Inspiration & Expert Advice on What Matters Most

Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Please Help: Nicaraguan Maternal Health Project

In Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News, travel on November 6, 2017 at 10:31

Nica pregnant women

By Rosita Hassan

As many of you know, Nicaragua is a country very near and dear to my heart and women’s and maternal health is an issue that I have grown up with (thanks to my incredible midwife mother). While living in Nicaragua, I had the fortune to meet many courageous and resilient women of great strength and tenacity, who endured countless challenges in order to better their lives and the lives of their families.

Now back in the States, I became involved with a group of dedicated students and faculty from the University of Pittsburgh that have teamed up with Global Links and Rise Against Hunger to send support to pregnant women and new mothers in rural Nicaragua. You can donate here.

Pregnant women in rural Nicaragua face enormous challenges, and their resilience and endurance is a testament to the strength of women everywhere.

We are short of reaching our goal by $2,195. We need to hit this target by November 15th to provide essential nutritious packaged food to mothers in rural Nicaragua. 
We are kindly asking for YOUR support. ANY contribution helps!

Also, if you are a PITT STUDENT and want to contribute by volunteering your time, please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks in advance,

Rosita Hassan

Note by Laura Sgroi: “Everything I want for me I want for others”. As a pregnant woman, everything I wanted was good food and excellent healthcare (compliments and massages came next!). Everybody deserves the same. I feel for these women, thanks for helping them.

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How My Mother Taught Me to Love

In Blogging, Contributors, Family, Giving Back=Paying It Forward, Health, News, Relationships on May 30, 2016 at 09:35

The following piece was written by Lia Seirotti, Writer and Blogger at A Girl in Her Thirties

Lia

Lia Seirotti

Some people come into our lives and we feel instant chemistry. With little effort we form a friendship that is not easily broken. Others, require time and effort, and with great difficulty we work to build those relationships. Still, in the face of rejection, if we counter with love, we can create strong bonds. That is what my mother taught me.

My mother says I rejected her almost immediately when I was born. It could be because I was dealing with the pain and symptoms caused by a slight birth defect; but I suspect my real defect was being born with a tendency to be less affectionate than most humans. From then onward, I’ve continued being somewhat cold. To this day, I prefer not to have unsolicited skin contact, I rarely ask for hugs, and I am extremely uncomfortable when strangers touch me. I am perfectly content this way. Deep down, however, I know this personality trait has always bothered my mother. In fact, my mother might well be the exact opposite of me, she is more open about her emotions and is not afraid to let her feelings show. Perhaps these are the reasons we didn’t have that instant chemistry the day we met. Rather, our bond is the product of a resilient effort made by my mother to win my affections over time.

It was with courage, through the worst of times that she single-handedly built our relationship. When I was hospitalized at the age of two, my mother dropped everything in her life to advocate for me. With much hardship, she traveled great distances in a developing country, in order for me to receive the best medical care. She stood up to doctors and demanded that I be treated the way she instinctively knew was best. Later, at the age of eight and immigrants in this new country, I was hospitalized a second time. My mother spent every night at my bedside. She comforted me through the physical pain and the fear I felt. Despite the fact that I was not very communicative or affectionate, she stayed with me. Then, when I was diagnosed with different disease at the age of twenty-one, she took care of me once again. My mother knew it was important for me as a newlywed to conserve some dignity. So, for almost a year she came to my house weekly to inject my medications, so that my husband wouldn’t have to see me that way. When I soiled myself in my own bed, she cleaned me. When I lost more weight than I expected, she took my dresses in so that I didn’t look as sick. And when the suicidal thoughts left me debilitated, she cleaned my house and cooked for my husband.

Ten years have passed since my mother last took care of me; but when my older sister called me recently to tell me my mother was in the emergency room, I dropped everything. It was the middle of a workday. Hardly thinking and without packing any clothes, I shut my computer down, got in my car, and drove six hours to be by her side. To be honest, all those moments in my life in which my mother had taken care of me didn’t even cross my mind. I was driven by pure instinct. It was almost a sixth sense that I felt. I knew exactly what my mother needed, and knew that I was the only one who understood the proper way to care for her.

I knew she would need someone who could advocate for her, because that was what she did for me when I was two. I knew she would need someone who would stay by her side every sleepless night, because that was what she did for me when I was eight. And, I knew she would want dignity and privacy because that was what she gave me when I was twenty-one. Immediately upon arriving, I organized and cleaned her room, because that was what she meticulously did for me every week when I was sick. I asked her if she had eaten and taken her medication, even when I knew she hadn’t. I knew I had to make small talk and pretend we weren’t all scared. I knew it was my job to downplay the entire situation as if it were normal, because I have learned to never let the fear of chronic illness show in your demeanor as caregiver.

Now that my mother is recovering, we hardly speak of illness, she knows I’d rather not get emotional. But now we both know now that I am capable of caring for her and that I will when she needs it again. In fact, I don’t remember if I hugged her or kissed her, but I know I cared for her and loved her.

Doctors say there is a vital moment immediately after birth in which a mother and child should have uninterrupted skin to skin contact. They attribute this to being key in any mother-child relationship. While that may be true, I have learned that if you missed that chance you can make up for it with resiliency, compassion, and consideration. Without realizing or intending to, my mother taught me so many invaluable lessons about love. She has shown me that even if you feel you already deserve it and shouldn’t have to, you can work to earn someone’s affections. She taught me how to nurse someone you love. She modeled what unconditional love looks like and taught me that it can triumph over unrequited love.

About Lia:

Lia is a writer, blogger, and art-lover. Ultimately, just a girl in her thirties blogging about Miami’s lifestyle, her travels, and growing up in general on her coming of age blog: www.agirlinherthirties.com.

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Choosing between career, motherhood is unnecessary

In Career, Entrepreneurs, Family, Great Articles Found Doing Research, Lifestyle, News on November 23, 2015 at 09:00

By Shelby Bradford

bizmom

As a woman pursuing a college degree, I am keenly aware of the disadvantages and choices I face. However, I do not believe that I, nor young girls should be told that they have to choose between having a career and pursuing motherhood.

To this end, I strongly disagree with the statements made by Vivienne Durham, the former headmistress of an all-girls boarding school, in a recent article from the United Kingdom. In the article, she claimed telling girls they can handle having both a family and a career is “lying” to them about the reality of the glass ceiling, which states women and minorities face barriers in advancing in their careers.

I do not believe we have to force young girls to choose one over the other in order to explain societal inequalities to them, and I certainly don’t believe that saying “feminism” perpetuates the notion that the glass ceiling doesn’t exist.

A large issue with the claims made in the article is that Durham’s definition of feminism is flawed. She claimed she is not a feminist because, by her interpretation, being a feminist means you do not tell girls the glass ceiling exists. This is simply not true.

To many, feminism is about acknowledging the social disadvantages in place and challenging them. It is about not wanting to settle with the way things currently are because you know they are unfair and should be changed. By Durham telling girls they have to make a choice between having children and having a career, she is perpetuating that inequality and therefore stopping her students from achieving their full potential before they even have the chance to try.

The next problem in her statement was there was no happy medium in having a career and having children. She implied women who did choose to pursue both were either “juggling” them or were pushed back several years in one or the other, such as either postponing having children or not accepting a promotion in order to have them.

I acknowledge I personally have not taken on a child, but I know a number of professors and faculty at this University, as well as in my personal life, who have had children at the end of their collegiate career or the start of their professional one. They do not seem to be struggling to balance the two or were negatively impacted by their decision to wait the extra years to have children. This is something I felt Durham also skewed out of proportion.

To say that women who wait to have children so they can finish their education and start a career are ignoring a “biological clock” is ludicrous. Most professionals complete lengthy studies in their late twenties to early thirties, which leaves plenty of time to start both a career and a family.

While science has confirmed there is heightened risk of pregnancy complications as women get older, this doesn’t become a concern until 35 or 40. Therefore, women in their early and even mid-30s should not be concerned about conceiving, and if they are concerned, a chat with the doctor should clarify any issues.

There is no denying that women face unfair stigmas and biases in areas like education and employment. Despite the recent advancements in gender equality, we still live in an age where women receive unequal treatment to men. Women are paid less on average than an equivalently experienced male coworker, and they are given fewer opportunities for promotion than men.

To me, this isn’t an excuse to tell young girls that they can’t be mothers if they want careers. This is a cause worth fighting for, not a means to simply accept the blatantly unfair standards set in place for decades.

If we want today’s young girls to succeed, then we should bolster a sense of pride in their abilities. Yes, we must be honest about the negative reality that persists, but we shouldn’t lead them to believe that obtaining the life they want is impossible in the same breath. This is where Vivienne Durham missed the mark in inspiring her students’ success.

Credits:

Link to Original Article

Photo: metro.co.uk

P.S. Know any women debating between career and motherhood? Show them your support forwarding this post to your family, friends, and colleagues!

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“Hey there, Sexy Mama”

In Career, Contributors, Family, Health, Lifestyle, Relationships on May 11, 2014 at 11:40

Written to and by:

Veronica Barrios-Garcia

Veronica Barrios-Garcia

Dear Self,

You think you are pretty awesome, right? Of course you are, you are twenty-eight years old. You look amazing. You think you are fat, but, really, I wish I looked like you. The future is bright; you’ve finished college and have begun your career. Life is an image of ambitious, filled weekdays and debachorous weekends. You’ve had your share of late nights, spontaneous trips and wreck less decisions. Risks seem thoughtless, but incomparable to the obstacles ahead. Your biggest responsibility is paying the rent and your monthly budget is 40% nightlife and alcoholI miss you!

I’m here to tell you that you’ve made some admirable decisions:

College degree-awesome, that’s helped us a lot.

Husband – good choice, he’s a keeper.

I know you are in your honeymoon lovey duddy phase, but he’s truly amazing. In ten years you won’t want to jump his bones as often, but you will always be happy he’s by your side. You are a better woman with him and, yes, you guessed it, he’s still around and going strong. Just please make sure he gets into the habit of trimming those nose hairs; it’s a real turn off.

You think you’ve experienced stress in college and in your career but really it’s been a cakewalk. Wait ‘till you experience your first anxiety attack, which naively you’ll mistake for heart failure, asthma or diabetes.

You will have gray hair, but only a small patch ala Rogue from the X-men.

Good news, that mysterious single thread of hair you periodically find on your neck only when it’s grown three inches is gone. Bad news: it now shows up on your boob (Sorry). However, your body is still a fearless vessel full of energy, longevity and capable of great durance, but these days you rather take a nap than do anything too physical. Don’t be too disappointed it’s only because we’re busy working and caring for our family. Yup! We’re someone’s mom! Scary, I know, but surprisingly we’re pretty good at it. You’ve never been very maternal but trust me that you will be a good mother, maybe not a model parent but loving and very patient.

Motherhood has brought us great happiness in our thirties although we still struggle with the transition, it has been a blessing. I’m sure you are curious about work since career is your biggest priority these days. Work was and still is a great part of our lives, however balancing it with our family has been a challenge. Our professional choices have brought us great joy, we’ve had the opportunity to contribute to many amazing projects, and some not so amazing, however our greatest accomplishments are from the choices we’ve made in our personal life.

I hope this letter serves as a guide as you enter into your thirties and gives you a bit of perspective about the choices ahead of you.

Continue to follow your heart, stay close to family and friends because they will last and don’t lose your sense of humor, it’s your best attribute.

By the way, you are pregnant! So lay off the vino you sexy vixen!

Oh, and one last thing, dye your hair black; it really brings out the green in our eyes.

Best,

Your Future 38-Year-Old Self

About Veronica:

A professional Writer, Producer, Entrepreneur & Proud Mommy, Mrs. Garcia began her career as a music journalist and has produced many projects for film, video and the World Wide Web. The child of Argentine immigrants born in New York City, Mrs. Garcia was raised in the multi-cultural city of Miami. Being the only female in a middle class family of five has contributed to her keen sense of intuition and self-confidence. Veronica attributes her always optimistic disposition to her immigrant mother, who always encouraged her to see the good in all people and situations. You can read all about her adventures in motherhood, marriage, TV production & cooking on her blogs: http://dwfsupperclub.tumblr.com and http://myhyphenatedlife.tumblr.com.

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“Motherhood and my new decade have given me a sense of place, of happiness”

In Contributors, Family, Lifestyle, Relationships on May 11, 2014 at 09:00

By Manuela Frencia

Manuela Frencia

When I was twenty I used to say that life would go downhill after twenty-five (how pretentious of me!), I look back at my past decade and it’s like a blur of college parties, job hunting, dating, moving countless of times, and at the end trying to find my place in this world… as I think about it, the twenties were stressful, it was leaving childhood behind and becoming a grown up.

As I was approaching the dreaded thirties, I panicked a little bit, here I was, married with a small baby and with the body that goes with it (not the sexy post-partum body celebrities show off), I wasn’t the glamorous woman I thought I would be by now, but I was so much more than that, I was a mother.

So, what’s thirty for me? Thirties are dirty diapers and burping cloths, is waking up in the middle of the night to check if my boy is ok, is cooking three different lunches a day to see which one will be successfully eaten, it’s Fridays nights eating pizza and watching series on the DVR, it’s breastfeeding sessions, swimming lessons and play dates.

I might have changed my Prada bag for Chicco’s diaper bag, and my high heels for sneakers, lab coat for yoga pants, but honestly, I wouldn’t change a thing. Because the real changes in me where not the clothes or material things, it was inside, something clicked, and I was no longer trying to fit in, I was in my place, in the “zone” I had been searching for so long… Nowadays, that I am a proud, wise woman of thirty I have become a poised person, I enjoy life as it comes and I literally live, enjoy and breath every new day as if it was the last one, because with children, as soon as you have them you realize that time flies, they grow up so fast, every day they learn something new and they teach you how to be surprised at small things, to find the positive side to everything.

Motherhood and my new decade have given me a sense of place, of happinessyes that’s what my thirties have been so far: Happy.

Thanks Manuela for being the first person who contacted us without even knowing us, just because you found our blog and liked it! Half Eritrean, half Italian, Manuela used to work as a genetic engineer, now she is a full time mommy! Enjoy her post and check out her blog www.madredelsigloxxi.com!

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