USA: Scissors, Gun Control, and My Suicidal Daughter

My teenager has had a rough few months. She came to me with the information that she felt suicidal and had a plan to end her own life.

I brought her to our local emergency room, where my baby girl had her clothes taken away, an alarm strapped to her wrist, and a room right across from the nurses’ station where she could be constantly monitored. After a long day of evaluations, testing, and phone calls, my child was transferred to another hospital that had a juvenile psychiatric ward.

After her stay in the psychiatric ward, my daughter enrolled in a partial hospitalization program.

Her clinician there told me I needed to lock up all of our household medication and anything sharp. Knives in the kitchen, razors in the bathroom, and even child safety scissors that couldn’t cut hair all had to be locked up in a metal container, not plastic, as plastic could be broken fairly quickly. I asked the woman telling me all of this whether this level of action was necessary for a teenager who had only had thoughts of hurting herself without acting on any of those ideas.

My daughter’s clinician told me that nothing would really, truly keep my child safe if she was determined to hurt herself. The goal in locking up those medications and sharp objects was to make it more difficult for her to act impulsively if she felt the urge to self-harm. I have thought about those words frequently these past few days. We live in a society where weapons are easily obtainable. Somehow, our society has not yet realized that legally allowing such free access to semi-automatic weapons is allowing people like my daughter, whose mental states are not where they should be, to be able to make spontaneous decisions to harm themselves or others.

Let me be clear: I am not talking about criminals here. People who want to break the law will find ways to do so, and I will not waste my words bickering over why changing the laws won’t do anything to stop lawbreakers. I am talking about people who are mostly law-abiding but are struggling with serious mental health issues or going through extremely emotionally charged situations, such as a horrific divorce. I am also not talking about infringing on anyone’s Second Amendment rights. I’m not arguing that US citizens shouldn’t be allowed to own guns.

I am, however, stating that any random U.S. citizen should not be able to obtain whatever kind of weapon they desire whenever they want it. No one told me I couldn’t keep scissors in my house while my daughter struggles with depression and anxiety. Her doctors and therapists realized that scissors would be present, much like guns will always be present in our country. Instead, her doctors told me how to prevent my child from using those scissors to hurt herself on an impulse while she battles depression. When my daughter needs to use scissors for a project, I’m going to give her the child safety scissors instead of something sharp enough to cut or stab herself. Our country should likewise exercise caution.

The Second Amendment was written long before the invention of today’s weaponry. We should update our gun laws. Horrible impulses to hurt other people with semi-automatic weapons should not be able to be planned and performed as easily as they are today.

Knowing my daughter’s current battles with anxiety and depression, I am concerned about the day she is old enough to legally obtain a gun. She is medicated and receiving treatment at the moment, but I will not always be around to watch out for her mental state. God willing, my child will fully recover and live a long and healthy, happy life. Regardless, I want our country to come together and make it more difficult for my child to obtain a gun, so if she does ever again have that impulsive thought to end her own life, it will be harder for her to do so.

This is an original post submitted to World Moms Network. The author has been verified by our editing team, but has requested to remain anonymous. 

For more on gun control in the USA and how you can help, see “World Voice: Parkland Students Leading the Way for Gun Reform.” 

Photo credit to Kevin Doncaster. This photo has a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. 

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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NIGERIA: A Muslim Mother Recounts News of the Paris Attack

NIGERIA: A Muslim Mother Recounts News of the Paris Attack

2015 WMB Quote Hijab in Paris Aisha

My husband came into the room while I was still sleeping on the morning of the attack and told me of a deadly attack in Paris. In my half state of sleep I blocked the news out. I didn’t want to take in another pain. My body wasn’t ready to grieve.

I slept on hoping I would wake up, and it would all have been a mistake or a dream. I woke up and refused to watch the news or go onto social media. I didn’t want what I thought I heard my husband say to be true. I lived in cowardly denial.
I finally put on my phone which I had switched off, and I then had a call from a friend. They said, “Yes, there has been an attack. And, yes, many died!” “Oh God!”, I cried out.

“Has anyone claimed responsibility?”, I asked fearfully. “ISIS.”, my friend told me. “Not again,” I groaned.

To lose a loved one so brutally is horror. To know that somebody somewhere decided to kill your loved one who never offended them and whom they probably had never even seen is painful. An accident, I can understand, but that I can never.

In a month’s time my daughter will be going to France for a ski trip. Will she be looked at differently because of her hijab? My thoughts are that someone in Paris may look at my daughter in her hijab differently from the rest when she is as much victim.

When an attack happens in places like Paris it’s not that their lives are more important, but that the outcry is high even from other countries that have their fair share of terrorism. It’s fear! With all the security in such places? How can this occur?

If these tragic events can happen in places like Paris with their state of the art, high level security then they can wipe us out, here, in Nigeria with our best security. This is what goes through our minds.

It can embolden some to attack with all the copycat crimes going on. We have had so many attacks in recent times. It leaves a palpable fear in the air.

I then saw outrage on social media of people who felt that too much emphasis was placed by the world on the French lives rather than on all lives. I couldn’t find it in me to be outraged. The French cried out to the world and the world joined them in their moment of grief.

When we are attacked in Nigeria a lot of us within Nigeria seem to not care. Even our government. So how would the world cry with us when we have refused to cry for each other?

An attack happened a while ago in which over a 100 were killed it took more than 3 days before there was an official statement from the President condemning the attack. There was outrage from a few of us, and we were attacked by so many for demanding the government acknowledge an attack and death of Nigerians.

With such callousness from our own, how would the world acknowledge our grief?

When the world gets no official statement from Nigerian government, how can they grieve with us when we haven’t even acknowledged that ours were killed?

I am a pragmatic person and would always tell myself the truth no matter how it hurts. I cannot begrudge the French and the world supporting them when we haven’t supported our own. Until we take our lives seriously no one else will, and it would always be painful when my government within hours would commiserate with other countries when they are attacked and refused to acknowledge attack in our own country until days later.

I have been shown I matter by individuals reaching out to me when there is attack from different parts of the world, especially the World Moms Blog family. You would not understand how touching those moments are. It shows I am a member of the human race.

My daughter asked me just yesterday if she would still be going to Paris next month. I told her, “YES!!!” No one will make us live in fear.

Do they have heart? Do they know what it is to lose a loved one? Why do they inflict such on others? What is Islamic about terror? NOTHING!!!

Islam preaches peace. Islam enjoins a right of environment & animals on us. One is not allowed in Islam to cut down a tree.

God said in the Qur’an to kill one human is like killing humanity. We have to unite and let the goodness in us all outshine the few evil ones. Terrorist attack to anyone anywhere in the world is terrorist attack to everyone everywhere in the world.

God rest the souls of the dead and console the families of the departed all over the world. It’s not easy.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor Aisha Yesufu of Nigeria. 

INDIA: #DayOfTheGirl Celebrating Girlhood With Murals In School

INDIA: #DayOfTheGirl Celebrating Girlhood With Murals In School

In celebration of International Day of the Girl, our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, interviewed the heads of a very special school in India. What she learned and felt was nothing short of amazing…

I was ushered in, inside the Vice-Principal’s room when I expressed my desire to interview both, the VP and the Head-Mistress. It was a completely relaxed chat, and I was so surprised about the open-door policy embraced by this school for all its teachers and students. All my prepared interview questions flew out of my head as they talked about the school, the students and their passion for teaching.

Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice-Principal (left) and Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, Head-Mistress (right) of the PSBB Millennium School

Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice-Principal (left) and Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, Head-Mistress (right) of the PSBB Millennium School

During the chat, I observed so many students and teachers, and other staff members of the school, knocking and walking in with something or the other which needed either the Vice Principal’s or Head mistress’ intervention. No, you don’t need any appointment to go and say ‘Hello’ to them. None of the students did.

And as we proceeded to chat, I became more surprised and awed at the way they addressed students on a first name basis, from various grades who had popped in for a chat. Who could remember so many names? They did!

It has been a great pleasure to chat with Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice Principal and Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, the head Mistress of PSBB Millennium School in Chennai, India. They spoke about their teaching journey, their vision for girls and boys in the school and the murals. It was the murals which sparked my curiosity and led me into their doorway. I included picture of them throughout the interview below, and I hope you find them as beautiful, as I did! Now on to the interview…

What inspired the murals? Who did them?

Initially, we got a palm imprint from all the girls of the school to say, “I am proud of being a girl.” The boys of the school wanted to join, too, to say, “We respect you.” This was done to celebrate the “Day of the Girl Child.”

These murals were an extension of the same theme.

The senior students were encouraged to paint the walls sharing their thoughts on being a girl, and the boys also joined, to express how they felt about their girl-classmates.  The result was the lovely messages that came across on the walls.

Mother Earth Needs Her Daughters

Mother Earth Needs Her Daughters

What was the effect of the murals?

They are receiving a lot of attention. The occurrences of boys teasing girls has reduced considerably. Bullying is also greatly reduced. Respect between the genders has increased. The general attitude has improved.

These murals are painted at the backdrop of the playground, and all the children at some point in time look at them at least once a day. And whether they want to or not, they have to acknowledge their presence consciously or subconsciously. Children right from grade 1 to 12 share the playground and so they would look at them. They would talk about them. And it would create an impact as to how girls are viewed.

The murals affect the thought process of both the boys and girls as they grow up. Boys would respect girls and girls would grow up to be secure, and confident in this society.

Girls Make The World Bright, But Struggle To See The Light

Girls Make The World Bright, But Struggle To See The Light

What is the % of boys and girls in the school?

Boys beat girls by being 54% and girls are 46%. But this is still a great ratio for the state where female infanticide is rampant in the rural areas.

Let Me See The World

Let Me See The World

Can you comment about the performance of the girls and boys in the school?

Girls always out-beat boys! They are more sincere, they are meticulous in their planning and definitely more hardworking.

Do Not Let My Life End

Do Not Let My Life End

They also spoke about their respective personal teaching career and their journey in the school. Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, the Vice Principal joined as a Mathematics teacher and now in addition to her duties as a Vice Principal, she continues teaching Mathematics for Grade 12. She is also the HOD for the Math department. She has more than 20 years of teaching experience in mathematics, and she is passionate about it.

Girls Are Great, Nurture Their Fate

Girls Are Great, Nurture Their Fate

Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, the Head Mistress is also the HOD of the Social Science department. She also manages dual responsibilities and says she would never trade the joy she finds in teaching for anything. When I asked about her retirement, she says, she is a grandmother, too, and would love to go and spend time with her grandchild. But she feels strongly attached to the school, the children, and even to the principal.

A Girl Child Today, A Mother One Day

A Girl Child Today, A Mother One Day

The Principal of the PSBB Millennium School, Mrs. Sita Uma Maheswaran also had a few words for World Moms Blog in spite of her very busy schedule. The below conversation is from the Principal.

Do you feel like there is a true cultural shift taking place to recognize the importance of the girl child?

On one hand, we Indians, have so many woman deities  being worshipped as God.  On the other hand, we still have women and young girls being gang raped.
There is a lot of talk happening about justice and equality but it us yet to reach the rural level. Urban girls are more enthused, and they do pride in their being a woman and appreciating girls. But it is a known fact that there are certain cities where women fear to step out.
Girls Are Great, learn To Appreciate Them

Girls Are Great, learn To Appreciate Them

What is the main factor driving this force?

Attitude among men is the main factor, irrespective of whether they are educated or not. The way they have been brought up with values in life, the way they have seen their mother or sister being treated – this can have a great effect!
I Am A Girl, Not A Choice

I Am A Girl, Not A Choice

How do you think these murals are affecting the thought process of girls and boys in the school?

There is respect which is breeding unknowingly for the girls, from the side of the boys.  They realize that girls are to be respected and  appreciated.
Give Girls The Wings To Fly

Give Girls The Wings To Fly

What was your journey like to become the principal of such a prestigious school?

I began as a Teacher Trainee in PSBB Senior Secondary School in 1986.  It has been a roller coaster ride since then. There have been many a thrilling moments and a lot of learning. It is but natural when you get to work under some one like Dr Mrs Y G Parthasarathy, The Dean and Director of the school. Becoming Principal was a lot of responsibility. The work is more challenging. My perspectives have changed, too, because of the broader outlook. I work with more people now, and the goals that I set for myself are different, too.
Girl Child - The Greatest Gift To Mankind

Girl Child – The Greatest Gift To Mankind

What is your one wish for girls in your school and all over the world?

Mrs. Jayashree Subramanian, the Head-Mistress said, ” I want girls in my school and all over the world to have self-respect, self-esteem and know that they are powerful. I want to teach the girls in my school to face the challenging world with confidence and courage and know that they can be whatever they aspire you to.”

K(no)w Mother, K(no)w Daughter, K(no)w Life

K(no)w Mother, K(no)w Daughter, K(no)w Life

Mrs. Bhavani Baskar, The Vice Principal said, “I want to teach my girls courage, valor and self-esteem. The great South Indian poet Bharathi said, “It is a great blessing to be born as a human, and even greater honor and privilege to be born as a woman.” I want my girls to realize that. I want my girls to be mothers, sisters, daughters and to be an embodiment of love for this entire race.”

There were a few other teachers too who shared their wish for girls everywhere.

Girls Education Can Change The World

Girls Education Can Change The World

Mrs. Mukhtar Tahsin Fathima, third grade teacher

Mrs. Mukhtar Tahsin Fathima, 3 – grade teacher

Mrs. Mukhtar Tahsin Fathima, the third grade teacher said, “I want all girls to have awareness about sexual education. I want them to know and be able to protect themselves under any untoward circumstances. I want little children, both, boys and girls, to be given adequate sexual education, and the ability to take care of themselves and seek help when they need it. They should also let down their reservations, shyness and taboo and come out and speak and discuss and be aware of things.”

Mrs. Deepa Seshadri, English Teacher

Mrs. Deepa Seshadri, English Teacher

Mrs. Deepa Seshadri, the English teacher said, “I want my girls to be able to wear and talk what they feel like. They should have the freedom to be natural and happy. They should not have to live in a world where any spontaneous or innocent act is misconstrued in a wrong way. My girls as well as boy students should be able to live in a world which is liberated from prejudice of gender-related actions.”

Mrs. Banumathi, Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Banu, Kindergarten Teacher

Mrs. Banu the Kindergarten teacher said, “I want equality for all my students. When gender equality is ensured, everything else follows. Education of girl-child, empowerment of women, better living conditions for girls and women and many such issues are resolved.

Girls have a say in everything happening with them. They are independent, and they get to decide what they want to do with their lives. I have brought up my daughter, instilling that she is equal or better than just about any of her counterparts. Every mother and teacher need to do the same with their children. “

The Principal of the school, Mrs. Sita Umamaheswaran said, “I want my girls to know they are no less than any boy or man. To dream big, and set goals that they can work toward. Enjoy womanhood and be in a world that respects women and safeguards them.”

The students of this school have expressed their wish for girls across the world, through these hand-painted, beautiful and striking murals.

What is your wish for the Girl-Child across the world?

This is an original post from our World Mom and Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan on the occasion of the “#DayOfTheGirl Child.”

Her contributions to the World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.

Photo credit for the murals, to the PSBB Millennium School.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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UNITED KINGDOM: What’s Really in That Women’s Magazine?

UNITED KINGDOM: What’s Really in That Women’s Magazine?

Magazine Stack

I made a mistake this week, and bought a Women’s Magazine.

I know, I know. I have only myself to blame. Turkeys voting for Christmas, and all that. I haven’t bought one for so long. I’ve been doing really well. But then. Oh then…

In my defence, it looked so – fun. So cheerful and chatty and colourful.There were healthy recipes inside, it said. And – I admit – my eye snagged on a headline about summer dresses.

So I picked it up. I was at the cash till. It only took a moment to grab it, bleep it, bag it. And before I knew it, I was driving home with it.

At home I unpacked everything else first, aware of the magazine in its untouched bag as much as if it was emitting a radioactive glow. I made myself work slowly – stacking the tins of beans straight, organising the refrigerator drawer. Then I called my children and gave them snacks, and sent them out into the garden to play.

After that, I made myself a cup of tea, as though I had nothing particular planned. And then – and only then – I took the magazine out of its wrapper, and sat down to read it.

The first couple of pages were harmless. Or at least, they were nothing I couldn’t handle. Adverts, mainly – twenty-somethings draped in overpriced clothes that could only look good on them. Nothing to see here. Then a couple of placements for age-defying face creams. I read a few lines, caught myself, and moved along again.

The next page provided an unexpected giggle: beneath the legend “Coolest hot-weather buys”, an exhortation to try the latest offering from a diamond company – some sort of twisty ring from just £1,950 ($3,320) each. I made a mental note to ask my husband what he thought when he got in from work, just for laughs.

The next few pages provided tidbits on shoes, celebrity tattoos, and the new King of Spain. I flipped faster, half-aware that my kids’ voices below the window had taken on the whine that suggested some immense unfairness was about to be brought inside and laid at my feet. Sort it out between you girls, I urged them mentally.

Then I turned the page and found an article on being skinny.

I tried to turn the page but I couldn’t. My eyes were fastened on the headline: The Disturbing Rise of the Triple Zero.

I read on.

Somewhere at the back of my mind, a protest went up: Damn it! Suckered again!

Still, I read on.

So disturbing was this new trend for extreme, extreme thinness that the magazine had devoted four pages and fifteen photographs to it, along with such insights as: “It’s no secret that stars can make headlines out of being scarily skinny” (Um, Q.E.D., I think.)

I read the whole article, wanting to stop the whole time. I felt like I was standing in front of my kitchen cupboard in the middle of the night with a jar of chocolate spread and a spoon. Stop it, I told myself. It’s not good for you and you know it. Also, it’s making you feel sick.

I could hear my girls coming inside now. I pictured them arming sweat off their foreheads and tugging off dirty sneakers; saw their strong young shoulders and sinewy legs. In front of me, female skeletons struck ghoulishly sexy poses while the text explained how new ‘skinny apps’ can slim photos for Instagram by five to 15 lbs.

I realised as I read that I was thinking back to my lunch, to my breakfast, to dinner the night before, computing how much I had eaten and how many calories it might have amounted to.

Then a hand landed on my shoulder and I jumped, guiltily.

“Mu-uuum,” Betty began, flushed and aggrieved. In the other room, Grace called out a preparatory defence: “I didn’t!”

I turned to my five-year old daughter while simultaneously turning the page of my magazine. She wasn’t fooled.

‘What’s that? What’s that? What are they doing?”

“Nothing.” (The line that never works.)

Betty grabbed the magazine and pulled, and my heart thudded with horror until I saw that on turning the page I had moved us along to a feature on – ha! – learning to be brave.

“What does it say?”

“It says how you can be brave.”

“Like fighting things that frighten you?”

“Something like that.”


“Come on, let’s wash up for tea.”

Later, when the girls had gone to bed, I threw the magazine in the bin. I felt immediately braver. And healthier. And saner.

If only there was an app for that.

Thus is an original post by World Moms Blog contributor, Sophie Walker, of the United Kingdom.

Photo credit to Ian Mackenzie. This photo has a Creative Commons attribution license.

Sophie Walker (UK)

Writer, mother, runner: Sophie works for an international news agency and has written about economics, politics, trade, war, diplomacy and finance from datelines as diverse as Paris, Washington, Hong Kong, Kabul, Baghdad and Islamabad. She now lives in London with her husband, two daughters and two step-sons. Sophie's elder daughter Grace was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome several years ago. Grace is a bright, artistic girl who nonetheless struggles to fit into a world she often finds hard to understand. Sophie and Grace have come across great kindness but more often been shocked by how little people know and understand about autism and by how difficult it is to get Grace the help she needs. Sophie writes about Grace’s daily challenges, and those of the grueling training regimes she sets herself to run long-distance events in order to raise awareness and funds for Britain’s National Autistic Society so that Grace and children like her can blossom. Her book "Grace Under Pressure: Going The Distance as an Asperger's Mum" was published by Little, Brown (Piatkus) in 2012. Her blog is called Grace Under Pressure.

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NEW JERSEY, USA: Interview with Sarah Hughes

NEW JERSEY, USA: Interview with Sarah Hughes


Sarah Hughes has been helping out behind the scenes at World Moms Blog. Read her interview to learn more about our newest contributor in North America! (more…)

Sarah Hughes

Sarah grew up in New York and now calls New Jersey home. A mother of two, Derek (5) and Hayley (2), Sarah spends her days working at a University and nights playing with her children. In her “free” time Sarah is a Shot@Life Champion and a volunteer walk coordinator for the Preeclampsia Foundation. Sarah enjoys reading, knitting, sewing, shopping and coffee. Visit Sarah at her own blog Finnegan and The Hughes, where she writes about parenting, kid friendly adventures and Social Good issues. Sarah is also an editor, here, at World Moms Blog!

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