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  • Collaborations & Partnerships | GlobalMomsInitiative

    Collaborations & Partnerships GMI is in the process of establishing a global network to raise awareness of the needs and challenges that mothers experience worldwide. We will also develop a collective response that truly addresses problems and has a positive impact on their overall well-being. To achieve this, we’re now researching the topic, reaching out and interviewing moms, helping them in their entrepreneurial journey and providing online and offline support to inspire and empower them. Apart from the intended impact, GMI strongly relies on the Theory of Change, where the role of partners, collaborators and a diverse range of stakeholders is crucial. We want to expand partnerships globally to benefit from other organizations systems to avoid duplication of work. We are ready for new collaborations and new ideas. We believe that partnerships are mutually beneficial and helping each other only promotes everyone’s wellbeing. If you: ​ Want to make a mutually beneficial partnership with us See your role in any of GMI’s projects Need support from us to achieve something that serves moms’ mental and physical wellbeing Want to suggest your case studies and success stories that we could implement jointly Are having a hard time seeking some resources and GMI can help Can offer your space for our event Want to brainstorm with us about resource allocation for our Theory of Change Whatever the reason is, we’re happy to hear from you! Let's Get In Touch

  • HOME | GlobalMomsInitiative

    GlobalMoms Initiative A nonprofit initiative that connects mothers around the world with social, professional, and financial resources as they strive to achieve physical and mental well being. About Us Programs Close Gender Gap for Moms and Everyone While supporting the UN’s Global Goals to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, GMI intends to draw global attention to the gap between women with children and everybody else. Given that nearly two billion of the world’s population are mothers, identifying their needs and problems and providing support to their well-being has a major impact on the world’s future. MomStory100 Project The MomStory100 Project relies on volunteer story lovers to find, link, and/or interview moms. We also encourage every mom to write her own narrative to identify her needs and the barriers she experiences against individual development. Share Your Story MomCEO100 Club Are you a mom entrepreneur looking for support? Our MomCEO community aims to link key educational and developmental resources such as knowledge, skills, technology, talent, funding and social networks for mom business owners to help them start and grow their business. Join The Club Join Us Who is a globalmom? If you see yourself as a global citizen or care about world issues, and are interested to join hands with other moms to break social barriers for a more equitable society for all, then you should join us! Volunteer GMI Newsletter To keep posted on GMI's milestones, impact, funding, jobs, and partnership opportunities, please subscribe to our Quarterly Newsletter. Subscribe Thanks for subscribing! City Chapters To expand our global network, unite globalmoms, and inspire the world with MomQ, we are activating offline City Chapters throughout China and beyond. View Chapters

  • MomQ Research | GlobalMomsInitiative

    MomQ Action Research The Power of Mom MomQ is a word created by GMI, it refers to mom power and leadership. The assumption behind GMI is that every mom has MomQ! In order to explore the characteristics consisting of MomQ, GMI has launched MomStory100 to interview moms around the globe to share their life journey. And MomStory100 also contributes to GMI MomQ action research for generalizing critical findings to redefine Mom identity. For the detailed research plan: Contact Us Academic Advisors Dr. Chao An Peking University, Beijing Normal University Dr. Chao An is assistant researcher in China Institute of Education & Social Development, Beijing Normal University. She got her Master degree from Peking University and her Ph. D from Beijing Normal University. She is engaged in postdoctoral research in the Department of sociology at Tsinghua University. Her research interests include sociology of education, teacher education and family education. Dr. Ling Han The Chinese University of Hong Kong Dr. Ling Han is an Assistant Professor in the Gender Studies Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is a sociologist researching the intersection of gender, technology, and design in social innovation projects and the entrepreneurship process in Asia. Her current work explores topics of gender, passion, and the meaning of work in Chinese and Singaporean nonprofit organizations and philanthropy. Dr. Sisi Sung PhD, Tsinghua University Dr. Sung has received academic training in economics from the University of Washington, USA, Tsinghua University, China, and Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, Germany. She is the Outstanding Teaching Award recipient at the University of Washington. She is also the core founding member and the former supervisor of academic affairs of the Schwarzman Scholars Global Leadership Program at Tsinghua University. Dr. Yao Yanran The University of Hong Kong Dr. Yao obtained her PhD from the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. She is a researcher and lecturer with an interdisciplinary background in social work, public management, and international development. Her current research interests focus on the politics of social policy development, nonprofit management, and civic engagement. Dr. Yung-Pin Lu Shanghai Jiao Tong University Dr. Yung-Pin Lu is an Assistant Professor in the School of International and Public Affair and Vice-Director of Third-Sector Study Center from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His researches focus on leadership, collaborative management, NGO-NPO, social enterprise, social finance, social impact, volunteer, donation, and intercultural communication. Dr. Zheng Lei PhD, University of Wisconsin–Madison Dr. Zheng's research interest is in the cultural politics of education and history of knowledge. Her recent study questions how the contemporary discourses of "culture" and "poverty" disenpower rather than empowering people who are economically deprived. Dr. Weizi Huang Macau University of Science and Technology Dr. Weizi Huang is an Assistant Professor at Macau University of Science and Technology, and a visiting fellow at The London School of Economics and Political Science. Her primary research focus lies in media and knowledge production. Ever since she became a mother, she has been obsessed in rethinking motherhood from a cultural studies perspective. Reading List GMI's programs and actions are inspired by our collected authentic MomStories , as well as the evidence-based research and literary outputs in gender studies and related areas across the world. This book list is recommended and referred to by our academic advisors. We hope it will inspire you to join our mission to close the gender gap for moms and everyone.

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  • True Personal Growth Is the Courage to Be Yourself

    Tamar Atuashvili, 60. Kakheti/Tbilisi. I am a village girl, who moved to Tbilisi at the age of 13. Am I Kakhetian or Tbilisian? It’s up to you to decide. I finished my 8th grade in Vachnadziani, then I entered a Medical School in the capital and started to work as a nurse at the ambulance. Soon I got married and started a family life. I loved my job and stayed in the medical field for almost 15 years. In the early 90s, Georgia faced economic difficulties and the salaries of the medical staff were no longer paid. That’s when I left my job and moved to the hotel where my husband worked. The first years in the new family were difficult. My husband’s parents were elderly, they were very nice people, and they treated me well, but as a mother, I went through many challenges. Raising 3 children with an interval of 2 years, taking them to school and various classes. I didn't want them to miss any chance to be well-educated. I kept up with everything and stayed up late at night, I couldn't remember when I slept and when I would wake up. I used to be an example in the neighborhood: how much this little girl can do, she leads a big family and does so much for her children, they said. This was an incentive for me and I pushed myself even harder. The times when I had all three children at home lasted for a short while. Sometimes I was neglecting or harsh because I was in charge of both family affairs and raising children alone, and it was difficult to distribute equal warmth and attention to all my children. It wasn't my duty to purchase food and various household products but it was up to me to feed the family and keep the house clean and tidy. My mother-in-law was applauding me, "What a smart girl you are", and it made me invest more resources into the daily work. Now I regret so much that I didn't take care of myself and I got to the point of physical burnout. I think I would have been able to stay healthy and active longer if I had divided my time equally between work and rest. Doctors ask me where I worked with such a physical load when they look at my X-rays. I regret it. Even though I studied well and entered the university in the first year, I was hardworking, and I had support from my parents to grow further, marriage prevented my professional development. I had my first child at the age of 21. The family had no financial issues at that time and my income did not mean much. It seems that I did not have enough courage to prioritize my professional aspirations. The new family was satisfied with the fact that I was raising children and cooking dinners. I love needlework. Knitting and sewing help me relax and I have been good at it since my childhood. I have been singing in different choirs since I was little and I remember wanting to be a singer. I loved gymnastics and practiced everywhere I could. I spent nights watching figure skating. Sports and music filled me up and lifted me. Watching football with my brother's friends was a big celebration. I was active in my youth. I had a wonderful time as a student, we traveled a lot, and we visited all of Georgia, including Sukhumi and Abkhazia. We were able to do this with our salary savings. I don't remember well the first two years of marriage. After living an independent and active life, I suddenly found myself in a small house with my in-laws, sister-in-law, and her family. I was mostly at home, I didn't go anywhere except for work, and I was somewhat ashamed to hang out with friends as usual. When you try to be caring towards every family member, always smile and then you realize that it’s too much. When the possibility of moving to another place with my husband and children arose, I hesitated to express my desire. They had one son and how dare I take him away from his family. It’s bad to get married at a young age, you can’t understand anything, and you are too immature to see what is best for the future. Now the second circle has come when both children and grandchildren have grown up and the choice of an independent life has approached again. You don't know how long you live in this world, so if I can find enough courage and decide that I can still do things that I like and that I’m good at, I'd love to create more. Do you know yourself? At the age of 60, yes I know. I didn't know before. I didn't even think about it, I was just busy with daily life. Now I want more good people around me, I reflect on how I am to others, and I want to become more interesting myself. As you get older, you need people like you to escape loneliness. You feel that you are no longer needed as you were before. These thoughts led me to get to know myself better. I have been soul-searching for 2-3 years. I also ask my acquaintances to honestly share how I, as a person, look in their eyes. Sometimes you play a little bit before you become what you want to be. Now I know what I want to become and I am working on it. There's a lot to sort out and change within myself. I am direct and quick-tempered, I express my opinions without taking the time to think about and analyze them. I see the lives of elderly people in Georgia through a negative lens. I can imagine how meaningless life will be when you cannot physically help your children and others. As people age, they degrade, fail to realize themselves, and lock themselves up, my perception is such. My friend and I sometimes encourage each other that our free life has just started and that we still have a lot to see, to be financially independent, to travel, and to enjoy life. We never know what life has in store for us. A small house that doesn't need a lot of maintenance is perfect for me. Living alone, or with my spouse if he stays supportive. My own space would be very relaxing. Where I would not tire myself by cleaning the house and taking care of a big family and would free up more time for self-awareness. The event that changed my life was the death of my mother. My life was divided before and after that day. Mother filled me with hope. Having a mother is different.  She is the only person who is always there for you, and who cares about you unconditionally. Even if I’m sick, how can I not be there for the surgery, she told me. That’s when I fell into a deep depression. What are some advice for women? The opinion that having many children is good for the family and societies, is popular. From my experience, I would rather have a few children and raise them well. You simply can’t give them enough. It’s impossible. If the family supports the mother in a way that she only needs to take care of their education and upbringing, of course, the more children you have, the better it is. More children bring many sorrows, but joy prevails, many children will fulfill you. But when you are not financially stable, the children are oppressed, they can’t develop well, you can’t support them in many ways, and then as you age, you have many regrets. I advise women to have children when they are ready to do everything for them, for the sake of their peace of mind. If you have the means, having many children is wealth. If you can't afford it, have one and give him/her everything that it takes to raise a human. A woman must follow her path. It is also good for the children to see a strong and active mother, they have more hope then. When they grow up and see you being weak and vulnerable, they won’t be able to fully spread their wings. A woman must have her work and path. I am not in favor of early marriage. You can't think well, you are immature. It depends so much on the new family. Will they support your growth or will you have to forget about your desires and aspirations?! You realize many things on the way and you try to change, some things work out, some things not anymore. Be thoughtful and only when you’re on your path and independent both financially and emotionally, you can plan to have children. The happiness of your children makes you happy, the sadness of your children makes you sad. You feel well when your children are well. There is no other factor contributing to a mother’s happiness as strong as this. When I see that my children are strong, joyful, and healthy, it’s enough for me to be happy. When I’m going through difficult times, God gives me hope. Proximity to him is so fulfilling. If you believe that you are not alone in your ups and downs and that God is always with you, then nothing will scare you. I want to be like that, to have the ability to feel it all the time. It is often the case that God is remembered during difficult times. I want to be close to God all the time and have no fear of anything in this life. I want to be spiritually strong and to visit the church more often. I know what peace of mind and healing feels like when you’re close to God. In the next life, would you be a mother again? I would definitely be a mother, but I would be a better mother than I was. With the experience I’ve already gained, I know what to change and how to do things better. I thought that providing education, clothing, and food was enough to raise a child, but it’s not so. You should not be a slave to anything and dependent on anyone, you should be an emancipated individual, you should not follow the crowd/flow and you should not be in obedience. A person, a woman, should be strong and courageous. If I’d had more courage as a child and a young lady, I would have said a lot of things instead of being silent and ashamed of expressing my opinions, I would have changed a lot. Spinning this energy wishing yourself is damaging. You have to release what is ripening in you and you have to bring it to the ears of others. Those who like it will follow you. Those who don't like it, fine, let them go. I regret that I wasn’t that courageous girl but I'm learning to be one now.

  • Experiencing the World Through Traveling, Art, and a Natural Motherhood

    Nino Trentinella, 44. Tbilisi. When I was about 8 months old, my parents discovered that I had a congenital condition, so actually, I couldn’t walk. From that point until I was seven, I had many surgeries, and there were many unsuccessful ones. I ended up in Siberia at an experimental clinic. The doctor there was a genius. He developed a technic that wasn’t used by a wider public and he helped me. So now I can walk and run, and do everything. When I had one of the appointments they showed me my X-ray, in one X-ray there was no bone in the middle, and in another X-ray, the bone was there. So, basically, he grew the bone where there was nothing. Just seeing those images the idea of “anything is possible” was very much ingrained in me. It was a transformational moment to see the concrete visual of nothing filled with something. I’m a visual person and after seeing this, the idea that you can do anything that you put your mind to and that anything is possible was instilled in me. I was 13 when my parents moved from Georgia to the US, and it was not an easy transition. I did my schooling and university studies in the States. Then I moved to Europe when I got married and ever since then I’ve been traveling with my husband and with my daughter once she was born. I gave birth in Australia, and we lived there for four years. I lived in a few countries and now we’re here in Georgia, expecting our second child. We love traveling and I think this is one of the best things you can offer to your children as well, especially, before they are teenagers. We still do slow traveling. We did world schooling for a few years, then she asked to be in an actual school. That’s why we were staying a little longer in different countries. We would choose to live in various cultures with a lot of intention. Learning about new places, how people live there… You pick all of these things, and your children do, too. Motherhood for sure was transformational. It almost erases the personality and you have to start from scratch. You’re focused on your child 100% and you kind of neglect your own needs, if you don’t have support, which I didn’t. Because we were traveling, every time we had to restart the community and find a new support network, which took a lot of time. You’re spending all your time taking care of your child and you have less time left for your own needs. That was quite challenging. Trying not to lose personality and do things for yourself too. Not having a village to support you made it a bit harder. Last year in London was the most difficult. We moved within London and lost the community we had in another neighborhood. All the support disappeared for a year. This is why we decided to come here for the second baby. Usually, when we move somewhere, we make a list of pros and cons. Australia offers the highest quality of life that we’ve experienced. We compare other places to Australia but actually, nothing really compares to the quality of life that is there. But the sun was too extreme, and it was impossible to be outdoors during the day. We were far away from family and traveling was not that easy as well. Apart from that, it was just great there. The community in the small city where we lived was very present and conscious. Natural parenting was present too. I pretty much learned everything from them and even now, when I have medical questions, that is the community that I connect with. Somehow, even though it’s online, I still get the best support from them. I’m quite aware of myself and my thought processes, and I control them quite well if I need to. It has always been that way. I think it comes from being neurodivergent and my brain being wired differently (laughs). I don’t feel I ever fit anywhere but I always find a way to fit in. I can find people to connect with in any culture. Maybe that comes from my childhood again, being so resilient. The adaptability to change was instilled in me from early on, I don’t know if it came from hospital experiences or it’s just a personality. I can adapt very easily to any situation. I have a very diverse group of acquaintances and friends. I get along with most people and can find something in common with almost everyone. As a child, I’ve always been independent. I always saw myself as an adult from the age of two. In my head, I was an adult. In my head, it’s always been like that. I still did kid things but the thought processes in my head were different and I was aware of that. I think I’m more rebellious, I like to challenge the status quo. There are moments when I feel like I need to conform to certain things as part of society, but if I feel something isn’t right, I will not do that regardless of what others say. It could be more challenging for other people if they want to convince me otherwise. I usually do a lot of research on a topic so when I speak I know what I’m talking about, then I don’t get affected by anything else around. I’m an artist, so I just do creative things. I don’t necessarily work with one medium, creativity can be writing, drawing, painting, photography, AI this year, etc. I always try to keep a creative lifestyle. It’s a bit challenging when you have kids. When my daughter was small, sometimes I would just watch her being creative, or I would do things alongside her, just to keep a kind of creative output. I try to integrate it into daily things. It could be cooking, too. I did a lot more photography which was easier in the circumstances when you get interrupted every two seconds by a small kid. Even if I couldn’t edit it necessarily, I would still keep taking pictures. It helps on so many different levels, with mental health and emotions. Before I gave birth to my daughter, I would travel by myself. I could just open the door and leave the house whenever I felt like this. After becoming a mother, you can’t actually do that. Someone else is there, you have to get her ready, and she might not want to, then you need to negotiate, there’s another person there. So, motherhood affected a sense of independence. Another big shift was not being able to do art whenever I wanted to, as much as I wanted to. Also, before she was born, I thought I was healthy but then I realized, I wasn’t. My diet changed, and I feel way healthier and better now. I am way more ready for pregnancy than I was back then. Before, no one is depending on you, so you are just doing your own thing at your own rhythm, and then you’re not anymore. Career-wise, I didn’t work for almost 6 years, however, being a teacher, I easily got back to work. I wanted to be with her as much as possible, especially, between three to five years of age. Those are the most formative, most important years. I had little commissions, and part-time projects here and there. But my intention was not to go back full-time, because then someone else is raising your child, that didn’t make any sense at all. My husband and I assisted Dr. Gabor Mate’s online workshop a few years ago and my husband went to meet him for a lecture this year in London. He proves that three to five years of child development is very important. We read his books and we were very conscious of choosing to be with our daughter all these years. When she was two, that’s when my husband’s contract in Australia ended and we moved here, a family gap year ended up being a year and a half. We didn’t work, we had enough money to live, so until she was three and a half she had both of us. It wasn’t an easy decision but we knew it was very important for her development to have our presence. Finally, when she started to ask to go to school and went to school that she liked, that’s when I went back to work. I work in education (Nino holds multiple awards and her projects as a teacher and an artist are widely recognized. Recently, she received a Gold Prize in the Digital  Innovator Teacher of The Year category from The Pearson National Teaching Awards in the UK) and if we speak about my concerns in this area, it’s a level of conformity there in schools, which is translated to the wider society. It affects not just the subjects that the students are learning, but also it affects their personalities. And when they leave, that’s when they conform and that’s when you have this mainstream thought about everything. It could be a mainstream thought about childbirth. Children go for this brainwashing for 12-13 years, and that’s my main kind of concern. Education works and it probably serves a bigger agenda on a government level, people follow the rules and conform. Otherwise, everyone would have independent opinions, which is probably not good when you have a big society. You want to instill laws and certain things and you want people to follow this and that. So, there are lots of alternative schools out there, with lots of different models, but even within that you still have some kind of system and some kind of conformity. It depends on what kind of value you want to instill in children but more mainstream schools are going to instill more mainstream opinions. It’s just the way it’s set up. So, I would like to see change, but I don’t know how, because again, I think the values within the system need to change and then you can do it from within. As a teacher working in a school, that has been a challenge the last few years. I see it and I’m contributing to it and I’m part of it. I know I can’t change it. As a young teacher, you say, you can change everything but no, you can change things to a certain degree but you can’t really change the system from within, no matter what you do. Unless everyone does it, with a greater consciousness and greater desire to change the values, it’s gonna continue this way. I like creating things and seeing something out of nothing. You have an idea and you manifest it. I think it’s again linked to my childhood. Artwork or any idea and you actually make it and it comes into a physical realm, it’s quite exciting to me. CHALLENGES OF MOTHERS The main challenge for mothers is having a community of like-minded people. It’s good to have remote support groups as well but having the support network present, people actually holding your baby, when you need to run out for something, and helping with different things. In modern societies, I think, this is the biggest challenge. That is linked also to information sharing about parenting and related things, that you wouldn’t get if you lived in isolation. People live by themselves, some people might have grandparents but it doesn’t mean they are present or helpful. Traveling made that even more challenging because you have to restart and meet people again and it takes months to find like-minded people. It affects you more in terms of your time, and your well-being, you have less time for yourself because you have less support. A lot of it has to do with time. You can’t be with your child 24/7, because that is really draining. When the village is not there for you, you have to compromise more. I think there needs to be support for breastfeeding for sure. Some places do it better than others. Australia was great for this but in Georgia, breastfeeding support is non-existent. I gave birth in a hospital in Australia but I had midwives and lactation consultants coming to our house for three months after I gave birth, checking if everything was ok and they were helping constantly. It was all set up within the system. Education about pregnancy and breastfeeding needs to be provided before and after labor both for mothers and fathers. For fathers as well, because this change challenges them as well. Having men’s groups where fathers could meet would be of great support. If you instill that type of support in hospitals and even on a government level, people will meet naturally and communities and support networks will be formed out of that. Most people are guided by fear and that fear could be either judgmental towards other people or just to guide their life in a way that it affects their decision making. That translates into policy as well. The medical system is all fear-based. So it would be nice if people were more conscious and did a bit of research by themselves, to be less fearful, and to take on the chances as well. Especially in Georgia, I’ve observed that a lot of people are afraid of taking risks, their decisions seem to be guided by fear of something. They don’t take steps to do things, because this fear blocks them. I don’t know where it’s coming from. It could be the wars and history. I’m not saying that it’s not in other countries but it’s definitely present here. Maybe living in a small country and not being able to travel and see what’s out there is generating this fear. France’s medical system was amazing in terms of ease of use and affordability. In Australia, we had really good access to alternative practitioners. In Ireland, we had an amazing kindergarten for our daughter and it was funded by the government so we didn’t have to pay anything. In countries where we lived the support systems were not necessarily built into the policy but they did exist. I find it a bit concerning to have my childbirth planned in Georgia, but I know what I can ask for, what to accept, and what to decline. I have worked with a doula before and I have done some research. I feel ready but I don’t agree with how things are here, and I think it should be different in terms of support for childbirth. I don’t understand why it’s only done in hospitals and why there is not more support around childbirth, “alternative” options that you have in many countries don’t exist here. Even in third world countries, it feels like you have more options for natural birth than in Georgia. In this way, it feels a little bit backward. I don’t know if it’s a political thing or why aren’t those options available around birthing and breastfeeding. In the US, for example, you can still birth at home and then you go and register it. But here you can’t birth at home. If it happens by accident, then you have to go to the hospital anyway to register so you can’t have it registered anywhere else. So either way you end up in the hospital. Why? My friend in Australia had a home birth and after a week she just registered the birth certificate by mail. It just puts more stress unnecessarily, it feels like there’s something odd in the whole approach. How do people who live in the villages and mountains give birth? Do they come down to hospitals in advance? There are a lot of strange things that I’m still observing and questioning. I’m working on multiple projects for next year. I want to open my business. I definitely want to do an exhibition here as well. I’m putting things in motion, not waiting for the baby to be born. It’s becoming a bit harder as the labor’s approaching. Now I have an article coming out in England about the work I was doing at the school, that’s linked to an award that I received. Depending on what type of baby it is and how things go with breastfeeding, I might do workshops here. I do prefer working online though. I did a course a few months ago, about how to make art using AI. It was aimed at teachers and librarians, helping them to integrate AI into the curriculum but also the ethics, how to address it, and what to do with it. The course went very well, so I might continue with online workshops.

  • When You Grow Up, You'll Be A Nurse Overseas

    Kelsey E. Hendrix, 41. A big part of my story is that I ended up as a nurse overseas. But it all began when I was in second grade and on the way to school God said to me: “When you grow up, you’ll be a nurse overseas.” It was a real voice in my head that I knew it wasn’t me. When God speaks to me, this is the way I hear it.When I was in middle school, I didn’t want to do this. I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a very important person because I liked arguing. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a chef, and I thought that would be what I would do. The summer before my senior year of college, I went to an event for high school students, and I feel that God really changed my heart to make me want to move overseas and follow His plan. In middle school, I fought a lot with my mom. She’s very beautiful. I always felt that my mom was beautiful and I was not. It’s a little piece of my growing-up story. When my parent would take me to buy dresses, nothing ever really fit me. As an adult, we know that not everything fits you, but as a kid, I think I didn’t realize that. Sometimes I wonder what our kids think about us compared to what I thought about my mom. I thought she was so skinny, so beautiful, so perfect, and I felt kind of the opposite as a kid. As an adult now, a lot of times, I feel like, I’m so wrinkly. My second son often tells me:  “Mom, you’re so beautiful.” Maybe he sees the way I saw my mom, as someone who is so beautiful, and maybe as an adult, my mom felt like she was so wrinkly. Or maybe many daughters feel some kind of competition with their moms. When I was in junior high school, my mom and I would fight a lot. I remember once my dad said to her: “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.” After that, my mom tried to work on becoming my friend instead of fighting with me. She would take me for coffee, and go to places just us. Instead of trying to control me, she was trying to be friends with me. Whatever show I wanted to watch, she would just sit down with me and watch it with me, even though she might not want to approve of it. Then our relationship was a lot better. I never told her about how I felt about her being beautiful and about myself being the opposite, but I know it’s kind of tied into the cultural things that we all went through together. I have made some significant moves. When I was four, we packed up and moved from one part of the States to another. It changed my whole world.  When I was 10, we moved from Texas to New Hampshire, it was a very big cultural change. That also is a big part of my story, I feel like God was preparing me to live overseas. Because I watched my mom figuring out how to live in new cultures, it taught me, as an adult, this is what you do when you move to a new place, you get lost going places, and you do silly things that people laugh at you, but it’s fine, you know. In New England culture, you don’t take kids to dinner parties, but it’s not like that in Texas, your whole family goes everywhere. So they would take us to dinners without knowing that we were not supposed to be there, and we would end up being the only children, and my mom would be like: “I didn’t know.” When I was in 10th grade, we moved from New Hampshire to Florida. It was another cultural change. I was part of the Junior States of America, a group of students who wanted to go into politics and become state representatives. When I moved to Florida, there was none of this. It was a football school. It was a big cultural adjustment for our family again. During college, I went to a four-year nursing school and became a nurse. During those years, I spent one summer in Uganda, and one summer in China. When I was in China, our team was working with an American doctor, who was based in China, who knew that I was in nursing school. He told me: “When you graduate, work two years, then come back and be a nurse in my clinic.” That’s what I did. When I moved to China, I went by myself to work with this doctor and his wife. She was a psychologist and she taught me a lot of things that I now do in the coaching. I knew my husband but he lived in a different part of China. We started dating and then we both moved to Beijing. We got married and we went to America so I could go to Grad School. I studied Public Health and got my MPH. In the middle of Grad school, I had Gardner, my first son. From being a nurse to becoming a coach. With my first son, I thought I would just breastfeed him. He didn’t gain any weight and I ended up giving him a formula and pumping for a year because once he took a bottle, he didn’t want to nurse again. After that, I wanted to learn as much as I could about breastfeeding. As a nurse, I had been teaching moms how to do it at the hospitals, but I didn’t know how to do all these things from my body to my baby. I knew how to help a baby nurse, but I didn’t know how to help a mom learn how to nurse a baby. I had to learn the mom’s side. I went to the La Leche League training program. After that, I had my second son Gideon. He was great at nursing as if he was born knowing how to nurse. Before we had our third son, I was going through the 1000-hour lactation training program for ICBLC. At the same time, I was helping people with transitioning to China. Our boss asked if we knew someone who wanted to be a coach. I felt like God said this is what I want you to do instead of being a lactation consultant. I wasn’t happy about it and I told God “No”(laughs). Then God was like, do this, and I said, okay. Then I quit the training and I had someone coach me for a year because I didn’t really know what it was. It changed our marriage, the way we parented, and a lot of things. So I went to the coaching training after that. How did God speak to you this time? I was praying. When I prayed about lactation, it would get dark. When I prayed about coaching, it would get really bright. So I felt like this was where I had to go. When I had my first son, I was studying in Grad School, I was working full-time, and we were taking care of our grandma as she was really sick. I would sit and rock him and read my Grad School reading to him out loud instead of a nursery rhyme. As a baby, he grew up listening to this. After we moved back to China, that was when my life changed the most. Even though I lived in Chengdu and Beijing before, moving to Xinjiang with a child, was different. When all my Chinese friends asked me about my one-year-old son, and why I hadn’t potty-trained him, I realized that I had to do a lot of cultural adjusting and things to learn. At that point, we could speak Chinese, and we had already lived in China for three years, I thought like I knew something, but really I knew nothing. I cried every day, during the first year. This time I was in a different culture and I was a stay-at-home mom. Every day I would watch my husband leave for work, and I would just cry. The nice part about it is that I found other moms, every day we would go to the park all together with our kids, eventually, we formed our little mom army. It was great. I lived 15 years in China, 12 years with children. Our four kids somehow provide opportunities in our work that we never thought about before. I never would have done La Leche League if it wasn’t for our kids. And that opened up the doors to all of the friends from the moms that lived in our neighborhood that I would have never met, that they also wanted to nurse their babies and be natural moms. I only had one brother, and I wanted our parents to have a lot more kids. I never understood why my mom didn’t have more kids. The doctor’s wife I worked with, had three kids, and she told me she always regretted not having number four. It was her only regret in life. I really admired her and tried to listen to everything she said to me. And I always remembered that. So I want to have more kids. With my first kid, it was easier. I had him in the summer. When the school year started, I went back to studies and work. The only thing that changed was that I would work at the children’s hospital and I would just take care of the children as part of my job, but after having my own kids, I began to feel very strong emotions inside. Then it was really hard to work and it made sense to me why some people stop being pediatric nurses after having kids because it's hard to deal with the emotions inside of you after you have your own kids. How well do I know myself? When I was younger, I thought I knew myself more. I think as we age and grow in life lessons, we know there are more parts to us. So, we were very simple, it was easy to know ourselves. Before I got married, I knew who I was and why I was doing things but then the more I added to my life, there were more parts of me, so there were different parts of me. It’s not that I know myself less with my age, it’s just there are more facades to know. When I was just by myself, it was easy. As a wife, I need to work to help my marriage, and as a mom, I need to work with four sons of different ages. Some people say 40 is midlife, some people say no. My personality actually changed since we moved to Georgia. There are several reasons: for coaching, we always use the strengths finders, I know my five strengths from before and my five strengths now are very different. My trainer in coaching school said: If you are coaching a client who is in midlife, or who has passed midlife, then you need to re-give them all of these tests because they will have had a transformation. I also had a transformation, entering this second phase of my life coincided with moving to Georgia. I feel like I know myself quite well, but when I was younger I would have been more likely to say, I’m exactly like this. Now I want to be more adaptive to a situation, and more curious about the people around me. Instead of saying, I’m X, I try to be more interested in other people and more curious about how can we adapt a relationship that we’ll work together. I try to live not in my personality traits but in the community and partnerships more. I don’t enjoy being by myself. I enjoy being in community, and working in partnerships. My personality is like, I can do everything by myself, but to me, it’s not enjoyable, it’s just forceful. We came here seeking Chinese culture. Georgia was a different version of cultural shock. I was searching so much for Chinese things. I’m not Chinese, but my heart thinks it’s Chinese. What gives me hope? Of course, God gives us hope, that’s the ultimate truth. But I think we can see God in other people too. The more I live in different places and meet people from different cultures, the more hope comes from those relationships. The more people you meet and the more friendships you make, the more love there is and more community there is. Seeing God in other people through the love they give you and through the love that you have the opportunity to give to them, is the most beautiful thing because together we can all work together to create this kind of project where women are loved and taken care of and not just pushed aside. My ultimate goal from doing the work for La Leche League was to help moms have the relationship with their kids that they wanted to have and I think that comes from coaching, instead of just demanding things from our kids, we help partner with what they want to achieve. Helping other moms to get to that point where they're able to partner instead of being controlling and authoritarian parents. One of the biggest challenges for women in my community is the phenomenon of Trailing Spouses, who go for their spouses’ jobs. Their biggest challenge is to find the ability to have a great level of satisfaction in their work. They aren’t there to work but usually, they are very highly educated people. I see a lot of times women constantly trying to create something and it’s very hard for them. Following the husbands and wanting to also have their career potential fulfilled, is a very difficult position to be in. Several women at the international church here came with their husbands who have really good jobs and they are highly educated. They want to contribute to the community but they don’t necessarily see ways to participate in the community because they don't have language skills. From my experience with La Leche League, I like the idea of combining coaching with projects that serve mothers’ well-being because, if we can help moms achieve their goals with their families, they can do anything. If your family is unsettled, then at work you cannot really thrive, because you are distracted. Either that or you’re shutting off your brain to that part that you need to heal. So, if we want women to feel fully connected to all of their bodies and brains in life, we need to help them heal in their relationships with their families so that they can excel and reach their goals. If the organizations can provide women with coaching to be able to achieve healing their relationships with their family, themselves, and their work, and to understand their mind-body connection, that would be helpful. I have two goals; one is to create a coaching program for foster families; the foster children don’t often have conversations around their life goals, and foster parents don’t often have the emotional and mental support they need to thrive. Coaching for a whole family creates opportunities and new thinking patterns that support them in creating their new life! My second goal is to partner to lead a Natural birthing center where women are supported; to lead and direct this center so women can be supported in birthing, mothering, life, their emotions, and how they choose to live out their work life.

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