Earlier this week, Save the Children released its annual State of the World’s Mothers 2011 report of the best and worst places to be a mother. There are 164 countries on the list; ranked best to worst, the U.S. is number 31.
In general, and perhaps not surprisingly, mothers and children in industrialized nations do pretty well with regard to access to healthcare and education; mothers and children in the poorest nations have a much more grim experience: one child in six will die before age 5; one child in three is malnourished; 90% of these mothers will lose a child in their lifetime. Here in the U.S., women have a 1 in 2,100 risk of dying in childbirth while in Poland, the risk is only 1 in 13,000; and 8 out of every 1,000 children in this country will not live long enough to blow out 5 birthday candles.
My initial reaction is disappointment and more than a little hand-wringing. How did is it that we — as mothers, and our children — fare so poorly in general? What do these numbers say about the value of mothers and children in society? Granted, compared with some countries, we in the U.S. are a lot better off than many, but still — it’s very clear that there are strides to be made in maternal and infant mortality rates and other benchmark statistics like education and healthcare, both here at home and around the world.
But you know what? Instead of feeling anguished about it, imaging maternal suffering and lost futures, we could seize this opportunity to use this information as a tool for change.
Read the report. If you believe things need to change, talk about it with friends and fellow moms. Blog about it. Get in touch with your congressional representative and ask what he or she is doing to support the health and wellness of mothers and children in this country. Consider getting involved and supporting non-governmental organizations that work to improve access to healthcare, education and economic opportunity for mothers and their children. If we want to see something different, we need to start saying something different and doing something different.
Mother’s Day is nearly here; let’s make it Mothers’ Day this year and put our energy into efforts to ensure real, meaningful support for mothers and children, no matter where they live.
Photo credit ecerroni
As mothers, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to focus our attention on ourselves, but sometimes, that’s exactly what we need. And in order to make the changes we desire to see in ourselves, as women and as mothers, it is vital to keep certain things in mind.
To begin, you MUST ask yourself — and answer — this question: WHY?
Why do you want to embark upon this change?
Perhaps for you, it’s losing weight; perhaps you have a different change you’d like to make. That’s great. You have to know why you want to do this.
Why do you want this? Why is this important to you?
Be honest with yourself. If you make this change, what will it do for you and for your life? How will it ADD VALUE to you? Is this important enough that you are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve the results you seek?
You have to make the change for YOU: not for your kids, or your boss, or your spouse. For YOU.
It cannot be a SHOULD, something you should do because… (fill in the blank here). If you should do it but you don’t want to, you will sabotage your efforts and fail. Get honest with yourself and give up on SHOULDS. Focus instead on getting READY.
There has to be a reason and it has to be a good one. It can be simple, like your health. It need not be complicated or fancy. But it needs to be a strong motivator to break through the habits that you have now, the habits that will fight to keep you doing things the way you have been for so long.
Why is this important to you NOW? You may hold onto goals from when you were younger, still thinking you want that someday. Is today the day or is the goal outdated? Is it REALLY something you want for yourself NOW? And is NOW the right time to embark upon this change?
When you know why this change is important, then this is your purpose statement, the reason that makes accomplishing this change meaningful and powerful. With this purpose statement, you increase your confidence and are ready to take the next step.
I’d love to hear your reason for wanting your change. Please comment below — share about the change you want to make and WHY. Why is this important to you at this time in your life? I’ll share mine — I am losing 50 pounds because this is one area of my life in which I have never felt in control. I want some control. I also want to take charge
I look forward to hearing from you.
To your success in health, wealth and love,
Coach Julie, RN ~ Nurturing Your Success
Author of Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!!!
In December 2004, snow and sleet were threatening south Louisiana; however all I was concerned with was my positive home pregnancy test. After months of trying to get pregnant, my husband and I felt enormously blessed on Christmas Eve to learn we were expecting. At the turn of the year, dark clouds rolled in as we learned my Dad’s brain cancer had returned. It is said that every dark cloud has a silver lining, and ours was that we were expecting not just one baby that year but two. This was a nice distraction especially for my mom and me, as we watched my dad fade away to a bed-ridden, yet still witty, middle-aged man we both loved. Only six weeks prior to the twins’ birth, my Dad lost his fight and slipped away peacefully with my mom and me by his side.
No one could ever have prepared me for the emotions I would experience the day my boys arrived. As a first time mom, I was so excited, proud, happy and in love with these two tiny beings. Okay, so they weren’t so tiny; Jackson weighed in at 6 lbs., 10 oz. and Nicholas at 5 lbs., 14oz. I was relieved that they arrived four weeks early. I don’t know how much larger my tummy could have grown, not to mention, I don’t know what hospital would have had room for us. The boys actual due date was September 4th, one week after Hurricane Katrina swept through south Louisiana and Mississippi.
Weeks turned into months and my husband and I found ourselves becoming more confident in managing two babies at time. Change one diaper, change another; feed one, feed another; bathe one, bathe the other; you get the picture. I like to call it the assembly line effect. Managing work, daycare, babies and household chores was exhausting on both of us. By the time the twins were eight months old, I felt lost and tired. After much thought and budget crunching, my husband and I agreed that I would stay home with the twins. It was only a day after I resigned from my job that I found out I was expecting, again!
Our baby girl arrived nine months later, just before Christmas of that year. The twins were so excited and loving to their baby sister. I was dealing with the differences of having a singleton versus two babies at one time. I hardly put her down the first month of her life. I didn’t have to worry about another baby. The twins were walking, beginning to talk and quite independent at such a young age. After being home for ten months, I was ready to go back to work, or so I thought. I lasted a whole six months and the anxiety took over, basically disabling me from functioning at work, and leaving me going through the motions of being a mom and a wife, but not truly living it with a true sense of vitality and life.
It took a couple of months before I listened to my family and friends; before I would seek help from a professional. Very quickly I was diagnosed with major depression. What? I just thought I was a little overwhelmed. Who wouldn’t be with three kids aged two and under, a full-time job and a husband? I left the best for last, because if it weren’t for my loving and supportive husband, I don’t know that I would be writing this today. He stepped up when I couldn’t manage the children, by preparing meals, bathing all three kids and playing and entertaining them.
With the help of a therapist, psychiatrist and my loving family and friends, I have regained a passion for living each day to the fullest and make the most of the time I have with those who are most important to me. As I worked through my depression, and continue to do so, it was through the understanding of other moms, especially twin moms, who had experienced the same issues and challenges that made me realize I was not alone.
Bio: Angelice Tyson’s Gemini Greetings was a distant dream until with the resurgence of energy, she decided to make this dream a reality. Sheenvisions warm and cheerful characters on greeting cards for families with multiples, from twins to quads and possibly more! She says, “I just knew that if I had a hard time finding cards for my twins, it has to be even more difficult for those with triplets and quads. Ideally, these cards will be suited for first time parents with no other children ages four and younger. Of course, I place no restrictions on my work, I just hope that my creations bring smiles to many faces and happiness to many homes.”
“Parents of twins are often concerned about treating each child as an individual. However, parents with multiples aged five and under are less likely to buy one card for each child to give to a playmate or relative for a special occasion. Seeking the savings from buying only one card from the two, three or more kids just makes sense.
“Within the first two years of my twins lives, we received numerous cards for holidays and birthdays that were targeted for just one child and had been scratched out or altered to fit my children‚ who were twins.”
Editorial Note: By raising awareness of the issues, concerns and challenges care-givers face, we elevate our understanding of mother’s vital role. Mamapalooza and the Museum of Motherhood are committed to empowering and amplifying the voices of women and mothers. MamaBlogger365 is just one of the ways we do this. If you have a story to tell, please write us at MamazinaMagazine@gmail.com and get involved.
Today was incredible. The forecast called for 60 degree temperatures – amazing for NY –and I had managed to get a full night’s sleep. I bounced from bed, greased the gears by giving the kids plenty of advance warning and countdown for departure and we left, only 15 minutes behind my desired go-time.
A shadow crossed my sunny disposition when started about our morning errands, and the stores were not yet open. Knowing my Indigo son to be less than pragmatic when faced with thwarted desires and unplanned transitions, I braced for the expected torrent of disappointed cries and frustrated outbursts.
Uncharacteristically calm, he instead recommended we take a walk nearby on a nature trail. This was a surprisingly reasonable and appropriate suggestion from my youngest, whose behaviors are largely the reason my teeth are grinding down to nubs. I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy the day and offered him praise for his stellar idea.
Meandering through woven trails, we eventually came to a split in the road; two paths, two kids, and each wanted to go in a different direction. I was interested but uncommitted to the direction and stood behind them as they discussed their options. I listened to their innocent banter as they decided which was the “right” way to go and felt, suddenly, as carefree and curious as they. What a nice reminder that a plan doesn’t always need to be created, implemented or followed.
What’s the worst thing that could have happened? We could have gotten lost (we didn’t), slipped in the mud (thank God, no) or sprained an ankle (pretty much). I managed to lightly sprain my foot by walking in cute, but highly impractical new clogs I had gotten on clearance at Macy’s the day before… but I digress. Truly this entire experience reminded me of the mixed joy found in daily life. Newfound discoveries, good and bad, can only be made through bravery, openness and a willingness to try something unexpected when the moment presents.
By walking unknown territory and choosing a path that leads where it may, we are available to delightful surprises no matter how they show up. Had I stuck to my plan and not been open to spontaneity, we wouldn’t have had such a glorious morning.
As we walked the opening strains of a song I learned freshman year of high school came into my mind. It was a musical setting of a Robert Frost poem – one of my favorites. I sang what I could remember out loud as we proceeded slowly back to our car – me limping and smiling all the way:
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
A chance to explore – no reason or reticence – not waiting – nor wanting – just moving with a force unseen – an internal motivation not thwarted by any grand design or circumstance.
BIO: By day Shira Adler is a cantor, spiritual vocalist, certified past life regressionist, voice-over artist, producer, performer, writer/blogger and mompreneur and by night . . . well, she is actually the same person at night though she does admit to wearing fuzzy socks when no-one can see her and hiding a secret stash of mallomars somewhere near her writing desk for those late night pick-me-ups. In, around and between her various work activities, she is raising two beyond-the-spectrum children as a single mom (though lovingly gives a shout out to her best friend, editor and soulmate whom she considers the bees knees). Is it any wonder her website’s tag line is One Voice Many Paths? Seriously, look up the definition of a multi-tasking Mama and you will find her picture there. But when it comes to living a life of connection, faith and consciousness Shira is the gal to call – or if you’re fresh out of mallomars – she’s always happy to give you one. For more information visit: ShiraAdler.com, read her blog at Diva-Mama.com and follow her via the usual fun spread of social: Twitter (1DivaMama), Facebook (DivaMama1), Tumblr (not really sure, but the name is cute) & LinkedIn (because doesn’t everyone?).