My He(ART)-Full Life

Monday, May 9, 2011

motherhood has many voices

                                                         (baby Tara at 6 months old)
I became a mother pretty late in life; I turned 40 and delivered Tara all in the same month! For me, motherhood has been an empowering journey and a gift; unequaled. When I gave birth to Tara, I also (unknowingly at the time) birthed mySELF. I have never known such an unconditional both nourished and depleted me. I never knew such moments of utter helplessness... of strength and fragility all combined. Of vulnerability and invincibility. Some days I knew exactly what I was doing and then...everything changes and I am completely in the dark. The first year of motherhood  was an extremely intense time...both precious and precarious. Tim was away quite a bit (work related) and with no family or other support...I had to reach deep within mySELF and find those reserves of steel and knowledge that we all have. That first year was especially difficult because I had not yet learned to trust my own voice, my intuition and mothering instincts.
My 2nd year of motherhood was much easier in so many ways. It was a paring down of all the unnecessary elements in our lives. As much as possible...I now asked myself this one this person, event, place, memory, situation, relationship, thing...going to enable me to be a better mom to Tara or not. I focused more and more on being present.
 Being kind became much more important than knowing the answers and being "right". For me, motherhood continues to be a journey of the most magical kind. But this is my story; this is my voice.
There are many different voices and stories of motherhood and mothering. For so many many women around the world...motherhood presents far greater challenges and dangers. For so many women (and girls) motherhood is not even a choice they make but something that is forced upon them. They don't have adequate medical care, nutrition, birth control or resources.
                                                 (Image by Stephanie Sinclair/VII Network)
Here are a few stats:
*Worldwide, about one woman dies every minute in childbirth! Most of these deaths are preventable.
* Eight million children worldwide die before their fifth birthday. That is 22,000 a day, and most of these deaths are preventable as well. The worst child mortality rates exist in India, China, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 *In so many countries, millions of young girls (an estimated 60 million!!) are forced into arranged marriages and bear children before they are physically ready to do so. This puts mothers and babies at risk for everything from HIV to poverty to domestic abuse to death.
  (I am not sure where I got this pic from...but she is a child marrying a grown man!!!)
* In countries like India, women who give birth to girls are at risk for being murdered along with their babies.
I almost didn't write this post because...well, I don't want to put  a damper on all the rosy glow of Mother's Day. But I think it's important to acknowledge that mothering is not an empowering choice for many women. For so many women, it is not a choice at all.
To learn more...
*Every Mother Counts
*International Center for Research on Women
* V Day-help stop violence against girls and women
I would love to hear your comments!


Carola Bartz said...

Like you, I became a mother rather late in life - I was 38 (as ws my mother when she had me!). I had lots of insecurities as well, but I also quickly found out how different I was to all the younger moms. My closest friends today are "late" moms.
You are right, there are worldwide so many women and girls who do not have a choice at all, and we are not really aware of it. Or we take our choices for granted. And complain some more...
Thank you for this post, Soraya, it's important what you have to say here.

PatH said...

Soraya, thank you for speaking out. It is not easy to think about these things happening in the world (some closer than we think) and it takes courage to come out of our comfort zone and really look at them. And then, what do we do with our feelings of sadness and horror? Our sadness does not help others to be happier. I've thought about this quite a bit and the best answer I've found is to live our lives as best we can, enjoying what we have and being grateful and having compassion for others. We can choose to help others in some way. We can choose one cause or one person to help. Or even one little kindness in a day makes the world a better place. We can do a little bit.

kelly said...

I thought I responded to this post...? I just love that photo of you and Tara. It really shows how much you love each other. :)

Lis said...

Catching up ... and so glad I found this post. You beautifully described the experience of becoming a mother, growing into oneself and point out the importance of choosing that role and all that it entails. Such important stories you share ... I think it will be the fierce love of a mother that inspires action to aid our sisters/daughters/mothers ... we have the gift of our voices and you are using yours powerfully.

xo Lis