BRAZIL:  1, 2, 3…?

BRAZIL: 1, 2, 3…?

1,2,3It is no secret to those who know me that marrying and having kids wasn’t exactly part of my life plan. I thought someday I might want to, but up to my 24th year of age – which is when I got pregnant with our first child – the feeling hadn’t come up. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to marry and have a bunch of kids from the time he was a teenager!

After a lot of inner work and, above all, after seeing our son’s face for the first time, I fell in love with motherhood. The issue then became: how many children would we actually have? What exactly would be the average between my hesitance and my husband’s “as-many-as-I-can-convince-her-to”?

The answer was part instinct, part serendipity. As a wedding gift, one of my husband’s college professors had a painting made especially for us. The painter did not know us, so (as the story goes) the professor described us as two young, nature-loving, alternative creatures. The piece that resulted – which now hangs right here behind me – portrays a solemn-looking, round-faced couple that is so close they could be Siamese twins. The left hand of each rests on the other’s heart. The girl wears a flower printed dress, has flowers in her hair and a single flower in her hand. The guy wears a suit of sorts. On the side of each of their shoulders is a green, succulent plant, and above each plant is an angel resting on what seems like a marble pillar, one blue, one yellow. Above the couple is a yellow, flying fish.

I was five months pregnant then and had just found out the baby was a boy. The name we chose means “he who tills the earth”. I don’t know who said it first, but we started joking that the blue angel was our boy, the yellow angel was our future second child (a daughter whose name would mean “lady of the waters” in an Indigenous language) and the flying fish would be our youngest (a little boy whose name – a reference to a famous Greek character – would mean “he who balances himself in the air”).

Coincidence or not, here we are almost nine years later with the three of them, born in that order and aged nearly nine, two and a half, and five months. And with the added bonus that both our lady of the waters and our little “flying fish” were born in our tub, to the sign of Pisces!

Having gone through a particularly difficult pregnancy this last time, I constantly tried to convince my husband to undergo a vasectomy. He, however, did not even want to hear about it (like many men I know, he has a huge needle phobia!).

Later, while I was in labor, he said he would do it (talk about good timing!). At that moment I was ecstatic, yet after the baby was born I began to question myself about our decision. I look at that cute little baby (it doesn’t help that he is so calm and sleeps so well!!) and think wistfully, “Oh my, this is the last baby in the house until we have grandkids!” Or now, as the time approaches to start introducing food in addition to nursing, “This is the last time I will be able to smell this pure breast milk breath all the time!” And so on…

My husband of course took advantage of all this and decided to postpone the vasectomy for another two years until I am absolutely sure.

When I stop to really ponder, three seems like a perfect number considering our life style and the way we raise our kids. For instance, we enjoy working from home as much as possible and choose to rely on as little outer help as possible; all of this gets harder with more kids.
Of course, if we “accidentally” did have more children we would find a way. On the other hand, if my husband did undergo a vasectomy and then we later changed our mind, we could adopt (which was a possibility we had considered before having our third child).

Do I really want more kids or am I just attached to this cute baby phase? The truth is, I don’t really know the answer right now! Let’s see what the future has in store…
And you, how many kids do you have? Was it a planned number or did it just happen? How did you decide? Please share your story!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our enviro-mama and mother of three in Brazil, EcoZiva.

The photograph used in this post is of the referenced painting commissioned for the author and her husband. It was submitted by the author.

Ecoziva (Brazil)

Eco, from the greek oikos means home; Ziva has many meanings and roots, including Hebrew (brilliance, light), Slovenian (goddess of life) and Sanskrit (blessing). In Brazil, where EcoZiva has lived for most of her life, giving birth is often termed “giving the light”; thus, she thought, a mother is “home to light” during the nine months of pregnancy, and so the penname EcoZiva came to be for World Moms Blog. Born in the USA in a multi-ethnic extended family, EcoZiva is married and the mother of two boys (aged 12 and three) and a five-year-old girl and a three yearboy. She is trained as a biologist and presently an university researcher/professor, but also a volunteer at the local environmental movement.

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Women Deliver Conference In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Women Deliver Conference In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Beginning today in Kuala Lumpur the world gathers at the Women Deliver conference, the third global conference  to be held focusing on the health and well-being of girls and women. Starting today and running through May 30th International leaders, policymakers, healthcare professionals, NGO’s, youth leaders, corporations, and media outlets recognize the value of girls and women and take on solutions to issues affecting girls and women around the world. It is becoming increasingly clear that the most valuable investment we can make is in girls and women.

With the 2015 Millennium Development Goal deadline rapidly approaching, the time is now to deliver for girls and women, and Women Deliver 2013 will serve as a global platform for ensuring that the health and rights of girls and women remain top priorities now, and for decades to come.

Luckily we do not have to travel to Malaysia to participate; You can watch the conference livestream or go back to find the sessions that have been recorded that you may have missed. You can chime in or follow using the hashtag #WD2013 on twitter, and get the days re-cap by looking through #WDLive.


The  +Social Good community also launched in Kuala Lumpur this week, and  was inspired by the Social Good Summit, as a community of innovators, connectors and global citizens come together with the shared vision to make the world a better place. There are many ways to join in on the global conversation this week around women, girls and social good, we’ll see you there!

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,, 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,, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on, Johnson & Johnson’s,,, and 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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SOCIAL GOOD: Why Choice Matters and It Isn’t a Joke

SOCIAL GOOD: Why Choice Matters and It Isn’t a Joke

Mayan women in Guatemala attending International Women’s Day. Photo credit: Author.

Can you imagine living in a place where you had absolutely no choice or control over your body? Can you imagine waiting days to see a doctor or never seeing a doctor once during a pregnancy or even during childbirth?

For most women in the developed world, not having access to doctors or family planning seems ludicrous. Yet this situation is the reality for millions of women around the world who do not have access to family planning, prenatal care or OBGYNs.

In fact, 215 million women around the world do not have access to contraception.  To put things into perspective, this figure represents more than all the women of the United States and Canada combined.

Not having access to contraception leads to many cyclic problems that keep women in poverty and does not allow them to reach their full potential. For instance, in Uganda the average woman bears 8 children in her lifetime.  This makes it almost impossible for women to finish school, support themselves, feed their children and climb the ladder out of a tragic cycle of deep poverty. (more…)

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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