Marie Mongan, Who Developed Hypnotherapy for Childbirth, Dies at 86

Afterward, she said, she received almost 5,000 calls and emails. The Boston Globe reported that her book, “flew out of stock” in nine weeks.

Marie Madeline Flanagan, who went by Mickey, was born in San Diego on Feb. 1, 1933, to Marie and Patrick Flanagan. Her mother was a seamstress, and her father was a Navy chief petty officer who became a foreman at a fabric mill after the family moved to Franklin, N.H.

Mickey married her high school sweetheart, Gerald Bilodeau, in 1954 and graduated from what is now Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She then taught English at the high school she had attended.

The couple divorced in 1966. In 1970 she married Eugene Mongan, who died in 2013. In addition to Ms. Geddes, Ms. Mongan is survived by her three other children, Wayne Flanagan, Brian Kelly and Shawn Mongan; three stepchildren, Michelle Shoemaker, Steve Mongan and Nancy Kelley; 17 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Before her name became associated with hypnobirthing, Ms. Mongan had been dean of Pierce College for Women in Concord, N.H., appointed in 1965. It closed in 1972. Six years she later received a master’s degree in education from Plymouth State. In Concord she opened the Thomas Secretarial School, which is no longer in existence.

Her hypnobirthing classes led her to create the HypnoBirthing Institute, now HypnoBirthing International, based in Pembroke, N.H., of which Ms. Geddes is the chief executive. The organization has trained and certified doctors, doulas, midwives and laypeople to become hypnobirth educators in 46 countries, said Vivian Keeler, a chiropractor and doula who is the president of HypnoBirthing International.

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Meghan Highlights Depression in Pregnancy, an Overlooked Danger

Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan and Harry has clearly become a spark for international discussions about racism and the state of Britain’s royal family. And it has brought new attention to another issue as well.

Meghan’s revelation of her mental anguish during and after her first pregnancy, including thoughts of suicide so significant that she feared being left alone — and that the palace had been a barrier to the help she needed — sounded painfully familiar for many.

The experience of life-threatening pregnancy complications, mental as well as physical, is strikingly common. If it has not happened to you, it has almost certainly happened to someone you care about, though you may not know it.

Twitter was soon filled with people sharing their own stories of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts during and after pregnancy.

2017 survey of 1,000 British women, nearly 50 percent of respondents reported experiencing a mental or emotional problem, but half of these had not had this problem identified by a health professional.

Meghan did not say whether she had been diagnosed with peripartum depression or any other condition. But experts increasingly advocate extending specialist care to women who experience serious distress during or after pregnancy, whether or not they fit a specific diagnosis.

“Some researchers have suggested that we should, rather than looking at particular diagnostic categories, refer instead to ‘perinatal distress’ to encompass the complexity of the difficulties experienced at this time,” Dr. Svanberg said.

The stakes, after all, are extremely high. Pregnant people risk stroke, hemorrhage, infection and other complications that can be deadly for parent and baby. But mental distress is one of the most serious risks of all. In developed countries, suicide “is a leading cause of death in the perinatal period (The leading cause of death in 2003),” Dr. Svanberg wrote.

Discussions of pregnancy and mental health often focus on pregnancy hormones’ effect on mood. But while that is a factor, there is substantial evidence that other stressors play a role as well — so much so that approximately 10 percent of fathers also experience postpartum depression.

four times higher than for white women, and studies have shown that medical workers tend to underestimate Black women’s pain during birth, which can deprive them of the medication and care they need.

The popular image of pregnancy as something happy and straightforward, troubled only by cute problems like wanting to put pickles on ice cream, or brief ones like a painful natural delivery, can mean that those who have more difficult pregnancies can face stigma and dismissal if they ask for help.

“At the root of barriers to maternal mental health care are gender stereotypes that promote the idea that women should be ‘self-sacrificing mothers,’ who ought to prioritize the purported needs of their families and children even over their own survival and well-being,” said Ms. Shah, who has worked on reproductive and maternity rights issues around the globe. “These stereotypes lead to stigmatization of health care for pregnant women or mothers who experience depression or anxiety, rather than only joy or contentment.”

“There is also an assignation of blame, that there must be something wrong in what we are doing if we are not feeling 100 percent,” Dr. Agarwal said. “Women are also made to feel guilty about being frail, overemotional and nervy.”

Although some in the British news media have criticized Meghan for claiming victimhood despite her wealth and privilege, many of those with more firsthand experience saw her story as a sign that these problems could happen to anyone, no matter the circumstances.

Ms. Molyneux said that she was moved to hear Meghan speak so frankly during the interview. “I felt a big wave of relief wash over me to see this incredibly accomplished person admit she’d had mental health struggles,” she said.

“For people who are less privileged than me, women in jobs where it’s less safe to admit you are struggling, they can point to this person who has wealth and privilege — a literal duchess — and say, ‘This isn’t my fault, it can happen to anyone, and I need help.’”

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Volleyball Player Lost Her Job Over Pregnancy. Now She’s Fighting Back.

ROME — When the Italian volleyball player Lara Lugli got pregnant, she knew she would lose her job.

But when her club refused a request for some pay she claimed was owed to her, she brought a lawsuit. The club responded by accusing her of causing financial damage and ruining her team’s season, and she decided to speak out.

She denounced her treatment on Facebook on Sunday, triggering outrage across Italy and a national conversation that was a long time coming. Her case was a call to action in a country where many paid female athletes have lacked legal protections against discrimination for decades, and where all too often women must still choose between motherhood or jobs.

“Comparing a pregnancy to bad behavior is simply so low,” said Ms. Lugli, now 41. “This is not something just about me.”

Credit…via Lara Lugli

Her case reflects a broader gender inequality in Italian sports, entrenched in deeply rooted stereotypes in a country that ranks 76th in the world in terms of gender gap, according to the World Economic Forum.

Facebook Wednesday that the fact women must choose between motherhood and work “forces them into inequality,” and is a situation that Italian women can no longer tolerate.

the United States and Norway — maternity clauses would most likely be impossible to impose, Ms. Tortorella said.

promised to not financially penalize its sponsored athletes who become pregnant, after its handling of the issue had been criticized. A few months ago, FIFA, the international governing body of soccer, made it mandatory to guarantee maternity leave for at least 14 weeks for professional women soccer players.

But because of the lack of public attention, political interest and funding for women’s volleyball, offering professional contracts would be a fatal blow to the clubs’ finances, the president of the Women Volleyball League has said.

a recent study. Overall, 72 percent of athletes in Italy are men, while only 28 percent are women, according to the Italian National Olympic committee.

“It is a partly a cultural problem, and that is clear,” said Luisa Rizzitelli, the president of Assist, the national association of women athletes. But it also reflects a lack of political will to invert the trend.

“Women in sports need to be allowed to have protections if they become mothers,” she added. “In 2021, this simply is no longer acceptable.”

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Underage Marriage Set to Rise as Covid-19 Crushes Dreams

RAPTI SONARI, Nepal — Sapana dreamed of becoming a government official. Each night, in her hut along a bumpy dirt road, the 17-year-old lit a single solar-powered bulb dangling from the ceiling and hit the books, plotting out a future much different than her mother’s.

But as the coronavirus crept across Nepal, closing the schools, Sapana lost focus. Stuck in her village with little to do, she struck up a friendship with an out-of-work laborer.

They fell in love. Soon they married. Now, Sapana has given up her professional dreams, with no plans to return to school.

“Things might have been different if I hadn’t discontinued my studies,” Sapana said recently, as she sat breastfeeding her 2-month-old son on the floor of her simple home. Her family name was withheld to protect her privacy.

Child marriage is increasing at alarming levels in many places, the United Nations says, and the coronavirus pandemic is reversing years of hard-earned progress toward keeping young women in school.

In a report released on Monday, the United Nations Children’s Fund predicted that an additional 10 million girls this decade will be at risk of child marriage, defined as a union before the age of 18. Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, said that “Covid-19 has made an already difficult situation for millions of girls even worse.”

forced by parents or other authority figures into marriage with older men. But child advocates also worry about the young women who, because of the pandemic’s impact, are drifting away from school and see early marriage as their only option, abandoning ambitions for an education and a better life.

Many child marriages are never registered. UNICEF estimates that 650 million girls and women alive today were married in childhood. Child advocates say they are seeing an upsurge in places where it has long been a problem, such as India, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi, where teen pregnancies in some areas have tripled.

In Nepal, where the legal age for marriage is 20, the situation seems especially acute. Interlocking problems particular to the country and this moment make it difficult for many young women to avoid early marriage.

One of Asia’s poorest nations, Nepal relies on remittances and tourism. The pandemic has devastated both. Usually, at this time of year, foreign tourists head for the mountains to begin expensive treks into the Annapurna Range and up the slopes of Mount Everest. This year, the money that flows from them into so many layers of Nepal’s economy has all but dried up.

In 2019, Nepal earned $8.25 billion from foreign remittances. But with most of the world’s economies hurting, that remittance stream has also dwindled. Legions of young Nepali men, many of them single, have recently returned home.

Many others have lost their jobs in Nepal’s cities. A great number of young men now roam around their mountainside villages, bored and broke. That was how Sapana met her husband, Hardas.

Hardas, who said he was around 20, used to work as a traveling mason, often in cities such as Kathmandu and Nepalgunj. But after he was laid off in April, at the beginning of the pandemic, he came back to his native Rapti Sonari, a small town of about 10,000 people, 300 miles west of Kathmandu.

The houses are spread out in a maze of dirt roads beneath the hills. Most are made from mud and stone. Sapana’s father, Ram Dayal, bought an auto rickshaw right before the lockdown hit. Now he has monthly payments of 30,000 rupees, around $250, and almost no customers.

Mr. Dayal was not happy that his daughter married so young, but he conceded that her leaving the house helped ease his financial burden. He has five other mouths to feed.

“She would have had a better life if she completed 10th grade,” Mr. Dayal said.

Ghumni, his wife and Sapana’s mother, agreed. She, too, was a child bride and ended up with four children and zero education.

Activists who fight child marriage say they are working in the most difficult conditions they have ever faced, even as the problem worsens. Nepal has imposed harsh restrictions on vehicular movement. When infections surged, activists were confined indoors like everybody else. Several said that the number of child marriages in their areas had doubled or nearly doubled during the pandemic.

“We are at back to square one,” said Hira Khatri, an anti-child-marriage activist in the district that includes Rapti Sonari.

Two years ago, Ms. Khatri said, she intervened and stopped seven child marriages in her village. It did not make her popular. Many families in Nepal are eager to marry off their young daughters. Some villagers threatened to kill her, Ms. Khatri said, and they threw used condoms outside her house to humiliate her.

The police have not been much help. The officers based in villages have been much more focused on enforcing quarantine rules and keeping an eye on virus cases. Some police officials expressed a reluctance to get involved.

“These are serious criminal charges,” said Om Bahadur Rana, a police official in Nepalgunj. “If we file a case because of a child marriage, it could hurt the young people’s chance of ever getting a government job.”

Across central Nepal, many families shared stories of watching their daughters disappear into early marriages.

Mayawati, 17, who also lives in Rapti Sonari, dreamed of studying agriculture. But her family’s struggles during the pandemic made her feel guilty about being a burden to her parents. She dropped out of school, then married a man who worked as a menial laborer. Her dreams, too, have quietly slipped away.

“We have no money,” said Mayawati, whose last name was also withheld. “How was I supposed to continue my studies?”

Mayawati said that most of her friends who had married during the lockdown were now pregnant.

Some people in Nepal feel strongly about what they see as the benefits of child marriage. Several elders in the Madhesi community, based on the southern plains near the border of India, said they had falsified their daughters’ birth certificates to avoid getting in trouble.

“Marrying daughters in their young age has made me happier. It’s our practice,” said Mina Kondu, who said she recently doctored her 16-year-old daughter’s birth certificate, making her appear to be 19, which was still below the legal age but close enough, the family believed.

“The police cannot stop us,” she said.

Ms. Kondu, who lives in a village about three hours’ drive from Sapana’s, said that if the families didn’t arrange for their daughters to marry young, the daughters would do it anyway, without permission, and dishonor the family.

Sapana’s family has accepted her recent marriage. In the span of a couple months, Sapana has shifted from studying for school to taking care of her baby and her new husband.

She collects grass to feed the family’s four buffaloes.

She washes clothes.

She cooks rice and flat bread.

“I couldn’t complete my studies, that’s true,” she said. “My son will do that.”

And then she added, after a moment, “Hopefully, he will marry when he’s fully grown.”

Bhadra Sharma reported from Rapti Sonari, Nepal, and Jeffrey Gettleman from New Delhi.

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