All posts tagged: Motherhood

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 …

The Power and Influence of Mothers-in-Law in Lesotho

We have all heard the stories of ‘monsters-in-law’ when a group of women get talking about their husbands’ mothers. Some women are blessed with mothers-in-law who treat them as respected family members, while others struggle with finding balance between two of the most important women in a man’s life. In Lesotho (southern Africa), this same dichotomy exists, but the ‘monsters-in-law’ are creating consequences far more severe than whose lasagna is preferred, or who will host Christmas dinner. When we think about achieving gender equity, many of us assume that men are holding girls and women back through patriarchal norms. But mothers-in-law are women – and they have traditionally been one of the greatest hindrances to empowering women in Lesotho. When a man and woman get married in Lesotho, it is traditional for the newlywed couple to live with the husband’s family for six months with no contact with the brides’ family. If she fails to meet her mother-in-law’s expectations, she will often be mocked and sometimes even abused. For many young women who enter into marriage …

Postpartum Depression and the Danger of ‘Bad Mom’ Stigma

“I felt so trapped, like I had a made a huge mistake in having my child.” It’s heart-wrenching to imagine any mother having to say these words about her own child merely days after giving birth. But while interviewing Serena*, a young, resilient, postpartum depression (PPD) survivor last year, I was taken by surprise by this phrase. Serena’s story about her struggles as a mother suffering from PPD were poignant. From difficulties getting out bed and taking care of herself, to a severe emotional disconnection from her own child and family, Serena suffered for weeks after giving birth to her first child. She felt unsupported and, after hearing accounts of mothers who were enjoying motherhood, she soon labeled herself a “bad mom” which caused her depression to deepen further. It was not until she found a support group with other women going through similar struggles that she regained her strength and spirits. In the peer group, she found solace in knowing she wasn’t alone and that she was not indeed, a bad mother. The women who …

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 …

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 …

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 …

#11 – Maternal Health in Tanzania: Inside Maternity Africa

Welcome back to The Mom Pod! After a brief summer break, we are excited to continue with our podcast series and continue to bring you interesting, sincere and thought provoking podcasts on all things related to pregnancy, motherhood, parenthood and babies around the world! Starting from today, our new episodes will now air every other week on Mondays – to mark the important #MaternalMonday advocacy campaign by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. The #MaternalMonday social media campaign brings awareness to the importance of ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery for mothers and babies everywhere in the world. To participate, head over to Twitter, follow @Maternal_Monday and join the conversation with the hashtag #MaternalMonday, or visit their website to learn more. In this episode of The Mom Pod, we take a closer look at the state of maternal health and midwifery in one particular African country: Tanzania. I had the pleasure to visit a great organization, Maternity Africa, based in the Selian hospital in Arusha, Tanzania, where I interviewed a few of their midwives and nurses about …

Sisterhood Unfulfilled: A Story of Unspeakable Loss

This blog post is the first of a three part series written by: Abby Tseggai Almost everyone knows a woman who has brought a baby into the world- and how expecting families share a similar joy, full of optimism and big dreams as they anxiously wait to hold their little baby. It is easy to forget in all the excitement that the possibility of an unfathomable reality—the death of a child—can actually occur. I want to share with you a very personal story of girl named Fana, from Eritrea. At the tender age of seven years old, she and her family experienced a tragedy that was only the beginning of decades of havoc to follow. Fana’s little sister, died unexpectedly at just five years old from an illness unknown. The emotional trauma Fana experienced stemmed in part from losing her baby sister – but mostly, it came from having to witness her mother grieve for most of her life. Her mother’s pain and depression was so severe that she struggled to be mentally and emotionally present …

#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 …

Drawing Out Obstetric Fistula

Post Written By: Abbey Kocan, Executive Director  The first time I met a woman who was recovering from obstetric fistula surgery, I was faced with a reality I had been sheltered from for far too long. Four years later, while the level of awareness around this condition in the developed world has grown, there is still a lot of work to be done before this critical global health challenge is given a permanent place in the spotlight. Imagine if, while giving birth, you or your partner faced a complication requiring emergency medical care. Imagine if that care was unavailable, and you lost your baby. You grieve for the loss of the child who was so close to living. You, or your partner, suffer silently, trying to find a way to cope with the physical trauma that leaves you incontinent, unable to work and further devastated by judgment and abuse at the hands of your friends and family. Kupona Foundation’s fistula program has treated patients as young as 12, and as old as 82. Imagine living …