“Good morning, it’s Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day darling” my husband said this morning, followed with a strong hug and a kiss. I did not say a thing. I did not want him to let go. My eyes filled up with tears. My throat choking with emotions. I felt safe in his arms, I also did not want him to see my tears. When he finally let go, I turned to head to the bathroom. I could cry there alone without him seeing. I could be me in my own emotions without worrying him. Even if for a few minutes. Unfortunately he caught my face before I left the bedroom. He said “it’s Mother’s Day, you should be happy”. I gave him a smile, as to say “I am” and left the room.
In the bathroom, I turned the shower on, it could make enough noise to conceal my crying. I stood in the bathroom and just let the water run. It was soothing and went down with each and every of my tears. I felt like I was cleaning up everything. The inside and the outside. It felt good for the moment. My mind however, did not enjoy this running down of the water and the tears. My mind was stuck and sorrowful. I had a million things in there. It was a whirlwind of thoughts. This is me every year for the last 17 years.
Nineteen and a half years ago I became a mom. It was great. I remember waking up after delivery to see my little bundle of joy. She was sleeping in the Nursery at the Nairobi Hospital. She was the prettiest girl I had ever seen all my life. She still is. As I admired this beauty God had given me, I notice she was all yellowish. I called the nurse and asked why her color was different from the other babies. They had not noticed, quickly the sent me out and called the pediatrician. I was to learn hours later that my baby had severe jaundice. That introduced us to the books of accounts of Nairobi Hospital for the next 3 weeks as my baby had to go through treatment. We could not afford my stay in hospital and so I got discharged and became a day scholar mom. I reported to the hospital every morning, spent the whole day there and went back home in the evening. Between expressing milk and more milk and talking to other moms with sick children, I did have some teary moments. Looking at my baby with tubes all over and a whole face bandaged to cover her eyes as she went through the light therapy treatment. It was nerve recking. A lot of people thought I had resumed work immediately after child birth.
My anxiety when I left the hospital praying that my baby gets well and in the morning as I run through the corridors to get a glimpse of her and see her was overwhelming. It is the first time I was so afraid of being robbed my motherhood. We were many and we consoled each other but that thought was inevitable. We all saw it in each others eyes. We wiped each others tears and always hugged for comfort and to say it will be well. My baby got well and we went home three weeks later. I was now a mom. I was a mother in every meaning of it. My first days were weird, I felt not good enough for the role and always questioned myself on almost everything I did for the her.
I quickly got the grips thanks to my mom and my mom in law and I was good to go. I enjoyed being a mom and after resuming work, I went home every lunch time and would leave early in the evening to beat the traffic and be home as early as I could. I did not let my nanny bath my child. I also breast fed my daughter for almost two years. I was a proud mom. The fear and the thought of being robbed my motherhood had long disappeared and was totally forgotten. I was happy, I was a mother. I celebrated three Mother’s Day but in the fourth one, a bitter divorce and nasty child custody robbed me everything. It robbed me my motherhood. The fourth Mother’s Day was both a painful and a joyous one. Painful because of all that was happening to the family and joyous because I was pregnant with my son.
That fourth year marked my being a mom for the second time and also my becoming a part time mother for the rest of my life. My motherhood was taken away. What followed was a series of bitter fights, exchanges, sleepless nights and endless tears. I became depressed, they called me a mad woman. I cried, I prayed till I could do no more of the two. I had to chose between destruction and restoration. I was already destroyed, destruction was not a choice. With the help of a good friend, I was able to walk the restoration path. A journey that included fighting for the kids custody in court for seven and a half years and eventually loosing. A journey that included chasing after my kids every weekend, a journey that included praying, crying and not seeing my kids for most of the weekends/months. But still I soldiered on. I chose to not give up. I chose to remain a mother no matter what.
You see, when we celebrate mother’s Day, we mostly forget those whose their children have gone, the angel parents (lost their children to death), through bitter and bad break ups, through nasty child custody, through painful divorce. All these are losses whose pain is felt. The society suffers the fear of bringing back the pain to these mothers and so they are mostly left out on Mother’s Day celebrations. How do you say Happy Mother’s Day to a angel mother, or a mother whose child she has not seen for ages or whose child she can never see? That by itself makes it difficult for the society to be inclusive of all mothers. For moms who have lost their children through death, it’s time to be reminded of the loss, of the painful experiences, of the painful separation with their children, it’s not a time of celebration. It is not any easier for mothers who have been separated with their children through bitter divorces and child custody battles. It is still no celebration time. But who is a mother? Who do we celebrate on Mother’s Day
But who is a mother? Who do we celebrate on Mother’s Day
Mother’s day is an event which is celebrated in different parts of the world to express regard, respect and love towards moms. The day is an occasion to respect the commitment of moms, recognize the efforts of maternal bonds and the role of mothers in our society. It is a day which makes people remember the importance and significance of mothers in their life and is observed as a day to give a special emphasis to the motherly figures around the world. But do we do this to the motherly figures or to Mothers??? I will let you be the judge of your own self.
On this Mother’s Day and every Mother’s Day, please be empathetic and sensitive by being a good friend on what could be a sad day to another Mother. Do not forget them, do not exclude them. Acknowledge their pain and accept their grief. If they want to talk, let them talk. Don’t shun them. Respect their rituals for this day. You can ask how they are feeling but don’t be pushy, if they want silence, grant them. Be creative on how you let your empathy known to them, don’t make them feel uncomfortable. Neither should you be uncomfortable. Pick the activities of the day well. Avoid places where families will be out celebrating with their children, those will rekindle painful memories and my be uncomfortable. You can ask for her involvement in planning so that you have her thoughts and feelings catered for from the word go. Nature is a good place to be check out places to visit like hikes, mountain climbing or a reserve.
Being supportive of loss mom’s on Mother’s Day and any other day is very important. Any expression of love to someone who has suffered a loss is well intended. I pray we all celebrate all the Mother’s on this Mother’s Day.
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY
Romans 12:15, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.”