JORDAN: When cancer called, I called my tribe

JORDAN: When cancer called, I called my tribe


Not everything that happens in life is warm and fuzzy and wonderful. Sometimes life is absolutely terrifying and paralyzing. This has been one of those weeks. Without sharing too many of the gorey details, it’s enough to say that I am now missing a golf ball size piece of my shin and had to have a skin graft taken from another part of my body to close up the hole. This story ends well as I heard yesterday that the margins are clear and the tumor was completely excised. But that is not actually what I want to talk about.

In the early moments after hearing the doctor say ‘it’s aggressive skin cancer and we need to get it out,’ my mind began to race…not so much about what the implications might be to my life if this was really bad news, but to ‘who are the people who are going to get me through this?’

Between biopsy and then surgery there was less than twenty four hours but I managed through Facebook and email to rally my global tribe. My doctor friend who could talk me through probable outcomes and what my shin will look like when it heals, to the endless Whatsapp messaging I did with Vanessa over days when she was meant to be studying for an important exam, to the mimosa morning my Amman Core came to sit on the couch with me and just listen, to the friends abroad who sent karma into the world, meditated with monks or convinced me to shop online for Furla bags to pass the time.

Too often we try and face situations alone, to be the strong one, the one who can manage everything. Society seems to value that and see it as the ultimate success.

I sit here and type this knowing that I dodged a bullet by getting the cancer out when I did. I also know that my life is richer for having a tribe of amazing people in my life. Maybe that’s what I am meant to learn from this experience…. Gather your tribe when you need them.

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor Jackie Jenkins in Jordan.

Photo courtesy of kizzzbeth / Flickr.

Jacqueline Jenkins (Jordan)

We are a few months into our new 'home of our heart' location in Amman, Jordan. Originally from Canada, I have been moving around the globe for more than twenty years as my husband works for UNICEF. While we were a carefree couple in Uganda, Lesotho and Bangladesh, Meghan joined our family in 2000, while we were living in Myanmar. She was joined in 2005, while we were posted in India by Charlie, her energetic younger brother! Since then we have lived in Mozambique and New York. I am an educator and have been incredibly fortunate to have found rewarding jobs in international schools wherever we have been posted. Most recently I was the Elementary School Principal at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. Since arriving in Jordan, I have been a stay at home Mum, exploring, photographing and learning about the incredible history of the region and the issues facing not only the Jordan population but the incredible number of Syrian refugees currently residing in the country. While I speak English and French, I have not yet started to learn Arabic; a big goal for our time here. I write to record and process this incredible journey we are on as a family. Time passes so incredibly quickly and without a recording of events, it's hard to remember the small moments and wonderings from each posting. Being a mother in this transient lifestyle means being the key cheerleader for our family, it means setting up and taking down a house with six weeks notice, it means creating close friendships and then saying goodbye. All this, while telling yourself that the opportunities your children have make the goodbyes and new hellos worthwhile. Raising a child in this lifestyle has incredible challenges and rewards. The challenges include culture shock every single time, even when you feel the move will be an easy one. It means coaching yourself, in your dark moments to be present and supportive to your children, who have not chosen to move but are trusting you to show them the world and the meaningfulness of the lifestyle we have committed to as a UNICEF family. The upsides to this lifestyle are incredible; the ability to have our children interact and learn about cultures, languages, food, and religions firsthand, the development of tolerance and empathy through relationships with many types of different people and the travel, they have been to more places before the age of ten than some people do in a lifetime! My commitment to raising children who believe in peace and feel responsible for making a difference in creating a better world is at the core of everything I do.

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MEXICO: Life Lessons with Mexico Mom

MEXICO: Life Lessons with Mexico Mom

Ernspiker fam-102RS

As a wife of one and a mom of four, it seems like I am always learning and discovering! I know I am not alone. Let’s just admit it: The world is a big place, life is a lesson, and children can be the best teachers.  Normally my series, Life Lessons with Mexico Mom,  is hosted on Los Gringos Locos, but today I am posting here on World Moms Blog.

Here are my insights and experiences as a Mexico Mom for this week:

Life Lesson 43: There is a worldwide mommy clique. Let’s be honest. You have single cliques, couple cliques, and parent cliques. So far, in Mexico, we have not found our mommy and daddy clique. We have some wonderful friends, who we love very much, but they are either single or married without kids. I truly miss our parent clique in Louisville, Kentucky. Perhaps we need to widen out. Our family loves people so that shouldn’t be hard to do, we just need to make the effort. Parents understand parents. That is the mommy and daddy clique. Welcome to World Moms Blog, where we are all moms, all around the world 🙂

Life Lesson 44: Check your feet before you leave the house. The other day I left the house with my oldest daughter to go in our ministry. We were several blocks away when I realized I was still wearing my tacky, blue, house slippers. We turned around and a minute later Alexis exchanged my slippers for my sandals. My husband and my daughter had a good laugh. If I had actually made it to our destination before realizing what I was wearing, I wouldn’t have been able to change them. I would have walked around Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico in house slippers. That is what you get for being a busy, ADHD, mom of four!

Life Lesson 45: If your kid has a cold and is coughing up a storm, beware of spontaneous vomit. Both of our boys have a cold. They are miserable, with runny noses, coughing and hacking. Yesterday I was comforting our 20 month old. Then he proceeded to vomit milk in my hair. I was grossed out despite being quite familiar with pee, poo, snot, and vomit from my last 11 years of parenting. Brad cleaned the baby while I took a hot shower. FYI: Milk isn’t the best during a cold. It tends to increase the mucus. I should have known…

What life lesson did you learn this past week? Please share it with us below. We want to hear your thoughts from around the world!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Tina Marie Ernspiker.  Tina can be found blogging over at Los Gringos Locos.  She is also on Facebook and Twitter.  

Photo credit to A. Hurst Photography

Tina Marie Ernspiker

Tina lives abroad in Mexico with her husband and four children. She is active with homeschool, travel, and her Bible ministry. Tina loves photography and writing thus she blogs. Come join her adventures!

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NORTH CAROLINA, USA: A Journey Through Post Partum Depression

“Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~Vera Nazarian

One of the most misunderstood parts of motherhood is the emotional roller-coaster you’re on right after giving birth. Everyone expects you to be settling in blissfully while staring doe-eyed at your bundle of joy.

But having a baby is both amazingly fantastic and ridiculously exhausting.

Whether you’re a first time mom or not, the disruption while everyone adjusts to the new normal can be overwhelming. You may be fortunate enough to have a wonderful mom (or a well-meaning mother in law) to step in and help but relinquishing a degree of your control over the day-to-day can contribute to frustration too. And if you’re like many women, the combination of these factors may lead to a case of “baby blues”, or to full blown post partum depression [PPD].

These negative emotions can be confusing for both the mom and those around her as well. Many women think there must me something wrong with them, assuming they “should” feel happy. More often than (more…)

Frelle (USA)

Jenna grew up in the midwestern US, active in music and her church community from a young age. She developed a love of all things literary thanks to her mom, and a love of all things science fiction thanks to her dad. She left the midwest in her early twenties and has lived in the south ever since.

On her blog, she tries to write words that make a difference to people. Long before she attended college to major in Special Ed and Psychology, she became an advocate for special needs and invisible disabilities. She's always been perceptive of and encouraging to those who struggle to fit in. Having been through several dark seasons in her own life, she's found empowerment in being transparent and vulnerable about her emotions, making deep and lasting friendships, and finding courage to write from her heart. Her biggest wish is to raise her kids to be compassionate people who love well.

She's been online since 1993, with a total of 19 years of social media exposure. Having friends she doesn't know in real life has been normal for her since her junior year in college, and she's grateful every day for the ways technology helps her stay in touch with friends from all over the world.

Jenna lives in a suburb of Raleigh, North Carolina, and is a freelance writer and a stay at home single mom to 3 girls and a boy. She blogs at

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Saturday Layover for August 20th, 2011…

World Moms Blog was initially set up to tell stories about motherhood from around the world. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I realize how it could turn into so much more.

The support and the personalities behind the writers have become more than just stories. We’ve become interactive and supportive. Real friendships are emerging and laying a foundation for the global community building around our site.

Over the past months, we’ve listened when Kirsten in Canada told us how much she missed her dad, who passed away. We worried about Dee Harlow, as she wrote from the “murder capital of the world” in Mexico and explained the life and death risks she faced when just taking her twins outside to play. (more…)

Jennifer Burden

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

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