NETHERLANDS: A Mother’s Process.

NETHERLANDS: A Mother’s Process.

I worry about you.

I worry about not being the best mother for you.
About not giving you what you need.
I don’t have a manual.
All I have are my instincts, my feelings and my love for you.

No one tells me that I am doing a good job.
But there are plenty of hints and questionable looks suggesting that I am not.

So I worry.

My mind floods with fear that you might need more.
Something, someone to help you flourish.
And I worry that my love for you is not enough.

I carry this load and observe you daily, in silence.
I sigh of relief when I see you smiling and enjoying yourself.

My heart cringes when I see you struggling.
I’m afraid to share my thoughts, my worries.
To speak out about my growing sense of trouble.
About the signs that I see.

Am I seeing signs?
Or am I overthinking?

I struggle with acceptance.
Not because I can’t accept you for who you are.

Others can’t.
Their silent question marks,
weigh on me like judgement.
And I have a hard time shaking that off.

I battle with misconceptions and harsh opinions of strangers.
But when I look at you,
I can tell every little aspect of you that makes you so precious.
I see your infinite worth.

You are like that one flower in the flower bed.
The flower that keeps drawing my eye
Uniquely shaped yet oddly colored.

The flower that I admire the most.


This piece is a combination of my own struggles and the struggles of the mothers that I face around me.

Mothers who have a child that is struggling or going through a rough time;
Mothers who have a child  that is developing differently;
Mothers who have a child that has special needs.

I would like to ask you to withhold your judgment or quick advice.
Just see her, and respect her process.
After all she is just like you.
She loves and wants the best for her child.


Do you ever worry about your child’s development?

How do you cope? What are strategies that help you?

This is an original post written by Mirjam for World Moms Network


Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands. She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life. Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home. She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera. Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it. She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways. But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself. You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.

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EGYPT: Beliefs and how they impact our lives


According to Merriam Webster, a belief is, “something that a person accepts as true or right, a strongly held opinion about something.” A belief is just an opinion, not necessarily the truth or the reality. Beliefs can be imagined as an iceberg. There are some beliefs  we are conscious of, like the tip of the iceberg that can be seen above the water. Meanwhile, there are other beliefs we are less aware of, the larger part of the iceberg that lies below the water.

There are different types of beliefs. There are some that are empowering beliefs, like we are happy, we are successful , life is beautiful and worth being lived, failure is a part of the success journey, and so on. Other beliefs are disempowering, like I am unhappy, I am not good enough, life is unfair, I am a loser, et cetera. Such beliefs can be very limiting. Our beliefs about ourselves shape our lives. If we hold empowering beliefs, we feel more satisfaction and peace of mind. Otherwise, we are frustrated and unhappy most of the time. Most of our beliefs are formed during our childhood and adolescence.

Why our beliefs impact our lives?

Our beliefs drive our behaviors, so anything we do can be linked back to a certain belief we hold. Our perception of a situation creates a thought in our mind. The thought triggers an emotion, and the emotion makes us behave in a certain way. For example, one of my clients felt uncomfortable when her colleagues repeated to her, “You are so kind.” From my point of view, it was a positive comment of praise, while she perceived it as, “You are so naive.” With the positive perception, she would have felt totally comfortable and satisfied. Meanwhile, with the negative perception she felt annoyed and uncomfortable. These two different perceptions of the same situation triggered two completely different feelings, which lead to two totally different behaviors.

When we go through the same experience with the same thought, we feel the same feeling and we behave the same way until it becomes an unconscious belief and the behavior becomes automatic. Unfortunately it becomes the TRUTH while actually it is just our truth that we created due to our perception. If we want to change our behavior, we need to change the angle from which we see the situation.

“Making mistakes is shameful”

I grew up in a family and a school where making mistakes was not an option. We were punished, made fun of, and severely criticized for making mistakes. There were only one way to do anything, the way the elders wanted it done. Anything else was wrong and unacceptable. Living in such an environment was really hard.  I always felt like an accused who needed to defend herself. I wanted to have my own life, but unfortunately anything that did not match their way was considered a mistake.

One of my dis-empowering beliefs that negatively affected my life and harmed my self confidence for many years was, “Making mistakes is shameful.” I was so sensitive, so I avoided many situations and experiences to avoid the feeling of guilt and shame I felt every time I thought I made a mistake. I feared oral exams, trying new things, delivering presentations, and giving an opinion in a meeting or a class. I was so frightened of failure that I had to find help. My coach helped me see my foundational belief that making mistakes is shameful, and helped me to see that it caused me to avoid situations where I feared failure. It took me some time to adopt the new perception and to overcome my fear and my belief. Fortunately, I can now express myself in public easily, confidently, and in a relaxed way.

How we can change a behavior?

When you want to change your behavior in any situation and you want to find out what dis-empowering belief you hold, just answer these questions:

What are your thoughts in this situation?

How do you feel every time you go through it?

Write down your answers, and repeat this process several times. You will begin to notice a pattern. Notice your inner self talks and your wording – it will tell you a lot about your beliefs. To change the behavior, you need to change the angle from which you perceive the situation. Try to find a more positive perception – it will make a big shift in your thoughts and feelings and hence your behaviors.

As moms we need to be so careful with our children. We must pay attention to how we treat them, and also how we treat ourselves or speak about ourselves in front of them. We need to be aware of our dis-empowering beliefs, and work on changing them as they will surely affect our children. They acquire their self confidence and self esteem from ours. Our children see themselves through our eyes and they believe us, so if you tell your child they are not good enough or they are amazing they will believe you and may be they will live their whole life with this belief. Be cautious which beliefs you want to implant in your child.

Are you aware of your beliefs? What type of beliefs do you hold about yourself? How do they affect your life? Do you have a similar story, to share with us, about replacing a limiting belief ?

This is an original post for World Moms Network by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image via José María Foces Morán / Flickr


Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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WORLD VOICE: Raising Our Voices Beyond Election Day

WORLD VOICE: Raising Our Voices Beyond Election Day

RESULTS staff and volunteer moms and kids in DC bringing paper dolls to senators in support of the Reach Act Photo Credit: RESULTS Educational Fund

RESULTS staff and volunteer moms and kids in DC bringing paper dolls to senators in support of the Reach Act
Photo Credit: RESULTS Educational Fund

Today is Election Day in the United States. You may not have heard much about it since we aren’t voting on a president this year. Sadly, since most of the items on the ballot are at a local level, most Americans won’t bother to go to the polls and our media will mainly view Election Day 2015 as merely a kick-off to next year’s presidential election. Many citizens of my country are excited yet also fearful about what a change of president or Congress will bring for the issues they care about. Helplessly, they feel like the only thing they can do is wait a whole year until they get a ballot full of dubious choices.

They feel oddly powerless even while living in a country often held up around the world as an example of democracy. Is that the way we have to feel for 365 more days?

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way! Election Day in any country shouldn’t be the only time a citizen raises her voice. Here in the United States especially, we should live up to our fine reputation of democracy by engaging in it any day of the year to make progress on what matters to us most. Take, for example, the global issue of maternal/child health.

In September, UNICEF released new data showing that the number of children under five dying every year has been cut by more than half since 1990. Longstanding, bipartisan U.S. support for child survival has played a key role in this progress. Yet the world still loses 5.9 million children every year, largely from preventable causes. We know that we can do better for these kids and we don’t want to lose any progress we’ve made. The last decade has seen effective reforms in the way the U.S. provides nutrition, immunizations, and assistance for infants and expecting mothers. If we have a change of leadership that doesn’t value these positive changes, we could lose valuable ground in the fight against child mortality. Thankfully, expert champions of moms and babies at RESULTS – an anti-poverty advocacy group – brought together a bi-partisan group of senators and representatives to introduce the Reach Every Mother and Child Act to prevent loss of progress and propel us toward a day when no child suffers a treatable or preventable death.

The Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 would enshrine important development reforms into law, ensuring the U.S. does its part to help countries to end preventable child and maternal deaths by 2035. It would require clear targets, better accountability, investment in the most effective strategies to save lives, and a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable populations. I like to think of it as a “Don’t Break What We’ve Already Fixed” and “Do More of What Works” kind of policy. The Reach Act would help make certain that mothers and children can not only survive, but thrive.

Cindy Levin at Representative Ann Wagner’s office with her daughter and volunteers from RESULTS and the United Methodist Church asking the Congresswoman to co-sign the Reach Act Photo Credit: Cynthia Changyit Levin

Cindy Levin at Representative Ann Wagner’s office with her daughter and volunteers from RESULTS and the United Methodist Church asking the Congresswoman to co-sign the Reach Act
Photo Credit: Cynthia Changyit Levin

Citizens acting together to urge their leaders to pass this kind of altruistic legislation never makes headlines at CNN. Yet it is exactly the kind of actions that make the U.S. and many other nations great democracies. I believe in citizen action so much that I get my daughters into the act as much as I can. In addition to calling and writing to tell my elected officials to support the Reach Act, I’ve asked my kids and their friends to color paper dolls in solidarity with other kids at the RESULTS office in DC to deliver to senate offices. It’s never too early for kids to learn how to save other kids lives even before they reach voting age.

If you live in the U.S., I hope you go to your polling place and make your vote count for the local issues that are closest to you and your family. After that, however, I urge you on behalf of moms and babies everywhere to contact the offices of your U.S. senators and representative. Use the following weblinks to ask them to co-sign the Reach Every Mother and Child Act (“S.1911” in the senate and “H.R. 3706” in the House of Representatives) to help save the lives of mothers and kids around the world. You can even tell them that you voted this year and you intend to vote again next year based on how they respond to your request!

What issue will you bring to the attention of your government representatives?

This is an original post by Cindy Levin for World Moms Blog.

Cindy Levin

Cynthia Changyit Levin is a mother, advocate, speaker, and author of the upcoming book “From Changing Diapers to Changing the World: Why Moms Make Great Advocates and How to Get Started.” A rare breed of non-partisan activist who works across a variety of issues, she coaches volunteers of all ages to build productive relationships with members of Congress. She advocated side-by-side with her two children from their toddler to teen years and crafted a new approach to advocacy based upon her strengths as a mother. Cynthia’s writing and work have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, the Washington Post, and many other national and regional publications. She received the 2021 Cameron Duncan Media Award from RESULTS Educational Fund for her citizen journalism on poverty issues. When she’s not changing the world, Cynthia is usually curled up reading sci-fi/fantasy novels or comic books in which someone else is saving the world.

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NEW ZEALAND: I Am Not My Child’s Behavior

NEW ZEALAND: I Am Not My Child’s Behavior

Last week, my six year-old threw a very loud, very intense and very public tantrum. He threw it because I said, No, to a treat that I wasn’t prepared to buy for him. And yes, I did explain why I said, No.

Child throwing a tantrum

My saying, No, is not a new experience for him. He is familiar with the word and knows what it means. He is intelligent and articulate and understood my reasons for saying, No. I wasn’t too bothered by his outburst. I knew he would get through it and we would be on good terms again by the time we reached home. What was fascinating, to me, was other people’s reactions.

I really, really wish more people understood than these willful tantrums, what I’ve always called Processing Tantrums operate the same as the mourning process. It’s a process to be supported through, not stopped in some way to make me or others feel better.

My son, while in public, was initially in the Denial and then Anger and Bargaining stages. Like the mourning process, he oscillated between them but, because I held the, No, position but was emotionally as supportive as he would allow – mostly through calm words as he wouldn’t let me touch him – by the time we were five minutes away from the store, he hit the Sad stage and a minute later was in Acceptance.

But of course, the people in the store never saw those bits. They just saw the screaming and defiant child and drew their own conclusions. Most kept their opinions to themselves. Some were verbally supportive toward me or used body-language to show they understood. One woman meant very well but managed to irritate me more than the six year-old tantrum.

She told me not to be embarrassed. And seemed quite shocked when I said I wasn’t in the slightest bit embarrassed. Not one ounce of embarrassment was felt by me.

My children are not me. I am not my children and I am certainly not my children’s behaviors. My children are well nurtured, well fed, get loads of sleep, explore and take risks often, have great rituals and firm boundaries. I do my job of parenting them to the best of my ability and they’re turning out just fine.

Their job is to use me as their home base. Their job is to seek comfort from me when they choose to do so. Their job is to move away from me as they desire, at their own pace, in varying amounts as they are so driven. Their job is to learn that things don’t always go their way but they can survive that process and be, not only okay but also have a better understanding of their world and how to reasonably accommodate others, when it’s all over. Their job is to complete the mourning process when they hear that word, No.

I hate to think what would happen if my boys did not learn to properly process, now as children, with my support and understanding. Would they end up being abusive partners because they couldn’t respect the personal boundaries of others? Would they think they were above the law? Would they end up depressed because they got low grades, for what is a low grade but A. Would they stop taking chances and blame everything and everyone else in the world for their inadequacies? I suspect they would. I know plenty of adults who have these characteristics in their personalities.

So, if you see my boys throwing tantrums be assured I am comfortable with the short-term stress of supporting them through those times. They are processing.

I believe it’s worth the short-term pain for the long-term gain of raising kids with character. Their anti-social moments are not their permanent states.

And, really, truly, any tantrums they throw do not embarrass me. I am not my children’s behavior. I am their mother and their lighthouse.

Have you ever had a child tantrum in public? How was that for you? How did other people react?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Karyn Wills of Napier, New Zealand. 

Photo Credit to Mindaugas Danys


Karyn Wills

Karyn is a teacher, writer and solo mother to three sons. She lives in the sunny wine region of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand in the city of Napier.

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USA: The Mother on a Refugee Boat

USA: The Mother on a Refugee Boat


I have a story about being a mother and a refugee.

It was 1949, in the middle of Chinese civil war. A mother trying to escape from the war-torn China got on a refugee boat in Guangzhou with her 3-year-old and 1-year-old.

The boat was sailing to Kaohsiung. Soon after they left the port, the two children started to cry. People on the boat were afraid that the kids crying would attract the communist navy searching for refugees on the sea, and were going to throw the kids into the sea.

The mother fought against those people with all her strength, promising that she would stop the children crying. She took off her blouse, put the two kids under her arms, one on each side, and then put her nipples into the kids’ mouths. Comforted by their mother’s breasts, the children calmed down. The mother kept nursing her children until they arrived in Kaohsiung safely two days later.

The mother in the story was my grandmother. Those two children were my father and my uncle.

I heard the story from my grandmother when I was a little girl. It’s been such a long time that I almost forgot about it, or I never really paid attention to it. I was too young to understand what being a mom, or being a refugee is really like.

Then the #HumanityWashedAshore image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy lay dead on the beach shocked the world. It is reported the boy, Aylan, drowned with his mother and 5-year-old brother on a short run from Turkey to the Greek Island of Kos.

The image shocked me, too. I thought of my 2-year-old, more than that I thought of my grandma. For the first time, I tried to imagine what it really was like for a 20-year-old young mother to get on an over-loaded refugee boat with two toddlers and to continue to breastfeed them for two days in the middle of the sea to flee from violence, oppression and poverty. How hard, or how dangerous it could be? My grandma said, “we could have died.” Now I knew she was serious.

Aylan was not one person. Three more children died last night trying to cross that TWO MILES to safety.

Aylan could be my dad, or my uncle, or any of us. War was never very far away from us. It’s often just one generation or two miles away.

Aylan’s father told The Telegraph, “let this be the last.” I hope so but highly doubt it. History repeats itself. When will we ever learn?

Read more: Things we can do to help. Now.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by To-wen Tseng of California, USA. 

Photo credit to Europe Says OXI.

To-Wen Tseng

Former TV reporter turned freelance journalist, children's book writer in wee hours, nursing mom by passion. To-wen blogs at I'd rather be breastfeeding. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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