Meeting the unluckiest woman in Madagascar changed my views on motherhood forever. Despite standing almost 6ft tall, Carolin ducks her eyes when she smiles, shyness getting the better of her. She hides her inner steel. She lost everything because she refused to abandon her children. She is the mother of twins: three sets of twins.
I'm ready to stop because I work full-time, which means I have to make time to pump breast milk during every single work day, and this is not easy. In the past year, I've been on a dozen business trips, which involve incredible planning and logistics to leave enough milk at home, and to pump and travel with dozens of ounces of milk.
I have spoken to women who wanted to nurse their babies but couldn't, or decided enough was enough after a few weeks. Many women have perfectly healthy infants and decided right at the start that breastfeeding just wasn't for them, and others are still feeding five-year-olds. I was lucky in that I decided to nurse and, with help, was able to.
I was exhausted, depressed, utterly obsessed with making it work and insanely jealous of the women who made it look easy. I asked every woman I knew who had children about breast feeding and was surprised but also heartened to discover that I wasn't alone. My new world of parenting was littered with devastated women who eventually, with heavy hearts, had to throw in the towel...
I am witnessing a monthly meeting by the Chandrajarkie village women's group, which is organised and monitored by the village women. I'm here because I want to understand how the group has achieved a public health and social breakthrough: a massive reduction in neonatal mortality, and a huge step forward in the self-confidence of women.