Mother’s Day 2022 Reflections
Everything everyone ever says about Motherhood is true. It’s the best, worst, most maddening, most euphoric, mind bending and monotonous thing any of us Womxn will ever do— all of it, all at once. If you want to know how I feel about being a Mother, watch the film — The Lost Daughter. It’s complex; and sums it up entirely without sugarcoating anything. I don’t have much uniqueness to add to the tome that’s already been written on Motherhood.
And yet, having worked for nearly a decade in many developing nations in sub-Saharan Africa, LAC and SE Asia, on Mother’s day, and indeed on many days of the week, I reflect on the incredible privilege of Motherhood. And I think about how Mothers the world over mostly have a really challenging life mothering. What do I mean?
I worry for the mothers who ration their own rice or ugali, so that their kids’ bellies won’t rumble. I cringe thinking of the HIV+ mothers I’ve seen, sobbing at the thought of passing down what they think is a death sentence in their blood. I’ve consoled helpless mothers whose children are acutely mal- or under-nourished fret with the deepest of furrowed brows. I’ve counseled moms whose girl children have been violated in the worst of ways. I’ve schemed with moms as to how to get water wells closer to their homes so they and their young children aren’t fetching water that is miles away. I’ve observed Moms considering which of their (girl) children they send to school when they can’t afford school fees. I’ve seen moms swatting flies away from their babies mouth and eyes, as they sit in a circle, lamenting with other women in their community how hard their lives are. I’ve sat with women in stone quarries, as they chip chip away — to earn a meager living so they can feed their family. I’ve watched women roll bead after paper bead, for the chance at a bank account, to build a microenterprise, that is their ticket out of extreme deprivation and poverty. I listened to (too many) women who didn’t want to have sex with their boyfriends or husbands, but felt every societal pressure to do so, and as hard as that situation was — then had beautiful children. I’ve held women’s hands as they coached their bodies thru sepsis from unsafe abortions.
And through it all, I’ve recognized and witnessed the remarkable resilience, fortitude, tough-as-nails tenacity and grit (not to mention humor, grace and humility) of innumerable Women.
Nowadays, I wear a bracelet made of fishing net on my wrist. It was gifted to me by my pal Donnett, who I met in Liberia in 2012. He was living in Robertsport, a world-class surf destination, where I met him on my weekend surfing expedition. He had just come from years of living in a refugee camp due to the Liberian civil war. He was most the most earnest, enterprising and kind-hearted kid I’d ever met. And after watching me on a beach in the early morning taking selfies, he sheepishly offered to help. Then he took me to meet his friends, taught me how to surf, and gifted me with these colorful fishnet bracelets he or his friends had made. My youngest bro has the other one, and I watch him wear it proudly as well.
The bracelet is a constant reminder to me (not that I need it) of my privilege to be a mother to two healthy girls, living in the USA. I will never NOT remember that.
I can’t remember what Donnett told me about his bio mom, but I do know that at the time, he was calling an American woman who had been remarkably helpful to him, his Mom.
So on this Mom’s Day, I’d encourage everyone to hug or thank a Mom. Do this as many time as possible, as fervently as possible! Women really are doing God’s work, all the world over.
And for those who are trying to be a Mom but can’t, don’t have the relationship you desire with your Mom, or lost your Mom — I’m wrapping you up in a huge Mom hug too. 💗
A photo roll of the people and places and that been an important part in my formation as a human and Mom: