Global Mamas: Brazil

Monday, June 4, 2012

We’re profiling one mother from every country on the planet. (Current tally: 15 down, 177 countries to go!)


Meet 31-year-old Iovanna Gico Roller. She came to us by way of another mama who lives in Brooklyn, (definitely one of the most Global cities on earth). Iovanna’s 1.5-year-old son Lucca entered the picture as she planned for another big moment in life, changing her for the better.

Here’s her story …

Photo by Iovanna Gico Roller

Life before baby …
I never saw myself as a mother. Didn’t really have the time to think about. I knew I would have babies, but that was “someday.” My attention was on being good career woman: efficient, smart, making lots of money. My dreams were about the huge house and international travels. In my family, the running joke was that I would end up being the party-crazy aunt who gives her nieces and nephews strange toys from around the world.

All that changed, in a crazy way, on November 7, 2010.

In January 2010, my husband-to-be took me to Paris as a gift. He proposed there! It was a big surprise. Everything was as beautiful and perfect as any girl could dream. I got back to Brazil and started to plan my wedding. Since, I worked for Vera Wang, I had to have the wedding! Kate Middleton would bite herself, after she saw my wedding. Ha!

Suddenly, I notice myself crying all the time. I couldn’t see any silly commercial without crying. The reason? I was pregnant.

Chosen Flowers — Canceled

Beauty Salon Reserved — Canceled

Everything… Canceled

But I wasn’t completely devastated. Well, part of me was sad about the canceled wedding plan, but then I thought: another Iovanna was coming to the world. A better one! A less selfish, less materialist one. One with a baby who will truly understand the real meaning of LIFE.

My ideas about motherhood …
My plan for babies was to have two of them, starting around the age of 33 when I had my career and house all set up. But our plans are not God’s plan, so I got pregnant when I was 29. Not too far off!

Then came baby …
I fell in love with the idea of having a baby about a week after I found out I pregnant. But when I gave birth, I was kind of tense that first week.  The only thing i could think of was whether I would have the money to give him a good life.

I think I changed a lot. I became more gentle, more focused on important things.

The most challenging part of motherhood …
No sleep!

I also struggle with this weird feeling whenever I watch bad news on TV. I start thinking too much about all of that and pray that nothing bad happens to my child.

On balancing work and life …
For three years I’ve been studying to get a better job here in Brazil. If you want to work for the government, you must take an exam competing with the whole country. It’s something like 1,000 people applying — competing — for one place. Very hard to pass, but once you get in, no worries for the rest of your life.

I got pregnant in the middle of my studies. So I had to stop for some months. Now I’m  back to my routine: 10 hours/day of study. I had to hire a babysitter to be with my son. It is terrible, because I only have couple of hours a day to play with him. But to give hime the best quality life, I have to work a lot.

The best part about raising a child in Brazil …
When it comes to raising a child, I believe in Dorothy (from The Wizard of Oz)’s philosophy: “There is no place like home.” Here, my son has contact with nature, lots of open space and his entire family. We have good schools (not public, for sure), no fast food (at least it’s not part of our habit) and it is financially possible to hire somebody to take care of the house.

The parts I wish were different …
There’s a lot of violence in Brazil, and we don’t have good public school or transportation. In general, it is more expensive to raise a child in Brazil than the States — at least if you want to give the same quality of life.

If we could jump into the DeLorean and race back in time …
I would tell myself, “Make more movies of this child! And enjoy every second, because time flys far too quickly.”


We’ve got over 170 countries to go (yeah, whoa.). So if you would like to nominate a mother who is living and raising a family abroad to be featured on MMM’s Global Mamas series, do let us know! Drop a line to: get[dot]msmack[at]gmail[dot]com.

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