Starting a family can be tricky business so you need to know when the time is right and if your partner is ready, and whether you can cope. Not all families are planned but more often than not, parents have given some thought to it. The best age to become a mother or dad is often a decision many have to make at some point in their lives. Now a new research by scientists point to ideal age 35 years. Thanks to science and media, according to Mirror Newspaper, signs, pressure and constant discourse about fertility seem to point to “sooner rather than later time as previously thought. A new research discovered the benefits of motherhood contrary the conventional wisdom. This new study conducted at the University of Southern California found out having a baby after age 35 improves mental abilities of the mother. Serena Williams played tennis during pregnancy and won with baby Alexis Jr. A sound preparation towards family life helps both parents to nurture the child better. The Guinness Book of Records the new mothers existing beyond age 60 as the geriatric mothers. Evidence of having baby after 35 years can increase life expectancy as research shows. This research of 830 postmenopausal women did several tests performed as part of research revealing participants tested on planning, visual perception, verbal memory, concentration and attention performed better. Women who had a first baby after 24 performed better on the mental acuity tests, problem solving, and verbal skills compared to mothers between the ages of 15 and 24. Mothers who had last baby after 35 had the better verbal memory and cognition results. Their increased mental clarity is thought to be related to oestrogen surge and progesterone in pregnancy. And the hormones are believed to improve their brain chemistry and functions if their pregnancy occurred later. Whether or not this informs a woman’s decision to have a child is up to them and should always consult your doctor about any worries but it’s still refreshing to hear having a baby at age 35 or onwards is not all bad news. So there is hope for many single women worried about their body clock. Since frontal cortex brain does not form before age 25 on average it makes sense to grow up first before trying to have a child. Often the world is full of children having children and struggling with shock and reality of caring for children and the pressures of motherhood in general. A 35 year old matured and experienced woman can perhaps handle pressures of sleepless nights better than 15 year old. Research confirms need to grow up first before taking on a responsibility requiring life commitment of financial burdens of taking care of children. Support is also necessary whether one has the children earlier or later in life. Most men really do not fully mature until about 45 years so worth noting that impacts their life. A family life requires hardwork, quality time and lifelong commitment so a child is for life no matter the age of parents.
A nun in France prayed for a woman with disability in a wheel chair and she walked. Her testimony is shared here to thank God and bring awareness on the issues disability can sometimes give rise to like unspoken questions, sensitivities, yet amid the awkwardness there can be humour. This story is edited version of a monologue by Abigail Brown who has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, known as brittle bone disease. It was summer of 2011, and the family was on holiday in Paris. I know it was 2011, because it was the same summer Amy Winehouse died, which meant that my holiday wardrobe consisted almost entirely of black gauze and winged eyeliner. I devoted long hours to painstakingly translating French news articles with the help of my mother’s 1983 French pocket dictionary, although it lacked crucial vocabulary around narcotics. In addition to the dictionary I inherited a genetic bone condition: osteogenesis imperfecta or brittle bones. It is an inherently comic disability and means I can break bones in almost any situation, including – but not limited to – getting out of bed, watching rugby, learning to play the guitar or sneezing. It doesn’t just affect bones – it’s like a lifelong game of Pokemon, except you collect medical conditions instead of adorable cartoon creatures. My mum and I both have short stature, spinal deformities and a rare form of hearing loss which, ironically, nobody has ever heard of. My mum’s mum is by far the fittest of the three of us and got hearing aids at the more sensible age of 72. On a recent multi-generational trip to Pret A Manger, we found the music interfered with all six of our collective hearing aids and we baffled the barista by responding to: “Are you eating in?” with “Just a splash”, “By card”, and “Thanks very much”. The barista felt so sorry for us she gave us a cup of tea on the house. Like many people with brittle bones, I can stand, walk, and, if the mood takes me, dance like a 90-year-old with an arthritic hip. After 15 years spent using my two feet, my legs took themselves into retirement approximately 60 years earlier than the rest of me so these days I whip out walking on special occasions. Back to 2011, which was the summer I started using a wheelchair for long distances. There’s me and family traipsing around Paris, my brother practicing wheelies with my wheelchair and me sweating profusely under all my black gauze. We wind up in Montmartre to visit the Sacre-Coeur. This landmark Catholic church was built at the highest point in Paris at the top of an extremely steep hill with cable car to transport wheelchairs, pushchairs, the otherwise disabled, elderly and people halfway up the steps. From there you either have to walk up the remaining steps or take a long and painfully cobbled route around the side of the hill to the top. Typical French Catholics – they do like to make sure you’ve put the effort in. We were sitting at the top of the cable car section, admiring the view before attempting the steps, when a group of nuns appeared and began to set up for a short biblical play. Unfortunately, the only member of my family who is both biblically literate and able to speak some French is my mother – who, as I’ve mentioned, is also severe-to-profoundly deaf. While she made a valiant attempt to recall bible stories based on such visual clues as a nun brandishing an enormous key wrapped in aluminium foil at another nun dressed in a white cassock with a pipe cleaner “halo”, the moral of the story was lost on us all and we remained unconverted, heathen Anglicans. After the play, while mum fretted about whether the one with the tinfoil key was St Peter or St Paul, the nuns passed out leaflets to the crowd. There I sat, sweaty and despondent, in a desperately ill-fitting wheelchair, when a haloed, white cassocked figure appeared above me. Presumably my carefully curated mourning look for sorrow over my disability, touched her and the nun bent down and placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder. “We pray for you,” she said. “We pray your legs better.” In the six years since I began using a wheelchair, I’ve been prayed for multiple times, in multiple languages, by people of varying religions. I don’t know what the waiting time is supposed to be whether prayers are supposed to be answered instantly, or whether there’s some kind of triage system in place – but I’m still awaiting the day I leap out of bed in pain-free ecstasy and run to the top of Mount Sinai to sacrifice a goat. That said, I would never be so bold as to say prayer doesn’t work, I’ve just never seen one in action. My legs were actually pretty good, in the grand scheme of things, that summer. It was my spine which was causing problems, so I felt a little uncomfortable accepting such heartfelt prayers on behalf of two unstable but really quite nice-looking legs from a stranger wearing a pipe cleaner halo. I considered asking the nun whether I could re-direct the prayers to a more worthwhile cause. Whether she thought St Peter or St Paul would forgive Amy Winehouse’s rampant drug abuse in the case of a six-time Grammy award-winner and Brit Awards’ Best Female Solo Artist 2007. I thanked the nun, wiped the sweat from my forehead, and probably gave her the best day of her religious career. I stood up from my wheelchair and without a backward glance, I walked up the steps to the Sacre-Coeur. Similar stories happen all over the world today because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Those who prays in the name of Jesus to God for healing are answered according to God’s WILL and timing. Jesus healed many people in the Bible as did Apostles and disciples who followed Jesus. The Holy Spirit is actively working through nuns and all who believe in Christ to save, deliver and heal in Jesus Name.
A Canadian woman got an extra carrot with her diamond ring when it was found in her vegetable patch 13 years after she lost it. Mary Grams, 84, was devastated when she lost the ring while weeding on the family farm in Alberta in 2004. She had kept the ring’s loss a secret from all but her son for more than a decade. On Monday, daughter-in-law discovered the secret and the ring when she pulled up a lumpy carrot. The carrot had grown straight through the ring, enabling it to be plucked out after many years hiding in the soil. She had decided not to tell her husband when she lost it, out of embarrassment, but she told her son. She went and bought a slightly cheaper replacement ring, and carried on as if nothing had happened. “Maybe I did the wrong thing, but you get so worked up,” she said, no one was wiser. This week her daughter-in-law Colleen Daley decided she wanted some carrots for supper.Image caption Ms Daley, lives on the farm where Mrs Grams used to live, went to harvest some vegetables in the garden. Lo and behold, she spotted the ring while washing a rather lumpy carrot. Her son instantly knew who ring belongs to and called his mother. And looking back, Mrs Grams said she wishes she had told her husband, who died five years ago. He was a joker, she said, and probably would have found this whole situation pretty funny. Now that she has it back, she said she will be more careful. “If I am going outside or anything I am going to put it in a safe space. That is what I should have done,” she said. This is not first time someone found a diamond ring on a carrot. In 2011, a Swedish woman found her wedding ring 16 years after she lost it. A Swedish woman has discovered her wedding ring on a carrot growing in her garden, 16 years after she lost it, says a newspaper. Lena Paahlsson had long ago lost hope of finding the ring, which she designed herself, reports Dagens Nyheter. The white-gold band, set with seven small diamonds, went missing in her kitchen in 1995 she told the paper. Although the ring no longer fits, she hopes to have it enlarged so she can wear it again. Mrs Paahlsson and her family live on a farm near Mora in central Sweden. She took the ring off to do some Christmas baking with her daughters, but it disappeared from the work surface where it had been left, she explained to Dagens Nyheter. The family searched everywhere and years later took up the tiling on the floor during renovations, in the hope of finding the ring. It was not until 16 years later when Mrs Paahlsson was pulling up carrots in her garden that she noticed one with the gold band fastened tightly around it. The carrot was sprouting in the middle of the ring. It is quite incredible,” her husband Ola said to the newspaper. Image caption elieve the ring fell into a sink back in 1995 and was lost in vegetable peelings that were turned into compost or fed to their sheep. “I had given up hope,” Mrs Paahlsson told Dagens Nyheter, adding she wanted to have the ring adjusted to fit her. “Now that I have found the ring again I want to be able to use it,” she said. Jesus says there is great joy shared when lost coin or treasure is found. Often the owner is looking for a ring, coin or lost sheep and persists until it is found. Similarly, God keeps on looking forward to ‘finding’ all HIS Children no matter how many years it takes to return to God, Rightful Owner reunited with their beloved treasured prodigal children in Christ Jesus Name.
Thank God that the long-expected good news happened concerning some Chibok girls, turned women’s return. Some freed or escaped back in education. But one had amputated limb and was walking with crutches, an injury sustained, according to what Mr Mustapha was told, during the Nigerian military air strikes against Boko Haram. The girls all ran with joy when told, “You are free today,” said Mr Mustapha to the 82 women after all the names were called out. They all smiled he said, despite a subdued reaction as a result of the presence of the militants all armed with guns or in army camouflage uniforms and boots. Mr Mustapha took some photographs with the women. The militant’s video camera recorded events and ICRC vehicles eventually arrived. So told to go to cars they ran, Mr Mustapha said. Immediately they entered vehicles, they started singing for joy. Some shed tears.” Mr Mustapha received a number of accolades for his work with Future Prowess School. He was a finalist for the 2016 Robert Burns humanitarian award given to those who save, improve enrich the lives of others or society as a whole, through self-sacrifice, selfless service, hands-on charitable or volunteer work, or other acts”. He was also given a 2017 Aurora Prize Modern Day Hero award for those whose “life actions guarantees the safe existence of others.” He said handing over the 82 freed girls to Nigerian government is “the highest point in my life felt he did something worth saying to the world that I have done this,” he said. But in the series of letters from African journalist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani this happiness is tainted with the sadness as some Chibok women are yet to return, or refuse to return or even go back after being freed. Looking at why some Nigerian women have gone back to the militant Islamists who abducted them is very complex and puzzling to many people. When news emerged that some Chibok schoolgirls, abducted by Boko Haram in 2014, had declined to return home with the batch of 82 freed in May, the world found it difficult to believe. Not even the release of a Boko Haram video showing some hijab-clad, Kalashnikov wielding girls saying they were happy in their new lives, was enough to convince the people. “They must have been coerced,” some said. “It is Stockholm syndrome,” others said. What else explains why any girl or woman, would choose to remain with such horrible men? Yet, some of the women rescued by the Nigerian military from captivity are willingly returning to Boko Haram’s Sambisa forest hideout in north-eastern Nigeria to be with these same horrible men.
In January, I met Aisha Yerima, 25, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram more than four years ago. While in captivity, she got married to a commander who showered her with romance, expensive gifts and Arabic love songs. A fairytale life in the Sambisa forest she described was suddenly cut short by appearance of the Nigerian military in early 2016, at a time her husband went off to battle with other commanders. When she first interviewed Aisha, in the government custody for eight months she completed a de-radicalisation programme run by psychologist Fatima Akilu, the executive director of the Neem Foundation and founder of the Nigerian government’s de-radicalisation programme. “I now see that all the things Boko Haram told us were lies,” Aisha said. “Now, when I listen to them on the radio, I laugh.”
The pull of power?
Image copyrightEPA Image caption The past five years, Dr Akilu worked with former Boko Haram members including some commanders, their wives and children and with hundreds of women who were rescued from captivity. “How women were treated when in Boko Haram captivity depends on which camp a woman was exposed to. It depends on the commander running the camp,” she said. “Those who were treated better were ones who willingly married Boko Haram members or who joined the group voluntarily and that’s not the majority. Most women did not have the same treatment.” Aisha had boasted about the number of slaves she had while in the Sambisa forest, the respect she received from other Boko Haram commanders, and the strong influence she had over her husband. She even accompanied him to battle once. “These were women who for the most part had never worked, had no power, no voice in the communities, and all of a sudden they were in charge of between 30 to 100 women who were now completely under their control and at their beck and call,” Dr Akilu said. “It is difficult to know what to replace it with when you return to society because most of the women are returning to societies where they are not going to be able to wield that kind of power.”
Still in shock
Apart from loss of power, other reasons Dr Akilu believes could lead women to willingly return to Boko Haram include stigmatization from a community which treats them like pariahs because of their association with militants, and tough economic conditions. “De-radicalisation is just one part of it. Reintegration is a part of it. Some have no livelihood or a support built around them, Dr Akilu said. The kind of support in de-radicalisation programmes does not follow them up when they leave. So come out successful in de-radicalisation programmes but struggle in community and it is that struggle that leads them to go back. Recently, visited Aisha’s family, still in shock at her departure, worried about her wellbeing. Image copyrightREUTERSImagecaption. Her mother, Ashe, recalls at least seven former Boko Haram “wives” she knew, all friends of her daughter, who had returned to the Sambisa forest long before her daughter did. “Each time one of them disappeared, her family came to our house to ask Aisha if she heard from their daughter,” she said. That’s how I knew. Some women kept in touch with Aisha after they returned to Boko Haram. Her younger sister, Bintu, was present during at least two phone calls. “They told her to come and join them but she refused,” Bintu said. “She told them she didn’t want to go back.”
Life on track?
Unlike some of the former Boko Haram “wives” met, who are either struggling to survive harsh economic conditions or dealing with stigma, Aisha’s life seemed to be on track. She was earning money by buying and selling fabric, regularly attending social events and then posting photos of herself all primped up on the social media, and had a string of suitors. “At least five different men wanted to marry her,” her mother said, pointing out that there could be no greater form of acceptance shown to a woman, and presenting this as evidence that her daughter faced no stigma whatsoever from the community. “One of the men lives in Lagos. She was thinking of marrying him,” she said.But, everything went awry when Aisha received yet another phone call from the women who had returned to the forest, informing her that her Boko Haram “husband” was now with a woman who had been her rival. From that day, the vivacious and gregarious Aisha became a recluse. “She stopped going out or talking or eating,” Bintu said. “She was always sad.” Two weeks later, she left home and did not return. Some of her clothes were missing. Her phones were switched off. She took the 2 year-old son fathered by commander in the Sambisa forest, but left the older one she had with husband she divorced before her abduction. “De-radicalisation is complicated by the fact that we have an active, ongoing insurgency. In cases where a group has reached settlement with the government and laid down their arms, it is easier,” Dr Akilu said. “But, when you have fathers, husbands, sons still in the movement, they want to be reunited, especially women.” Asta, another former Boko Haram “wife”, told me that she has heard of many women returning to the group, but has no plans to do so herself. However, the 19-year-old described how terribly she misses her husband, and how keen she is to hear from him and to be reunited with him. She insisted that she would not return to the forest, not even if he were to ask her. “I will tell him to come and stay here with us and live a normal life,” she said. But as with Aisha, the desire to be with the man she yearns for may turn out to be more compelling for Asta than the aversion to a group responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in north-east Nigeria, and for the displacement of millions who are struggling to survive in refugee camps.
More from Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani:Image ADAOBI TRICIA NWAUBANI
Image caption into the Goldman Sachs building on London’s Fleet Street and you’re greeted by wall to wall marble, a bank of receptionists and a water feature in the London City. But wind your way past lifts through an anonymous fire door and you enter a world that couldn’t be less corporate. The sounds, colours and laughter of a nursery. The Goldman Sachs Children’s Centre is both incongruous anomaly as the only on site childcare facility in the Square Mile. Started in 2003 to offer back up provision for staff, it takes kids between the ages of three months and 12 years old. The expense or regulatory requirements for such a facility are the main reasons why it is unique – and peculiar to a bank with deep pockets. This is part of a day of BBC coverage looking at the cost of holiday childcare. Find out at bbc.co.uk/business or follow conversation on social media using the hashtag #Childcare. According to latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, only 5% of businesses in the UK offer childcare in workplace. Anecdotally, this is almost exclusively made up of large employers because they have the money and space to allow for it. They include government departments, Royal Mail, a variety of universities, Microsoft and Toyota. There are tax breaks for those companies that do.
mployers who include their childcare costs as the part of employee remuneration package, attract tax and National Insurance and obligations. But employers that offer in-workplace nurseries do not and they get relief for the day-to-day running and capital costs of providing the service, for example heating and lighting, and premises.
It might be seen as a perk but an onsite childcare flourished in the immediate post-war years out of necessity. A labour shortage meant women were needed to work and factories and mills started to offer the creches that allowed them to. Dr Laura Paterson of Oxford University, who specialises in history of women’s employment, says childcare provision by businesses died away in the 1950s as the need for women became less acute and the way they worked changed. The. “Part-time and flexible working hours reduced need for workplace nurseries to some extent,” she says, “Women who worked from the 1950s to the 70s tell us they did part-time jobs when children were young to fit around school hours. They worked in the evening so their partner could care for their children. But what about the people working full-time at Goldman? For Amanda Wong, who project manages new trades for the firm and is a mum to 12-month-old Naomi, children’s centre has been a lifesaver. Ms Wong put her daughter into nursery same day she returned to work, shortly after Naomi turned nine months. “It has made me feel a lot more relaxed and mentally ready to come back to work a lot earlier than I would have and I think it helps new mums with separation guilt or anxieties about returning to work,” she says. Though she admits it is not ideal to take a one-year-old on the Tube through central London each day. Yet it makes a great difference child is within reach in vicinity giving parents peace of mind. Assured the child is in safe hands, well taken care of by employer pecks.
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Ishmeet Rayit, who manages Goldman Sachs Children’s Centre, tells me they have a higher staff ratio than Ofsted regulations require (one-to-two in the baby room rather than one-to-three), because they need to make children who might not be familiar with them, settle in quickly. Of the 5,500 people who work in the office, about a quarter are registered users. Each parent at the bank gets 20 free “back-up” days to use the centre, renewed each year. The most coveted facility in the centre is the after-school and holiday programme where the 5-12 year olds come. It’s stuffed full of bilingual books and toys, showing just how multicultural the bank is. “The kids call it an office day,” Ms Rayit says. “They get taken out for lunch by their parents and they make friends here.” Parents are only allowed to book 10 days of this holiday service at a time, the room can accommodate 12, and the waiting list to get in is long.
ally Boyle, the international head of human resources at Goldman, says it is a “significant cost” to the firm – but it is worth it. We are definitely seen it have an impact on retention of a smallish group of women but important women who wouldn’t have stayed I suspect if they hadn’t been able to manage that childcare in a way that they can here,” she says. The centre is run by Bright Horizons, largest provider of workplace nurseries in the UK. Goldman pays it a monthly management fee, and parents who need childcare beyond that paid for by the bank, deal directly with the nursery. A spokesperson for company says demand for onsite care increasing. “In today’s competitive talent market, recruiting and retaining exceptional people is high priority for organisations. “On site childcare has been identified as a key factor in encouraging parents to return to work and, in turn, helping organisations to thrive”.
But Rohan Silva, whose Second Home drop-in work spaces are planning in-house creches, says the barriers to entry today of setting up onsite childcare are enormous. “The Ofsted accreditation process takes at least three months, and costs hundreds of pounds in registration costs and consultancy fees. In addition, there are multiple additional inspections each year, plus a chronic shortage of trained staff,” he says.Another challenge is the fact that so few architects and designers have ever designed childcare facilities, because so few are created by property developers. That means thinking from scratch the issues around access and child-friendly materials,” Mr Silva says. He believes it’s a vital way of allowing more parents to work. “The UK’s rate of maternal employment is 27% lower than other Western countries making childcare more accessible will make a big difference. “This is especially true of single parents – who are much more likely to be unemployed, and for whom access to childcare is the biggest barrier to finding work” Mr Silva adds. A recent Institute of Directors survey backs this up. It found over half of its members think that the cost of childcare hurts careers – particularly those of women. It is currently consulting on whether to open a creche for its members. For now, though unlike those women working in factories after the war, the option of taking your child to work is offered at a company’s largesse rather than out of compulsion. And it’s reserved for a privileged few.
Does looks affect jobs and will your face land you a dream job? Some measure expected standard face as a potential employer to decide whose face best fits the job. This new trend selects mostly females based on their looks or shape of their faces. Some companies go as far as asking for pictures in advance and then measuring faces with tape during their interviews for their required face. This matter is becoming an issue of concern as some do not hear from the employer again after their receiving photos. This way of employing staff members was again in the news. So is this another stereotypical selection method of the beauty considered fit for a workplace? This method is based on facial profiling by face reader’s opinions who claim to predict suitable jobs for specific faces. They are consulted to analyse faces to determine the best face for each job. Is this another underhand tactics and an excuse to discriminate against certain faces? It is possible to send own air brushed picture to look impressive often people send a younger photo than their current looks. Are companies being influenced by the modern concepts of what constitutes good looks online in the media as true standard beauty? What about ‘Ugly Betty’ chosen to help her boss from getting distracted by his beautiful secretaries to focus on managing his company. What happens if a company is catfished as happens often in many cases including Sarah who got a job from a university based on her photo of previous youthful years. The university appointed her and on arrival for work turned out to be confronted by an old lady three times her age. Sarah did not indicate her current age to them so it was assumed she looked like the photo sent. At first, the university thought it was a mix up until she confirmed her identity and she enough she was the same person. She was allowed to do the job based on her excellent and genuine track record on her CV qualifications and work history. Sarah although het looks did not affect her job turned out to be a nightmare. Sarah told university zoology director, she must live literary with all the animals in her home. Therefore Sarah turned posh university accommodation into animal husbandry for her practical research. Her teaching produced great students so made up for lack of her youthful look Was tolerated to live among her beloved animals till she died unexpectedly. Sarah carried on dutifully for many years but became a victim of her own success. One of the animals bit her while taking him to a vet in her vehicle became infected by rhesus as he carried that disease. Sarah dedicated her phenomenal long life collaborating with the university for many years. The university afterwards took the animals to the appropriate zoo set aside for all other animals. Then the house was refurbished and restored for new person employed to fill her place. Sarah was a great character and loyal to her beloved animals and carried on with her zoologist passion to a whole new level. Her presence at university was well-known so she was popular and well loved, one of a kind in that gated community. Her research papers, work was immaculate in both classroom and outside winning many awards. Sarah’s looks and age did not hinder or affect her work in at all. So if the university had based the choice on only superficial or aesthetic looks to reject application, they would have missed out on her skills, talents and practical abilities for many years, as an impressive scientist. So do looks really help in choosing the most competent staff members? Sarah’s job technically did not have age limits in those days so she was able to do her work perfectly well. Sarah did what she loved most so died doing her job carried on faithfully to the end. So is it fair and ethically moral to demand specific looks to determine certain jobs?