To-wen is a previous TV reporter/host turned freelance journalist who also writes children's books in wee hours. She is also an award-winning blogger and the author of "No Trivial Matter" and three other books, all in Mandarin Chinese. Her writing can be found on World Moms Network, BabyCenter, and Taiwan's Commonwealth Parenting Magazine.
Blog Post List
February 24, 2017
This week, President Donald Trump is preparing to release a second executive order halting travel from citizens of the seven Muslim nations. And I'm taking time to write this post, because I promised my son that I would speak up. His preschool teacher is from Iran. We love her and truly hate to lose a great teacher over a unreasonable ban...
January 6, 2017
Obamacare includes pregnancy, maternal and newborn care in its list of 10 essential health benefits insurance companies must provide for consumers. It requires health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. It amended the Fair Labor Standards Act so employers with more than 50 workers have to give “new mothers, for up to one year after a child’s birth, with reasonable time to take unpaid breaks to express breast milk for their nursing children.” Under this standard, employers also need to provide mothers a private room that is not a restroom to fulfill her breastfeeding and/or pumping responsibilities. Now, because Trump has threatened to overhaul Obamacare, these services are at stake.
December 9, 2016
December 10 is Human Rights Day . And right before the Human Rights Day this year, I received an e-mail from a mother, upset that her employer doesn’t support breastfeeding and that her supervisor told her “Not only breastfeeding moms are good moms, formula is as good.” I was saddened. I am sad because I feel her. When I asked for breastfeeding accommodation from my previous employer , someone from the company told me, “You can just use formula. It’s as good. My son was formula-fed and he went to Harvard.” I am sad because my hands are tied. I’ve been blogging about breastfeeding rights for...
November 29, 2016
One bright afternoon of this August in our neighborhood playground, an older child—probably 5 or 6 years old— threatened my 3-year-old son, saying “Trump will kick you out of here when he becomes President.” That was the first time my son learned about the election. We didn't talk about it at home, considering he’s still young. I never thought he would learn about it this way in a playground. A shocking lesson for him. And a shocking lesson for me. When it comes to unfriendly comments about immigrants and minority groups, many Asian American people, including me, often have an illusion of “...
October 25, 2016
October is National Work and Family Month. Working Mother Magazine identified 100 businesses that take their obligations employees seriously , first and foremost with paid family leave. These businesses are dragging the country toward something approximating a civilized social safety net, which is awesome—unfortunately I don’t work for any of them. I’m one of the approximately 53 million freelancers and independent contractors in the U.S. Yes, I could theoretically stop working for a period of time to welcome my new child into the world. I have been saving for this very reason for quite some...
September 1, 2016
MomsRising turns 10 years old this month! That’s a decade of gains of women, mothers and families. This makes me so excited that I have to write something about it. I’ve been with MomsRising for three years. Three years ago this month, my son turned five month old and I’ve been back to work for two months after a three-month-long maternity leave. That two months were tough. I chose to breastfeed, which my company did not support. We didn’t have a nursing room, even though California law requires appropriate reasonable space for pumping. I had to pump in the restroom. When I tempted to wash my...
June 14, 2016
Last summer I had a chance to sit down in a indoor playground cafe and share my unfortunate workplace nursing story with Jennifer Grayson , an author, journalist, columnist, and a leading expert on environmental issues. She is also a mother of two. At that time she was working on a book about the breastfeeding debate. Surely breastfeeding has been a hot topic and there were already plenty of books out there revolving around this topic. But I was happy to see one more book adding to the list. Not because I’m a (crazy) breastfeeding activist as Wikipedia labeled me, but because I see the fact...
March 3, 2016
What if you were born tomorrow? Think about this: If you were born tomorrow, what are your chances of growing up healthy in a wealthy family? Well, let me tell you. You have a 25% chance to be born in a family living in poverty and a 0.6% chance to die before turning one year old. No, I am not presuming that you were born in a developing or an undeveloped country. I am saying if you were born tomorrow here in America, an industrialized country. This is how. If you were born tomorrow in America, chances are both your mom and dad work. Women are now half of the entire paid labor force and moms...
January 14, 2016
Frequent travel is part of my job. When still breastfeeding, I often flew to work with my breast pump and storage bags; flew home with my breast milk in coolers. During that 30 months, my dear pump and coolers have been to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Columbus, Austin, Taipei, and other cities with me. They were my best travel buddies. It was never easy, of course. Carrying extra luggage, finding time and place to pump, figuring out ways to store and ship the milk, going through the TSA security check… all of these make my business trips harder. I took it as a norm. Like all the other working...
December 11, 2015
When I was still a working reporter serving as a staff writer at a Chinese-language newspaper’s Los Angeles Bureau, I sat on the floor in the bathroom stall between assignments to pump breast milk for my then 3-month-old son while my colleagues went to bathroom, knocked on the door and occasionally told me to hurry up. After each pumping session I moved to the office kitchen to wash the pump parts, trying to ignore my colleagues stating behind me and saying “don’t wash your dirty panties here.”
November 25, 2015
Thanksgiving is around the corner. Today my two-and-half-year-old came home from his day care with a thankful turkey. Thankful turkey, you know, the classic construction paper turkey lists what children are thankful for. We had this conversation. “Mama, look at my turkey!” “Wow! And what’s this?” “Things I xiexie for.” “And what do you xiexie for?” “Udon noodle soup.” “…Anything else?” “Mommy and Daddy.” So my little one is especially thankful for udon noodle soup. As for myself, I am especially thankful for my child’s day care teachers. (I’m thankful for udon noodle soup, too! It’s what...
October 17, 2015
New data from Gallup suggests that 56% of moms would prefer to stay home with kids than work outside the home, and 39% of women without young children would like the role of a homemaker. This is down from recent years. According to Gallup, in the late 1990s to early 2000s, more than half of women would have chosen to work outside the home, if given the chance. Soon after that, the numbers flipped back to what we see today. The current numbers look like what one would expect from a society with members happy with the status quo, and may lead to the question: Who are groups like MomsRising even...
September 30, 2015
Chinese University of Hong Kong recently implemented a policy allowing mothers breastfeeding breaks. The policy was criticized by an anonymous Internet user, claiming it’s “unjust to men.” The post went viral and became the subject of a backlash from other Internet users. Some said, “We’re sure the university would gladly apply the same break policy to any man who actually get pregnant, deliver the baby, and breastfeed.” Forget about the amusing (and silly) debate, a recently published Australian study said that man actually can—and should—help with breastfeeding. How many people does it take...
August 26, 2015
On August 26, 1920, women achieved the right to vote in the US, thus the Women's Equality Day. On this very special day, I want to do something that I rarely do--write a little bit about my thoughts on this heating presidential election. Living in America, I often have an illusion that we women are completely equal to men. Unfortunately, whenever I have such an illusion, things always happen to break it. Something like, just yesterday, the GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump once again called the FOX anchor Megyn Kelly a "bimbo." Trump's twitter tirade against Kelly was soon challenged,...
August 5, 2015
I was a working reporter when I first found myself become pregnant. Six weeks into my pregnancy, the space shuttle Endeavour made its last landing at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The press lined up as early as 2AM to secure a spot in order to catch a nice footage. I was among them. When the space shuttle finally landed at 1pm, I have been stood there for 11 hours straight without even one bathroom break. I had heat stroke and was a little dehydrated; I thought I might lose my baby.
July 2, 2015
This past Sunday I joined other dozens of mothers for San Diego Day to Normalize Breastfeeding at Kellogg Park in beautiful La Jolla. Yes, it’s the day to “normalize” breastfeeding, not to “protect” breastfeeding. I used to believe that breastfeeding is something that needs to be protected, until a recent trip to Taiwan. I called the island home for 20 years, but I have not visited the “home” for a long time. I was surprised by what I saw during this trip.
May 14, 2015
This past weekend I joined a dozen of local mothers (and fathers) for a stroll walk , raising funds and awareness for the importance of human donor milk. Why donor milk? Well, much has been said about the benefits of breast milk for babies. It is the feeding method recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics(AAP) and the World Health Organization(WHO). And for the 500 premature babies born each year who contract a potentially deadly disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), breast milk is more than the recommended feeding method. It can mean the difference between life and death...
April 17, 2015
This year, thank to the Child and Dependent Care Credit, I saved $400. How far can $400 go? For my family, it equals to one week of mortgage, or two weeks of groceries, or five weeks of gasoline. It may not sound much, but is indeed very helpful. Coincidentally (and unfortunately), I had an accident just a couple of weeks ago. I was hit from behind by an unlicensed driver. My 22-month-old was in the car when the accident happened. Since the other party was not licensed nor insured, I had to pay for the damage with my own insurance. I have a $500 collision deductible and the $400 child care credit kicked in just in time to help me fix my car and replace my baby’s infant car seat.
January 12, 2015
Just a couple of months ago, I helped to translate Dr. Glenn Doman’s Fit Baby, Smart Baby, Your Baby to Mandarin Chinese. At the beginning of the book, Dr. Doman wrote, “The early development of mobility in newborns is a vital part of their future ability to learn and grow to full potential.” When translating this sentence, I looked at my 20-month-old. Surely we all know that learning begins at birth and the brain develops faster between birth to age 3 than any other period of life.
December 24, 2014
On a recent Sunday in my church, a nice lady tried to feed my 18-month-old a piece of chocolate. She wasn’t happy when I politely said "no." “Come on, why don’t you give him a treat? It’s just a leftover Halloween candy,” she said, turned to my child, “I’ll give you a treat when mommy is not around.” The incident made me think. Surely our culture is strutted with candy and other junk foods. Every so often, I feel that I’m fighting against the whole world just to protect my child from junk foods. But I cannot be the food police around him 24/7. That “leftover Halloween candy” remind me that,...
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