I Still Need Him To Need Me

I Still Need Him To Need Me

  I bend down and kiss my five-year-old son good night. I motion to sweep his hair from his eyes when the back of his hand wipes my invisible kiss from his cheek and I catch my breath. This seemingly natural reflex is new—wiping off his mother's kiss—and it was not something I had expected until years down the road. I thought I’d have more time before this milestone. With my kiss, a small token of love, his hand brushed away that moment of tenderness and in its wake planted the seeds for independence. These are the same hands with fingers that curled tightly around mine minutes after he was born. The same hands that I held while helping him stumble-to-walk. The same I now hold while walking to preschool every day. The same hands that cradled my face on an afternoon to hold my gaze with his bright blue eyes and said, "Mama, will you remember these kisses?" as he proceeded to cover...
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What To Do When Visiting A New Mom In A Foreign Country

What To Do When Visiting A New Mom In A Foreign Country

  Culturally, a new mother living in a foreign country may find herself in unfamiliar territory during the postpartum period. Everyone loves a new baby and visiting the mother is a great way for family and friends to show support and love. However, there may be different cultural expectations of entertaining guests or performing various postpartum rituals in keeping with the local customs. Giving birth in different cultures is always an adventure. Mothers should always expect the unexpected when living in a foreign country. In the article, Top 10 Rules For Visiting A New Mom there are some great suggestions for visitors of American moms but what can new moms in foreign countries expect from visitors? I asked mothers around the world about their experiences during that postpartum period, and they shared what is customary to expect from visitors as new moms in their local culture. What Should New Moms And Their Visitors Expect In Foreign Countries? Singapore In Singapore, the Chinese locals won't visit you for a month. Postpartum...
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I am your home

I am your home

  My voice is hushed and soft as I sing the lullaby to my two-and-a-half-going-on-ten-year-old daughter that I have sung to her since she was born. I had a lot of time on my hands to memorize the song during all of those hours rocking and nursing her when she was a baby. I've sung other songs to her, of course, but that one was my go-to. My favorite song about us. Singing a song about love and friendship seemed like a better alternative to the redundantly boring Mary Had A Little Lamb.   We used to rock in the oversized faux leather chair that we bought when I was pregnant with my son. That rocking chair has seen many sleepless nights. Many nights rocking babies back and forth held in my arms throughout the dark hours of the morning, night, and who knows when. Time has no meaning when you're upset instead of sleeping.   Today we aren't rocking but the song has the same calming effect.   "You be...
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Breaking the Mom-Guilt Cycle

Breaking the Mom-Guilt Cycle

"Please, Lucy. Mama went to six different stores to find that costume. Can you please wear it?" My heart crushed, my ears burning, and my inner self, the mother who promised never resort to guilt-trips, is disgusted that I am practically begging my daughter to wear this ridiculous outfit. Why do I care so much that she doesn't want to wear a costume? Why am I behaving like the type of mother I swore I would never become? Because Mom-guilt is a potent force and it takes an even stronger person to recognize it before it poisons your motherly influence. Don't ask me why, but Easter witches are part of Swedish culture and every spring, little children dress as witches and warlocks to hand out handmade Easter cards in exchange for candy. (It's basically like trick or treating, but no Swede would ever admit that.) After spending two days driving around town and frantically searching through six (or was it seven?) different stores, the...
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What Pregnant Women Should Know About the Zika Virus

What Pregnant Women Should Know About the Zika Virus

  In the past few days, both the US CDC and WHO have issued guidelines for pregnant women regarding the Zika virus and I wanted to provide more information based on the research I conducted. Zika is very similar to dengue—a virus with which I am intimately familiar.  I investigated two dengue fever outbreaks in Brunei back in my field-work public health days. All of the underlined text is linked to scientific articles if you want more information. Where is Zika now? There was an explosive pandemic in 2015 that has everyone at WHO and US CDC quite nervous, and for good reason. As of week 3 in 2016, the following countries have Zika confirmed cases: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela. January 13, 2016 a case was reported in Texas, US. January 15, 2016 another case was reported in Hawaii.   What is the Zika...
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5 Tips for the Expecting Expat

5 Tips for the Expecting Expat

I excitedly clicked on the article, "5 Tips for the Expectant Expat" expecting to find an article about being pregnant abroad. Instead, the article contained five tips for preparing for expatriation. Clearly, I have pregnancy on my brain 24/7. The idea of expecting expats gave me the idea to jot down some of my own tips beyond my favorite, "Use your belly as a table for convenient spill-free eating." Please feel free to share your own experiences in the comments to share the wealth of knowledge that we have learned from our own journeys. 1. Import baby culture that is meaningful to you If you live in a country with completely different baby culture than the one you hail from, you may feel like your pregnancy journey is lacking in some way. For example, in Sweden, it is not customary to have a baby shower whereas, in the US, every pregnancy milestone is an excuse for a party—the pregnancy reveal, the gender reveal, the name reveal, and...
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Knocked Up in Germany—Insider Tips From Two American Women

Knocked Up in Germany—Insider Tips From Two American Women

  Upon first arrival, many expat women must navigate a foreign medical system that may be remarkably different from the healthcare system back “home.” Germany has a reputation for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, providing its residents with comprehensive health insurance coverage.   Approximately 85% of the population is part of the public health insurance while the rest have private health insurance. In 2007, health insurance reform required everyone to have coverage for at least hospital and outpatient medical treatment. This mandatory insurance also includes coverage for pregnancy and certain medical check-ups.   Pregnant women in Germany receive three mandatory ultrasounds: One scan weeks 9-12, another during weeks 19-22, and a final scan during weeks 29-32. All scan results are entered into your Mutterpass, a booklet documenting your health statistics.  But aside from the typical Google search results, what else does a pregnant expat in Germany need to know?   I asked two American women currently living in Germany, Michele Landreman-Löschner, and Maureen...
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Be brave, little toaster

Be brave, little toaster

I don't know anyone who is fearless. Fear is a necessary emotion that has evolved to increase our chances of survival. It warns us of dangerous threats in the form of people, animals, and other situations that may cause us pain or harm. I see a lot of fear on social media—people who want to close the borders to those who don't speak, look, or worship as they do. It is understandable—the border-closing supporters are afraid. We all are. Except a life lived in fear is no life at all. In 1945, the state of New Hampshire adopted the motto, "Live Free or Die." I used to think it was a bit aggressive but in this time where people are very much threatening our freedom to live our lives in peace, that succinct motto is appropriate. It is very easy for the fear of the unknown to rule your life. To make you a prisoner in your own home. No, instead we...
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