Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, a little late

I've done a lot of thinking in the past year about motherhood.  With a little one in my arms, or actually racing through our far-too-small apartment, I suppose that is natural.

But I've also been thinking about motherhood because Mapendo, Solange, Riziki, and Argentine all became first-time moms this past year.

With their high risk pregnancies, and all the challenges they have faced, I feel like I have been holding my breath all year.

Mapendo was the first to give birth.  When her son was born without any complications, we all celebrated. 

But then, in those following months, he got sick so many times.  And I think every parent can look at this picture of Mapendo in the hospital with her son, and know the feeling...the feeling of waiting, with your back against the wall, and hoping your little one will be ok. 

And then Solange's daughter arrived.  A fiesty little girl, full of life, just like her mama~


 And Then Riziki's son arrived 2 months premature.  And I spent countless hours wondering what 3 pounds feels (My daughter was born at 9 pounds!) 

And miraculously, after months in the hospital, Daniel,turned out just fine!  And with a very thankful mother!

And then the war escalated, and all these mamas had to flee with their little ones.  And I wondered what it feels like to sit with in a refugee camp with your baby in your arms.  
  And at the same time, I imagined how hard that cement floor in the refugee camp must have felt to Argentine, at 7 months pregnant (above, in the red hat).

But somehow, miraculously, we got Argentine out of the camp and into a good hospital.


And her daughter arrived, a stranger in a foreign land, yet incredibly healthy, and somehow, in the midst of it all, safe .

So I have spent much of this year, thinking about the joys and the traumas of motherhood.  The way that none of us can protect our little ones from all that exists in this world, and yet the ways that we try to.  Because when given the choice, we all will leave home and country, sleep on cold, hard floors, and carry all our possessions on our backs, if we believe for one second that it might buy our children even a little more safety.

But when I talk to the SHONA women, we don't usually talk about all of that.  We talk a lot about how Promese and Jonathan are learning to stand and walk.


 How Victori Rachel Ruth loves to eat!  How Daniel is feeling just fine.  About how my daughter, Claire, makes so much noise while we're trying to talk!  We talk about the challenges of childbirth and breastfeeding, and about how many clothes there are to wash now.

I wanted to write something about SHONA for Mother's Day.  Because so much of this past year for the SHONA women has indeed been about becoming mothers.  And, I might as well be honest, because Mother's Day would be a great marketing tie-in for SHONA.  But in case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit late on my marketing strategy.  All the flowers have been bought, and all the gifts given.

But then again maybe that is all beside the point.  All the mamas are still here, no matter what the date is.  And SHONA isn't so much about celebrating mothers for a day, but about empowering them for a lifetime.