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A behind-the-scenes look at Terranam Wellness & self-care tips for taking better care of yourself.


Celebrating the Inherent Fighting Spirit of Women


I often listen to podcasts when I walk the dog in the forest. It's a wellness practice I look forward to on the weekends, one of the ways I disconnect from the to do list and reconnect with nature and my own serenity of mind. A few weeks ago, I listened to an interview with the 2023 Nobel Peace prize laureate, Dr. Mukgewe. He described his life's work, treating women who have suffered all sorts of sexual atrocities. It was heartbreaking to hear him describe how women, even young girls, were being used as weapons of war. He said something during the interview that stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes. "Having treated over 60 000 women in my work as a gynecologist, it never seizes to amaze me how no matter how much they have suffered, women turn their pain into purpose."

As I listened to his stories, I realized that examples of the extraordinary resilience, grace and unyielding strength of women are everywhere. We all know at least one woman who has taken her own suffering and turned it into service. Women have an extraordinary capacity to navigate a diverse array of challenges and transform their own traumatic experiences for the good of others. They are exceptional warriors who embody a remarkable combination of compassion, resilience, strength and courage. But most importantly, despite their own personal challenges, many women have a super human capacity to transform their trauma and heal themselves through acts of kindness and service, thus enriching the collective wellness of their communities.

The majority of these women don't have books written about them or win medals of honour or show up on Time's Most influential Women list. But they are inspirational her-oes nonetheless, not just because of their ability to withstand adversity but because of the myriad ways in which they enrich and shape a better world for us all.

To celebrate International Women's Day, I honor some of the Women Warriors I have been blessed to meet on this journey of life.

Sister Justina in charge or child's wellness


A woman's warrior spirit is characterized by an innate sense of compassion and empathy. The ability to empathize, nurture, and uplift others is a testament to the profound impact women have on the world.

Years ago, I visited a friend who was stationed on a diplomatic assignment in Senegal. One morning, we set out to run errands, which included buying 100's of nappies for a Creche run by Catholic sisters called La Pouponnière.

For women in Senegal, pregnancy can be risky; the country has a maternal mortality rate of 261 deaths/100,000 births. As a point of comparison, the mortality rate in the European Union is 8 maternal deaths per 100,000 births. In some countries such as Poland, Italy, and Sweden, the rate is even lower at 4 per 100,000. La Pouponniere is not your typical Creche. Their mission is to welcome newborn babies who have been orphaned or whose families do not have the means or ability to care for them. For their first year of life, the catholic nuns and an army of volunteers care for these precious little lives, feeding, bathing and simply loving these babies. In addition, they provide courses for young mothers and families to learn general life skills (reading, writing) and how to care for their small children. At the end of the first year, if the families complete the courses and the child is healthy, there is an opportunity to be reunited.

At La Pouponniere, we dropped off the nappies with Sor (sister) Justina, the catholic sister in charge of the creche. Sister Justina was a Spanish catholic nun who had been living and serving in Senegal for over 40 years. When I met her, I was struck by her sweet and energetic demeanor. This tiny and tireless little woman was a bundle of joyous energy. She moved swiftly and purposefully through the place, giving me a whirlwind tour of the crib rooms, the feeding rooms, the play areas, etc. She clearly loved what she did and showed genuine compassion for the little ones in her charge. Those of us who have had children often complain about the exhaustion of not sleeping through the night in those first months. Admittedly, it makes parents tired, irritable, moody and forgetful, right at the moment when we're supposed to be alert and attentive to our newborn's needs. And then there is Sor Justina. She hasn't slept through the night in 46 years and seems tireless and unbreakable!

On average, she cared for +80 babies every year. Since it opened in 1955, La Pouponniere has cared for over 4000 newborn babies. In the last 20 years, the under 5 mortality rates in Senegal has seen significant improvements in part to programs like La Pouponniere.

Sor Justina is a tireless woman warrior.

Women wellness


Women warriors are fighters, showing resilience and strength in the face of adversity.

Coercive control is recognized as a form of domestic abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV). It is prevalent across various cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Coercive control often involves a range of abusive behaviors aimed at isolating, dominating, and manipulating the victim. According to a study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, approximately 60-70% of women who experience physical violence from an intimate partner also report experiencing coercive control. Legal recognition and understanding of coercive control have a long way to go to ensure women are protected from this type of psychological violence.

A few years ago, I met Daniela. Daniela is fearless and relentless in her pursuit of justice for abused women. When Daniela talks about her cause, you can see the fire in her eyes. Absolutely nothing will stop her from helping other people not have to live through the trauma she suffered as an abused woman in a foreign country. Many years ago, Daniela was lured to a foreign country by her husband. When she arrived, she didn't speak the language nor know anyone there. Over time and little by little, her local husband isolated her financially and culturally until she was fully under his control. When Daniela finally managed to extract herself from her abusive partner, she had the possibility to go back to her native country, find a good job and feel safe in an environment surrounded by loving family and friends who speak her language.

Instead, she brilliantly and stubbornly anchored her feet into her adoptive country and has made it her life's mission to help other foreign and immigrant people escape abusive relationships. In a short time, she has built an NGO, Women for Women, that serves victims of domestic abuse in her adoptive country. As the hidden force behind this NGO, she has hired a group of talented executive women to create a resource center. This initiative brings together guidance and services around mental wellness, financial independence, divorce and child custody proceedings, safety planning, police issues, and legal residency concerns. They serve immigrant communities in over 15 different languages, sourcing native professionals who can help victims navigate every step of the journey towards personal wellness and freedom.

With her willpower and determination to rise, she has managed to bring Women for Women to the attention of local governments, she has received donations from large companies, all the while not speaking the local language. She has even gotten the attention of presidents from countries around the world. Daniela is a fighter through and through, a relentless and humble advocate for abuse victims. There is no mountain high enough, no brick wall she cannot break down. Her strength is awe-inspiring.

Daniela is a fierce and relentless woman warrior.

Patricia warrior for children's wellness


A decage ago, I had the pleasure of playing a role in my amateur theatre company's production of Calendar Girls. If you're British, you may have heard the plot behind the film and the play. It's based on a true story of a group of middle-aged women in Yorkshire who decide to produce a nude calendar to raise funds for cancer research after one of them loses her husband to leukemia. We wanted to produce our own calendar to raise funds and were looking for a cancer association to donate to. That's when we discovered Patricia Blanc and her association, Imagine for Margo.

Losing a loved one to cancer is incredibly painful but losing a child is a devastating experience, one that is often described as the most profound and painful loss imaginable. Besides the unfathomable grief comes a sense of profound injustice. They say one never fully overcomes the tremendous pain of the loss but finding ways to honor your child's memory can help parent's cope and find some meaning in the tremendous tragedy.

Cancer remains the primary cause of mortality among children above the age of one in Europe. Annually, there are approximately 16000 young warriors who will face the battle against this terrible adversary. In 2009, this awful disease entered the lives of Margo and her family. Margo was diagnosed with glioblastoma (Malignant Glioneuronal Tumor). Over the next two years, this bright and bubbly teenage girl fought hard to stay alive but also made her struggle public and managed to collect a record number of funds for research in the fight against cancer in children. When she sadly passed, her family found a note she had written to them where she imagined a world where children were free of cancer. Her message to her family was 'Go, fight, win".

In honor of her daughter's fighting spirit, her mum, Patricia Blanc, created Imagine for Margo, an association that fundraises for child cancer research. Since its inception in 2011, Imagine for Margo has distributed over 20 Million Euros to supporting 51 research initiatives across France and Europe aimed at advancing the fight against childhood cancer. Imagine for Margo has given a purpose to Patricia's life. She embodies her daughter's fighting spirit and continues the battle to help other children and their families both prevent cancer's wrath and care for their emotional, physical and mental wellness.

Patricia speaks warmly when she tells you she will never stop until all children are cured of cancer. Patricia's warrior spirit evokes a sense of peace and purpose. Through the association, Patricia honors her daughter's life. I believe Patricia herself should also be celebrated. It takes an exceptional human being to take her own suffering and turn it into such a tremendously impactful act of service for others.

Patricia is a compassionate woman warrior.

wellness woman warrior


Like these women, we are all fighting inner battles others don't know about. Regardless of the level of strength, resilience, compassion, and courage you demonstrate, know that you also have a warrior spirit in you. Find ways to turn your energy, your anger, your grief into acts that improve your own wellness. Be inspired by the stories of these women warriors. Gift your newfound warrior spirit to enrich the lives of those around you and by default, empower others to do the same. Above all, don't hesitate to bring your creative self when honoring your warrior spirit, like our calendar, whose sales during our amateur theatre production, gathered 10 000 Euros for Imagine for Margo. Tiny impact is just as important as profound changes to the world. A single act of compassion for the wellness of others can create a ripple effect, having far-reaching influence, much like as a single drop can create expanding wavelets across the water.


Giving to others can lead to increased happiness and satisfaction with life. The act of giving activates areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, leading to a "helper's high" that boosts mood and overall wellness.

If you'd like to donate to these associations, just click below:


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