MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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Got Milk? Why Breastfeeding and Breast Milk Matters

Breastfeeding education and support for new mothers is an important ongoing issue. There are many decisions and questions regarding breastfeeding versus formula feeding. A few of those include: should you alternate between both bottle and breast, how long should you breastfeed over time, what type of latching-on techniques should you use, when is the time to start pumping, how should you store pumped milk, etc.?

As a new parent, one’s lactation questions can be endless. Why is breastfeeding important? Why should parents care?

There are many reasons why breast milk is regarded as the highest form of nutrition infants can obtain. Mothers pass important nutritional antibodies through breast milk that have been observed to benefit overall infant health. Breastfeeding potentially lessens the occurrence of long-term health conditions, such as the prevalence of obesity, type II diabetes, SIDS, gastrointestinal infections and asthma. Mothers also benefit, as breastfeeding promotes a natural way to rebalance hormones and maintain weight loss after pregnancy. Long-term health benefits also include reduced risk of female endocrine-related cancers, such as breast or ovarian cancer, high blood pressure and type II diabetes. In the US, it is recommended to breastfeed exclusively at least up to 6 months after birth. However, average statistics have shown only 1 in 4 women does so.

Student practicing with a breastfeeding doll at MOM

Despite the bonding benefits of breastfeeding and the positive health outcomes nursing may have for both mom and baby, the decision to nurse is not always an easy one. Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is personal and unique. Often, individuals require support and guidance through the post-birth journey. Sometimes problems arise. Women can experience lactating difficulties, latch issues, sometimes health concerns or pre-existing conditions prevent the possibility of breastfeeding, and women who experience mastitis are often confused about how to proceed.

In the Tampa Bay area, support can be found at many local organizations including the Tampa Bay Breastfeeding Task Force. The Tampa Bay Breastfeeding Task Force is a nonprofit organization that hosts events for breastfeeding activism, they also provide support and answers to questions via their social media and website platforms. Events such as Breastfeeding Friendly Daycare Training, promote their #TBBreastfeeds and the Breastfeeding Normalization Campaign. TBB is also known partners in advocacy efforts with the Florida Breastfeeding Coalition, which provides support for breastfeeding as well as promoting state recommended resources for those needing more information. Their mission “is to improve the health of Floridians by working collaboratively to protect, promote and support breastfeeding.”

If you are in need of professional assistance or are looking for more information, the La Leche League of Florida and the Caribbean Isles connects volunteers with lactation consultants and local nursing mothers’ groups. The Tampa Breastfeeding and Lactation Center LLC or Breastfeeding Care and Consulting, run by Jocelyn Pridemore also offers consultations for new mothers. Different services are available at a variety of prices from high to low. Additionally, if you are seeking access to breast milk, check out charitable organizations such as Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida, which is dedicated disseminating pasteurized donor milk to those in need. They also welcome donations of breast milk. Please spread the word!

If you are interested here is an additional link to some helpful breastfeeding techniques:

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/breastfeeding-your-baby

Article info sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/index.htm

https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding

https://www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding

Web Links to Local Orgs and Lactation Specialists

Tampa Breastfeeding and Lactation Center LLC: https://www.breastfeedtampa.com/

Breastfeeding Care and Consulting with Jocelyn Pridemore: http://breastfeedingcareandconsulting.com/

The Florida Breastfeeding Coalition: http://www.flbreastfeeding.org/

The Tampa Bay Breastfeeding Task Force: http://www.tbbreastfeeding.org/

La Leche League of Florida and the Caribbean Isles: http://www.lllflorida.com/lalecheleague/

Mother’s Milk Bank of Florida: https://milkbankofflorida.org/

Breastfeeding at M.O.M.

This article was researched and made possible by Alexandra Valdes as part of a service-learning internship with USF. Read more below or click the image to find out more about our student authors:

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Diversifying Visibility to Decrease Mortality Rates

The American Medical Association says that women of color are 2- 6 times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white woman depending on where they live. There are many factors that can contribute to this disproportionality, including quality of prenatal delivery and postpartum care. This mortality rate has significant detrimental effects on the black community as countless mothers are lost to this vicious cycle.

Chinelle Rojas, Dear Little One Birth Photography

Likewise, economically disadvantaged women are less likely to receive quality healthcare and are thus also less likely to receive prenatal care. This leaves black mothers more likely than white mothers to have hypertension, blood disorders, and other medical conditions that complicate their pregnancies. A recent article by USA Today explores the surprisingly high rates of hospitals blaming mothers’ preexisting conditions for high maternal mortality rates among women of color, especially black women. Before USA Today conducted a study and critically examined these shocking maternal mortality rates, these numbers have been overlooked because hospitals are allowed to keep this information private. By keeping this information away from the public, many hospitals have been excusing their poor outcomes by blaming the health of the mother.

Apart from the legal actions that can be taken to decrease mortality rates of women of color, there are organizations and individuals who, through means of advocacy, let this information come to the light and make a conscious effort to put a stop to it. Employing advocacy through visibility, Kimberly Seals Allers, is an international speaker, author, and the founder and organizer of Black Breastfeeding Week among other things. Kimberly is on a mission to “shift the paradigm, shift the discourse, shift the infrastructure, and shift the experience of womankind and motherhood for all”.

In the Tampa Bay area, Chinelle Rojas is working hard to shift the narrative. Chinelle is the birth photographer behind Dear Little One Birth Photography and is the founder of The Melanated Birth, in which she uses photography to represent women of color in birth. She believes that photography is a powerful tool, especially when u towards a powerful cause. Chinelle has observed the lack of diversity in the birth photography community and is taking steps towards solving this problem. She advocates that ultimately visibility can be an important step in reducing mortality rates for women. Photographing the births of women of color outside a hospital setting increases awareness of different birth options available apart from the standard hospital epidural birth. She is hoping to spread a message about the possibility of giving birth in alternative settings. She argues that many mothers-to-be, only know of other women who gave birth in a hospital. Seeing photographs of black women giving birth with the help of doulas and midwives in a comfortable setting can be the start of another woman’s successful journey into motherhood.

Chinelle Rojas, Dear Little One Birth Photography

“‘Imagine a world where our little pebble of documenting births can make waves on the mortality rate of mothers across the country or the world.’” –Chinelle Rojas

http://www.tampabirthphotographer.com/

http://themelanatedbirth.com/

Additional Resources:

http://blackbreastfeedingweek.org

http://www.kimberlysealsallers.com

Article sources:

American Medical Association. State-specific maternal mortality among black and white women: United States, 1987–1996. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1999;282(13):1220–1222.

Young, Alison, et al. “Hospitals Blame Moms When Childbirth Goes Wrong. Secret Data Suggest It’s Not That Simple.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 9 Mar. 2019, http://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/deadly-deliveries/2019/03/07/maternal-death-rates-secret-hospital-safety-records-childbirth-deaths/2953224002/.

This article was researched and made possible by Vana Madhu as part of a service-learning internship with USF. Read more below or click the image to find out more about our student authors:

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Annual Academic MOM Conference, NYC 2019: Rewriting Trauma

REWRITING TRAUMA & VISIBILITY

Motherwork, Pregnancy, and Birth

Manhattan College
Bronx, NY
APRIL 5-6 2019

The MOM Conference 2019 is sponsored by the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center and the Manhattan College Department of Sociology

Calling all sociologists, women’s, sexuality, and gender scholars, masculinity studies scholars, birth-workers, doctors, maternal psychologists, motherhood and fatherhood scholars, artists, performers: This conference call for papers focuses on uncovering, naming and rewriting traumas of motherwork, pregnancy and birth. We especially aim to make visible those topics related to (dis)abilities and other marginalized positionalities, relying on Patricia Hill Collins’ conceptualization of motherwork as mothering that is designed for the survival and success of the next generation in the context of oppression. We recognize traumas in multiple forms, originating before, during, and after pregnancy and birth and throughout motherhood, contextualized by the intersectional identities of those traumatized. We encourage presenters to unpack the sociocultural domain and the medicalized environment within which traumas often occur, embracing and analyzing meaning-making, as Barbara Katz Rothman and others would have us do, in the areas of maternal health and well-being.

We intend the conference to serve as a site of resistance as we reframe and reconstruct the landscape of embodied trauma within motherwork, pregnancy and birth and the ongoing labor of mothers and caregivers everywhere. We recognize the scale, variance, and duration of trauma and hope to support and empower those who most need it.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

Intersectional identities as the context of motherwork, pregnancy and birth traumas

Motherwork, pregnancy and birthing with (dis-)abilities, illness, and children with special needs

Biomedical and cultural discourses of motherwork, pregnancy, and birth, including issues related to marginalized identities, fertility treatment, gender, and intersex identities
Normative constructions of gender in motherwork, pregnancy and birthing

Child and maternal psychology interventions, alternative therapies, and results

Breastfeeding ambivalences, obstacles, and outcomes

Future wombs, including transplants, artificial constructions, cloning, and surrogacy

Art as healing and activism as visible resistance
Embodied resistance to socially constructed proscriptions and conventions about motherwork, pregnancy, and birth, especially as contextualized within marginalized positionalities

Narratives surrounding:

  • High-risk pregnancies, pregnancy-related illnesses, and birthing complications
  • Cesarean Section, Episiotomy and other Obstetric Violence
  • Stillbirths or Therapeutic Terminations
  • Pregnancy loss, Alternative Therapies, and Healing

Individuals conducting research, making art, working in hospital or alternative birth settings, and presentations by mothers, family members, and students as well as auto-ethnographic perspectives are welcome

All submissions for this conference should be considered for submission to the Journal of Mother Studies (JourMS), an academic, peer-reviewed journal devoted to Mother Studies. You may also submit for the conference only if you wish. Abstracts must include a title and 50-150 words for individual papers, panels, and other submission types (e.g. performance, media, music). Go to MOMmuseum.org and look for the “Conference Submissions” tab or submit a word doc. to info@MOMmuseum.org by Dec. 1

The international MOM Conference is an annual event that features research, scholarship, and creative collaboration in the area of Mother Studies. Each year, the academic committee organizes university experiences that are interdisciplinary and highlight scholarship in the area of reproductive justice, maternal health, feminist theory, gender studies, literature, and the arts. The conference is organized through the Museum Of Motherhood (M.O.M.) and has partnered with multiple institutions throughout the years (2005-present), including Manhattan College, USF Tampa, Marymount Manhattan College, Columbia, ProCreate Project, Mamapalooza, and ARM now renamed MIRCI to name a few.

DOWNLOAD_CFP_MOM_Con_2019_PDF

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Internship Opportunities at the Museum of Motherhood [Click]

Each year the Museum of Motherhood (MOM) welcomes interns from a variety of disciplines. Each internship seeks to balance individual goals and needs with those of the museum’s. Study labs, online courses, individual projects, visual displays, research, and guest docent opportunities are just a few of the ways MOM has worked with university and graduate students since 2011. Onsite and remote internships are available for the 2017 academic year. Write Director, M. Joy Rose, 538 28th St. N. St. Petersburg: info@mommuseum.org

Seeking students for extra credit lab-work with the Museum of Motherhood for six weeks, beginning October 2017. MOM is launching a new online course called Introduction to Mother Studies. This is an introduction to mothers, mothering, and motherhood through a critical lens. The class uses articles, statistics, film, media, and literature to examine the perceptions, experiences, and identity of mothers. The goal of the course is to offer students insight into evolving notions of family, while sharing a multitude of perspectives. We analyze and explore motherhood in the private as well as the social sphere where mothering is performed.

  • Time commitment approximately 3-4 hours per week for six weeks, October 1 – November 12, 2017.
  • Exit survey completion and final report
  • Participants will be invited to share their class perspectives and final projects at the annual academic MOM Conference in St. Pete/Tampa, February 15-17, 2017.

Seeking self-designed internships at the Museum of Motherhood in St. Petersburg, Florida. Students bring their passion and perspective to an individualized study program focused on mothers, fathers, and families. Create a community outreach project, launch a museum display, or conduct research on a specific topic or category. Business students and those interested in the non-profit sector also welcome.

  • Time commitment is flexible. Students have worked between 4-10 hours per week.
  • Remote or onsite opportunities available
  • Participants will be invited to share their projects at the annual academic MOM Conference in St. Pete/Tampa, February 15-17, 2017.

“….the rules of motherhood are being radically rewritten–with a snarl, cymbal crash and power E-chord that would make the lads in AC/DC stand and salute.” –USA Today

[FIND OUT MORE LINK]

Internships at the Museum of Motherhood

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“I wish I were your son” — The Unspoken Message of a Daughter to Her Father [LINK]

This week I interviewed Aarthi, a mother of two kids. We started our conversation by watching an Indian commercial ‘Ariel – #ShareTheLoad,’ which is about patriarchy and gender roles. After watching the ad film Aarthi bursted with emotion — “It’s so much true! My life is full of it. In my next birth, I want to be born as a boy.” She poured her heart out. I was just listening and it wasn’t even necessary for me to probe her with questions. Her words reflected her deep emotional disturbance and distress as she spoke. She continued talking about her childhood days. She recalled her childhood memories — “My father was never happy with me. For him, his son was his world. Even now it is. I was always an extra burden to him.” She expressed how challenging it was for her being a girl and an average performer in academics amidst her family of well-qualified doctors. She felt her thoughts were not heard — “He payed no attention to what I said even for a single moment. I was never allowed to express myself. If I did, I was silenced.”

Girls are expected to be exceptionally obedient. Obedience is used in exchange for love and care from parents. Aarthi spoke about how her father’s views demotivated her — “l was always a bit doubtful of myself. I thought that I was not good enough for anything.” I could see from her eyes the impact it made in her life. In patriarchy, a woman’s life is defined through constructed ideas, concepts, and myths denying her even basic rights, thought and expression. Her conscious and subconscious minds are conditioned to see the world around only in the way the society would like her to see.

Aarthi expressed her state of confusion on ways to support her daughter in not accepting those same limitations she had — “The only thing I am good at is being a mother—I think.” At the same time, she also expressed how difficult it is to be disloyal to her elders and consequently, the patriarch within herself. “I am not able to figure out what to answer to tell my daughter when she has questions about our cultural practices; like not to pray when having menstrual cycle or not to wear short dress, not to sit in front of men. I don’t have real answers. I still do it without having reasons. I can’t help myself having strong opinions about it.”

Throughout our conversation Aarthi kept talking a lot her relationship with her father. “Right after my marriage, my father gave all my certificates to my in-laws and said I am their property now.” Aarthi expressed her anger in the way she was treated, and her helplessness about never questioning this. It was then I realized how we rarely talk about the way in which fatherhood, particularly in terms of a father-daughter relationship — how this relationship is in many represents a patriarchal struggle. She expressed how her family ascribes to the often “father knows the best” model of parenting even though her mother is a successful doctor. Talking about her financial security, Aarthi with humor stated — “According to my parents and in-laws, this is my husband’s home since I am not working, and I don’t belong to my parents home because I am married. So, I suppose I am almost homeless.”

While talking about her mother Aarthi told — “she wanted me to be everything that she was not— a stay-at-home mom; cook, take care of family and relatives, and I tuned myself to that idea.” Sometimes, a daughter’s sympathy for mother’s plight makes her see her mother’s pain as her own. This sympathy directly prevents her ability to flourish in her own life. Thus, in this way, the mother/daughter bond is forged in an environment that keeps both stuck. Yet Aarthi is a woman of clarity and courage. She is all set to move forward with purpose and determination. “I am going to chase my dream, learn something. and help others” says Aarthi.

Women are given the crown of being the ‘ruler’ at home, which has a very functional basis. They are often captivated by the patriarchal system that sets imaginary limits on their dreams. Patriarchal power subjugates women in a multitude of ways (through force, customs, tradition, language, and laws). This system of power has permeated everything around us. Aarthi’s life experiences and the hurdles she has faced are just samples of traditional patriarchy. The world around us is changing, possibly making space for women. But the question — ‘Are families in the traditional societies open to accommodate these changing gender roles?’ still remains. With women stepping out to chase their dreams and rewriting their experiences, patriarchy is a losing battle today!

About the author: Pavithra Viswanath

Pavithra is pursuing Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialization in Maternal Mental Health. She is passionate about understanding critical issues within social justice movements for women, and its relationship to the modern society. She is always drawn to the narratives and experiences of women related to these issues. She believes that there is pressing need to explore the status of a woman as a mother from various dimensions such as economic status, religion, culture, and society pressure in developing countries like India. She is also in the process of completing her ‘Sexuality Women and Gender certification’. During this fall she will be interning as a Sexual assault advocate at SAKHI for South Asian Women, New York. In her free time, Pavithra enjoys cuddling with her 3-year-old daughter, reading her favorite Tamil literature or listening to music. (Keep reading below: Pavithra’s essay Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers).

Read Pavithra Viswanath’s previous postings here #1 [LINK], #2 [LINK}. Pavithra is a digital media intern at M.O.M.

The art work is inspired by Warli paintings of India.

The art work is inspired by Warli paintings of India.

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Meet M.O.M.’s New Digital Media Intern, Pavithra Viswanath [LINK]

We are so pleased to introduce our newest digital media intern, Pavithra Viswanath.

Pavithra is pursuing Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, with a specialization in Maternal Mental Health. She is passionate about understanding critical issues within social justice movements for women, and its relationship to the modern society. She is always drawn to the narratives and experiences of women related to these issues. She believes that there is pressing need to explore the status of a woman as a mother from various dimensions such as economic status, religion, culture, and society pressure in developing countries like India. She is also in the process of completing her ‘Sexuality Women and Gender certification’. During this fall she will be interning as a Sexual assault advocate at SAKHI for South Asian Women, New York. In her free time, Pavithra enjoys cuddling with her 3-year-old daughter, reading her favorite Tamil literature or listening to music. (Keep reading below: Pavithra’s essay Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers).

shakthi jailed

Modern Day Patriarchy: Experiences of Indian Mothers

 By Pavithra Viswanath

It is difficult to overlook so many years of history when dealing with the state of women and culture. The horrified memories of sati (an obsolete Hindu funeral custom where a widow immolated herself on her husband’s pyre) still linger deep inside each one of us. Women are often compared to the goddess ‘Shakthi’ who is believed to be the embodiment of ultimate power. Perhaps, this notion of uncontrollable power invites the fear on women. I think this fear on women’s power created the social and moral structures to impose controls on them in the name of patriarchy.

In traditional societies like India, a woman is treated like a commodity and transferred from her father to her husband as an exchange through marriage. This marriage institution has helped to maintain social cohesion, social order and status quo in patriarchal power structures. Also, the marriage is presented as the pinnacle of a woman’s achievement. The cultural identity of a married women then becomes all about being a wife, a mother, a subordinate to her husband and his family. It doesn’t stop there. She has to forbear morals, obedience, chastise, cultural traditions and family unity and finally pass the same to her daughters. Thus, mothers unconsciously or consciously play an important role in the creation of gender differences and become a carrier of patriarchy. In the modern day the benevolent patriarchy that is imposed on women has not vanished entirely but only a shade different. The fact that women have accepted and internalized the patriarchal notions does not relieve them from the burdens of patriarchy. It just opens up more choices for the system to subordinate them. This interview series is an attempt to unravel the hidden stories behind the sustenance of patriarchy. It explores the roles of mothers, their beliefs, views and experiences of conflicts that are generated from patriarchal family ideologies.

Watch out for my interview with an Indian mom every week. Through these interviews, I will be sharing my learnings with an art work inspired from the interview and associated Indian culture.