Global Mama Support

Mamas On Bedrest: The Global Prenatal Initiative

March 21st, 2014

Global Prenatal Initiative

Greetings Mamas and “Happy Anniversary”!!

I am pleased to present to you the Global Prenatal Initiative (GPI). GPI is an initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) Commission of the World Organisation of Prenatal Education Associations (OMAEP), and is in partnership with the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations International Year of Families. The GPI is an awareness raising campaign. The mission of the Global Prenatal Initiative is:

  1. Raise awareness in all sectors of society of the long-term impact of the 9 months of pregnancy for individual and global peace, sustainable development and poverty eradication.
  2. Emphasize the impact of parenting, and especially the key role of the mother during pregnancy and birth, for the future of humanity.
  3. Advocate putting “prenatal education” at the heart of all education, health, social development and policy making.

Julie Ryan Gerland is the Chief United Nations Representative for the OMAEP and the co-founder of GPI. Julie’s work with the UN focuses on improving Maternal Health and Reducing Infant Mortality, sustainable development, the Commission on the Status of Women and all peace issues. She is a perinatal education pioneer, co-author, international lecturer and advocate in the field of very early parenting from pre-conception to the first year after birth. Julie founded the Holistic Parenting Program: Preconception to Birth & Beyond, a program for parents and professionals in Provence, France. Julie’s mission in life is to raise awareness of the necessity of “a calm and peaceful start.” Through her program, Julie educates men and women before they conceive on the importance of creating a calm and peaceful environment for the eagerly anticipated child. She people to heal their own wounds from their individual, family and cultural upbringing prior (optimally) to becoming a couple and most certainly before becoming parents. Her intent is to solidify the bond between man and woman and than between parents and child.  In her own words, 

“The Global Prenatal Initiative (GPI) is a wake-up call to the essential paradigm shift that makes global sustainable development realizable. The “9 Months to Save the World” begins at conception. The time spent in the womb is the foundation for long-term health, emotional security, intelligence, creativity and much more for every human being. It is vital that the link between these early stages of human development, their long-term impact and the current global challenges be known.” 

“If we want peace, for instance, babies must experience peace from the start then they grow up knowing peace, being peaceful and re-creating peaceful activities and environments which will in turn bring global peace. How can we expect someone who has always known violence from the moment of conception through the most vulnerable time of development, the nine-months in utero, followed by a violent birth and early infancy to act peacefully?”

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, an event created and celebrated by the United Nations. OMAEP and it’s global partners will be celebrating, discussing UN priority themes as well as bringing light on the vital role pregnancy and birth play in the long-term development of every human being. OMAEP and its member associations will assemble and diffuse the scientific and psychological knowledge on the importance and long term impact of the «primal period» from preconception to the post natal period, and the mother-father-child bond during this time.

I am fascinated by this work and these initiatives. It also makes me wonder, how is the US faring in the face of these initiatives? Our invasive medical techniques, high rates of induction and cesarean section, our high rates of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality (especially in black women) and our high stress, vary rapid lifestyle kind of make me go “ouch”.  Reading these initiatives and the work that is being done at the international level, I ask myself, “What do these workers think of bed rest?” How does bed rest even factor into the Global Prenatal initiative? And most certainly I wonder, “If there were programs such as the Holistic Parenting Program in the US (and there may be and I’m just not aware of them!), would there even be a need for bed rest?”

I am just learning about GPI but I believe that its work is coming at a critical juncture in the “revolution” that is perinatal health and work. The anniversary celebration will be going on all year all over the world, so I’ll do my best to keep you up on the latest.

What’s going on in prenatal health in your neck of the woods? We have mamas in our community from all over the world, so we’d love to hear what’s up. Share your happenings in the comments section below! Have a question or comment on GPI? Feel free to e-mail us at

Mamas on Bedrest: How One US Mompreneur is Helping Bolivian Mamas Achieve Financial Independence

October 10th, 2011

My colleague and fellow Mompreneur Laurie Gonyea has partnered with Global Goods Partners, an international women’s cooperative, to help mamas in Bolivia become financially independent.

I first “met” (online) Laurie a couple of years ago when she was first starting out with her company, Knit Outta The Box. She reached out to us to see if Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond would be interested in providing knitting kits to Mamas on Bedrest. I actually featured Laurie’s kits in our shop for a couple of years until she moved into wholesale distribution and now, global initiatives.

It is so exciting to see what Laurie is doing now with her business. One of her most ingenious and most popular products is her iMitt (c) kit. These knit kits make mittens with holes for the index fingers and thumbs so that you can use your smart phones without removing your mittens. They are made out of all natural fibers and come in beautiful colors. Until now, you had to purchase the kit and knit the iMitts(c) yourself (and the kits are still available). But Laurie has partnered with Global Goods Partners so that women in Bolivia will knit the iMitts (c) out of beautiful Alpaca yarn, and for each pair of iMitts (c) sold, a portion of the sale go to the women in Bolivia. This gives these women a source of income, a job, something that they can do while also caring for their children and a step towards financial independence. Considering the iMitt (c) is designed to be used with smart phones, I can only imagine that Steve Jobs is looking down with a huge grin on his face!!

This is an incredible opportunity for Laurie and for the women with whom she is partnering in Bolivia. I believe that this sort of “woman to woman” empowerment is what is going to move our world forward. So if you feel so led, purchase a pair of iMitts (c). With the holidays coming up, they’ll make great gifts! I will be relocating to New England next year, so I am ordering a pair of the purple iMitts (c) so that I will be ready for winter 2013!

What are other mamas doing? If you know of a mama doing something fantastic to help Mamas on Bedrest or other mamas globally, please share this information below or at  You can also connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter, @mamasonbedrest.