VIDEO: Lactation-Themed Mother’s Day 2018! #worldmoms

VIDEO: Lactation-Themed Mother’s Day 2018! #worldmoms

Greetings, World Moms!

At our headquarters in the USA, we’re celebrating Mother’s Day tomorrow, Sunday, May 13th.

We’re featuring contributor, To-wen Tseng on the site today.

She says, “For me, breastfeeding is emotional, challenging, and rewarding. In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve put together this lactation-themed slideshow for World Moms Network. Enjoy!”

Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at World Moms Network! “It’s always Mother’s Day somewhere on the planet!”

Check in with us! Let us know in the comments what type of posts you miss or would like to see more of!

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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GUEST POST: On Leaving Zambia to Give Birth Abroad

Zambia

I’m 36 + weeks pregnant, so last week I packed my hospital bags, checked them in at the airport, and hopped on an international flight. Destination: Cape Town, South Africa, where sunshine, ocean waves, beaches, mouthwatering fresh seafood, mountains, and stretches of vineyards await. My new life rule is that I only have babies near sunshine and oceans.

When you’re an expat about to give birth, and you reside in Lusaka, Zambia, you hightail it out of Zambia to welcome baby into the world. Some of us head to the U.S., and others to places like the U.K., and a few of us to South Africa. South Africa has some of the most top-notch medical care on the African continent. Did I mention the oceans and beaches? Plus penguins. Babies love penguins.

A few of us expats decide to go ahead and give birth in Zambia. Of course, I have friends, both local and expat, who have given birth to healthy babies in Zambia without incident. Lots of babies are born there, with a fertility rate of nearly six children per woman.

Since this is my fourth birth, I seriously contemplated staying in Zambia to give birth. With three natural and uncomplicated births under my belt (except that pesky postpartum hemorrhage thing that plagues me each time), it’s been pretty straightforward so far.

A birth in Zambia would be less complicated logistically. My husband can’t be gone from work for the whole one month before and one month after the birth. My four-year old can probably afford to miss pre-school without risking failing to get into college, but my six-year old is learning how to read and write – in a second language (French) – this year, so it’s not really fair to her to pull her out for two whole months, either. I suppose, with the support of Google Translate, I could make some attempts at homeschooling….no. Just no. Plus, there’s the familiarity, the friends, the easiness in Lusaka. Planning a birth in a different country requires more paperwork, emails, phone calls, and really savvy packing skills.

I put out some feelers and asked people’s opinions about giving birth in Lusaka. I got many stories of uneventful births that resulted in a happy baby and mother, and some recommendations for good OBs. I see a lovely OB who has the most caring bedside manner, and is available to instantly answer questions by text message (that does NOT happen in the U.S.), but unfortunately she doesn’t deliver babies anymore.

Others graced my ears with stories about the mother who needed an emergency C-section, but the medical team couldn’t get a hold of the anesthesiologist, so she had a C-section without medication. Then there was the woman who had her arms and legs strapped down during a normal vaginal childbirth, and the one who lost her baby during child birth due to poor management and care—at a private hospital in Lusaka. My doctor friends in Zambia asked me if I was crazy—one directly, and one indirectly. My lovely OB providing prenatal care for me in Lusaka laughed.

The reason for these responses is because babies die in Zambia, and mothers do too. According to UNICEF, the maternal mortality rate in Zambia is 591 deaths per 100,000 live births, the neonatal mortality rate is 34 per 1,000 live births, and the infant mortality rate is 70 per 1,000 live births. Even for those who can afford private care in the capital, Lusaka, being pregnant and giving birth is risky business. Simple complications—including postpartum hemorrhage—can go from bad to worse because of poor infrastructure, care, and a slew of other issues. (For more information about maternal health care in Zambia, check out the trailer for this fascinating documentary.)

The message was loud and clear—most likely, if I gave birth in Lusaka, everything would be fine. But, if I have the choice and the means, why would I take the risk of that small chance of something going wrong and me or my baby suffering serious health complications or worse?

So, around 20 weeks pregnant I began to plan an international babycation. I did this once before, less than two years ago. My last baby was born in Cape Town, so that helped quite a bit, especially because I used the same midwives, know the area, etc. Another bonus is that water birth is an option here in Cape Town, similar to an alternative birthing center option within a hospital that I used to deliver my first two in Chicago. There were less unknowns this time around with planning babycation round #2.

Everything is relative. Buying plane tickets for a family of five, plus a nanny, renting a house for two months, as well as a car, and paying for private health care in South Africa adds up. This is clearly cost prohibitive to most people, and I understand this inherent privilege of choice for my ocean-side babycation.

But, if I compare this Cape Town babycation cost to the cost of giving birth in the U.S., it’s at worst equal, and at best a cost-savings. For what I will pay for all my private health care, including an at-home post-natal visit and a couple nights in the hospital, combined with the cost of my two month “babycation” in South Africa…I’ll end up paying about the same or less than what I’d pay for the cost of childbirth alone in the U.S. I can pay $12,000 minimum, out-of-pocket in the US to push a baby out of me (without any medical intervention), or I can pay about $2,000 for the exact same quality of care and facility standards in Cape Town…along with all the perks of glorious sunshine and ocean views. I’ll take the penguins, thank you very much.

Our family of five, plus our nanny from Zambia, packed up with three suitcases and a boatload of car seats, and my husband helped me settle into the lovely house we rented on AirBnB in Kalk Bay, overlooking the ocean. But, my husband returned this past weekend to Lusaka with my six- and four-year old children to resume school and work.

So, here I sit with an 18-month old, nanny, and loads of sunshine and water at nearly 37 weeks pregnant. The baby is measuring at a beautiful 3kg already, and I’m having some super maddening Braxton Hicks contractions. My husband is two flights away (Lusaka- Johannesburg- Cape Town), and can get on a flight from Lusaka at 9am and rock-up into Cape Town by 3:30pm.

If baby decides to make a quick, slippery exit, Papa might miss the birth of his baby – which would be sad. He was pretty helpful the last three times – except when he told me during difficult push during crowning, “It’s just like doing back squats.” No, it’s really not like that at all. But, I’d kind of like him to be with me for the birth. So, I have the calming effect of going to sleep to the sound of ocean waves obliterated by the anxiety of my husband missing the birth. This is not a, “Will my husband make it from the office on time?” worry. It’s a, “Will my husband, with two tiny humans in tow, be able to get on the first flight out of Lusaka and make it through immigration, out of the airport, and to the hospital?”

My husband and two oldest kids plan on returning to Cape Town on April 1, 10 days before this bad boy’s due date. In the meantime, I have some amazing mama friends coming in (one from Kenya, one from Zambia) to keep me company before the crew returns, mostly to have fun and to stand-in for my husband— just in case. The next two weeks will be filled with botanical gardens, delicious food, and sea breezes. Not too shabby a way to waddle through these last few pregnancy weeks.

The next question is—will I be able to make this my last babycation? Those penguins!

This is an original guest post for World Moms Network from Jessica Menon of Gypsy Momma. Jess is a mom with three children under the age of six, with her fourth baby on the way. Jess and her family are currently based in Lusaka, Zambia. 

Photos courtesy of Alda Smith. Photo of penguins and Jess and her youngest daughter at the beach courtesy of the author. 

World Moms Network

World Moms Network is an award winning website whose mission statement is "Connecting mothers; empowering women around the globe." With over 70 contributors who write from over 30 countries, the site covered the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Most recently, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan was awarded "Best Reporting on the UN" form the UNCA. The site has also been named a "Top Website for Women" by FORBES Woman and recommended by the NY Times Motherlode and the Times of India. Follow our hashtags: #worldmom and #worldmoms Formerly, our site was known as World Moms Blog.

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WORLD VOICE: Paying My Grandmother’s Work Forward

WORLD VOICE: Paying My Grandmother’s Work Forward

My grandmother, Amelia, has been gone 3 years now. It is weird that she is not here, yet, I can still here her voice in my head. I remember how she would say an old fashioned, “How do you do?” to me and my toys or call soft serve ice cream “custard” on a hot Brooklyn’s summer’s day. She was always up for a walk after we ate, and one time we got lost, but eventually made our way back home! She always loved to read and talk and go. She got bored very easily. And, of course, there was always candy coated gum, “Chicklets”, in her purse to share. In fact, our 2nd post on World Moms Network, then World Moms Blog, in 2010 was about her life!

My favorite story was about how the family had run out of money during the Great Depression, and then she received a postcard in the mail from the State of New York to apply for free nursing training. It was her ticket out of upstate to come to the great, big city and pull her family out of the breadline. She was the responsible one in the family, ahead of her brothers (as she always told me!). And she knew what she needed to do. Amelia, my grandmother, answered the call, and was on her way to New York City to become a nurse.

Nursing was so important to my grandmother, and so far, no one in the family has carried on her torch in the medical field. So, when World Mom, Kristyn Zalota, had formed the nonprofit, Cleanbirth.org, and was looking for donations to train much needed nurse midwives in Laos, I decided it was the perfect way to pay tribute to my grandmother. It is a great feeling to be able to provide a woman today an opportunity of life changing healthcare training, like my grandmother had once received. It is our family’s way of paying it forward.

Cleanbirth.org was founded in response to Laos having one of the worst maternal death rates on the planet. Attributing to these rates was the lack of adequate or accessible health care in rural areas and absence of sanitary supplies needed to prevent infection during birth.

Today, Cleanbirth.org in cooperation with Yale University, has trained over 300 midwives and provided over 5,000 birth kits. It has been incredible to see Kristyn’s dream to help woman and babies be carried out as the organization grows.

This year Cleanbirth.org is seeking to train in 43 clinics this year! Every dollar helps. Whether you can chip in for or towards a $5 birth kit, or train a midwife for $240, no donation is too small or too large! Just five dollars donated pays for a sanitary birthing kit, which also includes transportation for the midwives to attend a birth.

Here is a message from Cleanbirth.org founder and World Mom, Kristyn Zalota:

 

World Moms Network community, please join me, as we seek to raise $1000 for the training of nurse midwives and birth kits this year! Whether you’d like to contribute to train a nurse midwife for $240 or chip in toward a $5 birth kit or anywhere in between, no donation is too small!

Here is the link to World Moms Network’s Cleanbirth.org funding page. Won’t you join us to help save the lives of more moms and babies, as well as, give more woman the opportunity to midwife training? Let’s do this! (And thank you!)

This is an original post to World Moms Network from founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden in New Jersey, USA. 

Cleanbirth.org is a 501c3 with no paid staff members. In the USA donations to Cleanbirth.org are tax deductible. 

 

 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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SOUTH AFRICA: The Best-Laid Birth Plan

SOUTH AFRICA: The Best-Laid Birth Plan

The Best-Laid Birth Plan
Before my (now 24 year old) son was born, I was a SuperSitter. Not only did I work for a Babysitting Agency called SuperSitters, but I’d also studied Child Psychology, Child and Infant First Aid and aced a course which would have allowed me to open up a daycare facility of my own, if I’d wanted to. I was the person they’d call for challenging babies and children. I could soothe a colicky baby and have a normally hyperactive child fast asleep before the parents came home. They all expressed their astonishment at how well their young ones behaved when in my care. I felt supremely confident in my ability to be a great mother – after all, if other people’s children behaved so wonderfully when I looked after them, surely my own flesh and blood would be even easier, right?!
When I found out I was pregnant, I was thrilled. I read every single book on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting that I could lay my hands on, attended prenatal classes, and congratulated myself on how well-prepared I was for motherhood. A week before my due date I had my bag packed for the hospital and my birth plan written out. My husband had been prepped as to what I would need from him at each stage of labour. We were ready – or so we thought!
My due date came and went with no sign whatsoever of my son wanting to be born.  I was extremely bloated and hot (January in South Africa is peak Summer heat), not to mention anxious to hold my son. To make matters even worse, my husband and I were living with my grandparents at the time, and with every braxton hicks contraction they would ask, “Is it time?” Eventually I couldn’t take it any more, so 10 days post due date I had my husband take me to the hospital. When I got there my contractions stopped again. On examination I was 3 cm dilated. The doctor asked me if I wanted to go home or if I was willing to have my labour induced. I wish that I’d been smart enough to go home, but at that moment I couldn’t face going home again without having given birth. This was to be the first of many mistakes I made as a mother.
I will spare you all the gory details, except to tell you that nothing went according to my meticulous birth plan, and I ended up needing an emergency c-section due to foetal distress. That was just the start of our problems.  The surgical team struggled to get my uterus to stop bleeding after they’d delivered my son. My blood pressure nearly bottomed out and (much later) my OB-Gyn admitted that, if I hadn’t stopped bleeding when I did, she would have had to perform a hysterectomy to save my life! I thank God every day that it didn’t happen, because I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter if it had! I’d lost so much blood that they had to keep transfusing me throughout the night. I wasn’t taken back to the maternity ward until the next day.
Because of what had happened to me, I wasn’t given the chance to breastfeed my son until much later the next day.  By then they’d already given him a bottle and I never managed to get breastfeeding properly established. Instead of the minimum 6 months that I had planned to breastfeed, I ended up switching to bottle feeding almost from the day I got home. I really wish that I’d known then what I know now, like breastfeeding on demand!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my son had severe colic for the first 3 months or so.  Much to my surprise and dismay, this “SuperSitter” was completely and utterly unable to soothe her own baby! I also suffered through Postpartum Depression. I thank God every day for the unbelievable support I had from my husband, grandparents and aunt, who all stepped in and did for my son what I wasn’t able to.
Things went from bad to worse for my poor son. He projectile vomited every feed for almost 2 years, despite all our best efforts. He also often had gastroenteritis. Between puke and diarrhea we did a full load of washing every.single.day.  I cried a lot during those first two years, because I felt like the world’s worst mother, and I was sure that my son wasn’t going to survive given all the vomiting.
Fast forward to today and the child I was so worried about has grown into a handsome, healthy and intelligent young man.  In those early days I couldn’t even begin to dream of him becoming the man he is today. He has surpassed all my expectations, and I am incredibly proud of him.
He is now married, and is the step-dad of a lovely little girl. My son has learnt how to speak, read and write German fluently, and is currently studying Computer Science (Informatik) at Goethe University in Frankfurt.
The main reason for writing this post (apart from the fact that today is my son’s birthday!) is to give hope to all the moms who, like me, feel that they’re not “good enough” mothers.  What I have learnt is that all children need to know three things – that you love them unconditionally, that you’re proud of them and that they can trust you.  As long as you have those 3 things in place, nothing else really matters that much.  Most of the things that we beat ourselves up for they don’t even remember when they grow up!
Was your labour and delivery what you hoped it would be?  What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo credit to the author. 

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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WORLD VOICE: The Breast Nutrition

WORLD VOICE: The Breast Nutrition

As parents we can not protect our children from the whole world around us, though we often wish we could. There are some things that we can do to produce the best possible outcome for our children. The first week of August has been designated as World Breastfeeding Week,  finally breasts are getting the global attention they deserve for all the right reasons.  Breastfeeding is being recognized as an important building block to the global Sustainable Development Goals. Having spent nearly a decade either pregnant or breastfeeding my own four kids, I feel like an unofficial ambassador.

My personal commitment to nursing our babies all began with a trip to Turkey. Our first baby was going to be six months old when we would be traveling and with all of the accessories needed for travel with an infant I was feeling overwhelmed. I realized the easiest way to streamline feeding would be to continue to exclusively breastfeed until we returned home. In that way we were able to skip bottles that needed to be sanitized, glass jars of babyfood, and the quest for clean water on the go. The experience taught me how portable babies can be, and the ease that breastfeeding provided in being able to feed them whenever and wherever I needed. Recent research, which inspired  the declaration of World Breastfeeding Week, has highlighted the benefits of breastfeeding beyond the convenience. Exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life has been shown to reduce the occurrence of ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory problems in infants, and may even help to prevent obesity in later years. In 2011 the Surgeon General created a call to action to support breastfeeding resulting in the month of August being declared National Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

The First Thousand Days: A Crucial Time For Mothers and Children- and the World by Roger Thurow  focuses on the importance of proper nutrition during the time period when a baby’s brain develops most rapidly, the 1,000 days  from conception to the age of two years old. This is when the first breastmilk is so important because it contains colostrum which is rich in antibodies that boosts the newborn immune system.  Breastmilk has been shown to contain all of the essential nutrients necessary to support a baby’s rapid development and in the book the American Academy of Pediatrics is quoted in 2012 as proclaiming:

“given the documented short and longterm medical and neuro-developmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue not only a lifestyle choice.”

-AAP

Breastfeeding on our travels kept our baby healthy throughout, but as we know we only have so much control.  The 7.6 earthquake that hit on our second night in Turkey was a stark reminder of such.  The next morning I thought of all the mothers who had crouched on their beds shielding their babies as I had while the earth shook, feeling the same fear, but who had not been as fortunate to survive.  We can not always protect our children from everything, but by raising awareness with World Breastfeeding Week mothers will know that by initiating  breastfeeding within the first couple of hours after birth a newborn baby is given the best possible start in life.

 

This is an original post written for World Moms Network by Elizabeth Atalay.

Did you find that you had support to breastfeed your baby?

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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WORLD VOICE: #BoobsForBernie

WORLD VOICE: #BoobsForBernie

512px-Breastfeeding_a_baby (1)

Photo Credit: Anton Nossik / Creative Commons

I don’t imagine it is news to anyone that the US political process is a bit of a mess right now. We may be a divided nation, but we all seem to be in agreement that the circus-like atmosphere of the current presidential election is troubling. I am a very politically engaged person, but I’ve become very selective about when and how I consume any media covering the elections, lest I fall into despair. Fortunately for me, this story made it through my filters.  A picture of a mother breastfeeding her infant daughter at a Bernie Sanders rally went viral and birthed the hashtag #boobsforbernie.

Finally! Something I can get behind! The woman has reportedly received death threats and incredible amounts of vitriolic hate since the photo when viral, but also an incredible outpouring of love and support, even from Bernie Sanders and his wife. The campaign, of course, used it as an opportunity to support and encourage breastfeeding mothers everywhere, no doubt clinching many votes and hearts in the process.

I was pleased to see the picture, pleased to see the Sanders’ response, and pleased to see the hashtag. My hope, though, is that it will spark a conversation much longer and larger than breastfeeding in public.  Supporting mothers for breastfeeding in public, which in many places in the US is a radical act, is very important. But so too is supporting all parents of all genders who feed their babies in any way for the incredible amounts of work and dedication it takes to raise a child and the insistence on not doing the work of child-rearing behind closed doors or divorced from a full and integrated life.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about why policies in the US – a country big on “family values” – are so unfriendly, particularly to mothers, but generally to parents and caretakers.

There is never one answer to such a complex problem, but one thought I’ve had is that it is related to the way we do parenting here in the US. Compared to other cultures I’ve lived in and experienced, raising a child in the US is very compartmentalized from the rest of life. I know a lot of parents who do not live or parent that way, myself included, but the overarching message from American culture seems to be that children and parenting fall into a very specific category and time in our lives and it all centers around our homes, schools, and parks.

So, when a mother is seen breastfeeding her child at a political rally, or toddlers are at a nice restaurant, or parents find a way to have their children present with them at work, there is a reaction. Often, not a kind one; one that implies that there is a time and a place for children to exist and have their needs met and it is not the same space where adults interact and have their needs met.

This compartmentalization of parenting, then, marginalizes primary caregivers who have to make a choice about whether or not to engage in the world in a full way while they care for children. Because most primary caregivers are women, this affects women disproportionately, specifically minority women who are already marginalized by many other factors.  Parenting shouldn’t be about choosing between taking care of children OR having a well-balanced and meaningful life. Children can and should be a part of our work lives, our spiritual lives, our community lives, our political lives – all of it!

So, I say let’s make this #boobsforbernie hashtag into a call to parent in public!

This is an original post written by Mrs. V for World Moms Blog.

Do you agree that we need to more openly parent in public?

 

Ms. V. (South Korea)

Ms. V returned from a 3-year stint in Seoul, South Korea and is now living in the US in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner, their two kids, three ferocious felines, and a dog named Avon Barksdale. She grew up all over the US, mostly along the east coast, but lived in New York City longer than anywhere else, so considers NYC “home.” Her love of travel has taken her all over the world and to all but four of the 50 states. Ms. V is contemplative and sacred activist, exploring the intersection of yoga, new monasticism, feminism and social change. She is the co-director and co-founder of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center, a non-profit yoga studio and the spiritual director for Hab Community. While not marveling at her beautiful children, she enjoys reading, cooking, and has dreams of one day sleeping again.

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