jakob and I decided that we wanted to have a baby. So far, this is the sunshine story of my life. While trying to wrap my head around the fact that Donald Trump has been elected President of the (not so) United States, I’ve been finding it hard to come up with ideas for an inspiring post. Sadly and unfortunately, this sorry excuse for a man has been occupying my mind and for a brief moment, I feel like I need to go to my “happy place” to be able to combat my somewhat darker thoughts, and to regain energy. We had been together for about a year and a half when Jakob was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I vividly remember everything from that doctor’s appointment in February 2013 – the look on the doctor’s face while doing the ultrasound screening, and that moment when Jakob and I …

World Prematurity Day 2016 – The Simplest of Interventions that Saves Lives

Each year more than 15 million babies are born prematurely, many of whom die within their first few days of life. Today, on World Prematurity Day 2016, we are shedding light on one of the most effective, yet basic interventions: Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). With exclusive breastfeeding being one of its essential components, this method has the potential to save the lives of babies born prematurely. This week, in connection with World Prematurity Day, Save the Children announced that representatives of major international and U.S. associations for health professionals will come together and endorse a joint statement recommending the universal use of KMC for all preterm and low birth weight infants. So, what does Kangaroo Mother Care entail and why do we need it? KMC is a method of care practiced on newborn children – usually preterm (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), low birthweight infants – where the mother, father or another carer functions as a natural incubator, providing heat, stimulation and feeding to the baby. The newborn, only wearing a nappy and a …

Traveling to Malaysia & the Global Breastfeeding Partners Forum

I was invited to represent Girls’ Globe at World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action‘s (WABA)Global Breastfeeding Partners Forum (GBPF) in Penang, Malaysia, on quite short notice. To me, this meant that I didn’t have the time to get nervous, nor to actually realize that I was going to the other side of the world with my husband and 8-month-old daughter. When the airplane lifted towards the cloudy sky in Copenhagen it all suddenly hit me, and my heart skipped a beat. I was going to attend a breastfeeding conference with people from all over the world, many of whom have been in the game for longer than I have even existed. I was going to represent this fantastic organization that I had only even been aware of for no more than two months or so. I was going to take part in a plenary session in front of all of these knowledgeable people. What on earth was I getting myself into? What was I going to say? We arrived in Penang quite late in the evening, two …

Breastfeeding and the Sustainable Development Goals

Breastfeeding is an essential part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can be mirrored in not only the most obvious ones – like Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-being – but in many (if not all) of the other goals. Its impact and benefit for the baby, mother and thus society as a whole might not be the main target of the goal, but indirectly many linkages can be recognized. Breast milk is, and always has been free. The costs for formula on the other hand, can have huge impact on a household’s budget. Our babies don’t need anything else – not even water – for the first six months of their lives, if they are exclusively breastfed (of course, there are always exceptions to the rule). With adequate information and support, nearly all mothers can breastfeed their children, no matter their financial situation. What an amazing, effective and inexpensive intervention in the battle to end poverty! Zero Hunger and Good Health and Well-Being are essential goals towards global sustainability and equality, and they …

On Motherhood and Sharing Personal Experiences

Seven months ago I had my first child. After many hormone injections (including many hormonal roller coasters) and two painful egg retrievals, I was finally pregnant! I had an uncomplicated pregnancy, a quick and rather easy childbirth, and a good postpartum period. I have been able to breastfeed my child from the beginning and fortunately she has not yet had any complications in her life. She’s a very content and happy baby who sleeps well, eats well, and even pees and poops on the toilet. Of course, there are days when she cannot be pleased whatever my husband or I do, and nights when she screams and keeps us awake for hours. However, this is certainly an anomaly, and I’ve realized that I’m a very fortunate mommy. But I cannot fully settle with that. Based upon my experiences with my daughter, I’ve come to realize that it should not be a privilege to have a safe childbirth, to get adequate information regarding everything from pregnancy to the postnatal time and everything there is to it …

#10 – Saving the Lives of Mothers & Babies: Conversations from Women Deliver 2016

In this episode, Julia speaks with leaders that are working to save the lives of mothers and babies at the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen. Women Deliver 2016 was the largest gathering of the decade focusing on women’s rights, health and well-being. Julia has an intimate conversation with Denise Dunning, Founder and Executive Director of Rise Up. Denise shares the story of the birth of her third child – an experience that didn’t go as planned – and the experiences of women she knows around the world, who haven’t been as lucky as her. Denise talks about the importance of raising the voices of women and girls, and what Rise Up does to strengthen the rights and health of women and girls worldwide. “I think that sharing stories and sharing my own story can be a source of power. I’ve seen that in the girls and women that we work with. Enabling them to amplify their voices and to share their stories helps people to understand that despite the incredible challenges and obstacles they face, they are not …

#9 – Maternal Health, Breastfeeding and Women’s Rights

In this episode of The Mom Pod, Julia has conversations about innovations and interventions that make a real difference for maternal and newborn health and the linkage to women’s rights with Jerker Liljestrand, Senior Program Officer for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Roger Mathisen, Program Director for Alive & Thrive in Southeast Asia. At the Women Deliver 2016 conference there was a lot of talk about new innovations that lead development forward to improve maternal, newborn and child health. When asked about what innovations can make a major difference and be brought to scale, Jerker Liljestrand spoke about women’s rights – their freedom, mobility, and having access to information and opportunities for dialogue. Further, Jerker spoke about the work that the Gates Foundation does to improve maternal, newborn and child health around the world, and what impact they have achieved. As an obstetrician and gynecologist with experience from many different parts of the world, he also provided some tips to mothers about how they can demand quality care. “It’s …

The Importance of Information During Pregnancy and the Role of Midwives

Today most women have access to the Internet. According to midwives Maria Bjelke and Anna-Karin Martinsson who presented their study at a session titled “Information / Education During Pregnancy”, 95% of pregnant women in the south of Sweden use the Internet to find information about pregnancy and birth. Of the women who turn to the Internet as a source, 64% experience anxiety after reading information online. According to a study carried out by Bjelke and Martinsson, there is a significant correlation between women accessing information about pregnancy and birth online and consequently contacting healthcare services. How should I, as a midwife work with this information? With the widespread access to the Internet, it is important for midwives to inform expectant mothers about reliable sources on the Internet that they can trust, and also to properly inform them that a lot of the information online about pregnancy and birth is unreliable and often simply untrue. I also believe it’s important to assure pregnant women of the fact that most women go through their pregnancy without complications and …