(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 love...it 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.
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!