It feels a little ‘unstylish’ for lack of a better word to be writing about motherhood just as the ultimate celebration of fatherhood looms front and center. But, what can I say…this is what’s on my mind.
In contemplating what motherhood has been and continues to mean in my life, I wonder whether it is most appropriately defined as a noun or a verb? Is mothering merely a biological function which allowed me to carry life within my womb and sustain it through child birth?
Or is it more aptly described in the context of mothering?Â As descriptive of the ongoing nourishment of life that transforms the giver and the receiver in much the same way that the physical stretching of the skin confirms the fact that something has happened within one’s body.Â A processÂ which has placed it’s one peculiar branding of ownership… guaranteeing that one will never be the same.
The success of motherhood may be highly dependent on some factors which are totally outside of a woman’s control. Take for instance….where one becomes a mother. Where one becomes a mother determines many things about the success of the process. If a woman is fortunate to enter into motherhood while living in a Scandinavian country, a 2006~ 2007 report by Save the Children indicates that she has done so in the best place in the world!
The worst place to become a new mama according to the report is the sub Saharan African continent. Incidentally, the place of my birth. In a cruelly unforgiving way, grim statistics indicate that being a mom in sub Saharan Africa, may literally entail a brush with death; either within the process of pregnancy or through the miracle that is entailed when bringing forth an emerging new life.
Every minute, someone on the planet is literally putting her life on the line to become a new mom. It is a fact. Every minute in time, a woman meets her death as she struggles to bring forth life.
The chances of survival to the one year birthday are equally stark….2 Million newborns will die on the day they are born and even more before they reach their first birthday.
But, what is most striking is that 6 of the 10 Million children who die every year could easily be saved by preventing the conditions which kill them in the first place. Prevention which involves clean water, proper sanitation and vaccinations.
This does not have to be expensive. There are many wonderful organizations around the world who are doing their part to mitigate this vale of tears which shrouds the joy of motherhood in so much suffering for women and children around the world. One such organization is Save the Children, an organization dedicated to helping people in some of the world’s most difficult circumstances.
I think that the highest use and definition of the word motherhood is in life giving action. The action of sustaining, caring and loving life. The action of fighting for the rights of those who cannot yet defend themselves. The action of giving of one’s self sacrificially for the welfare of another. Motherhood is not mere physical activity, its’ highest calling is the embrace of the enduring spirit of courage, strength and grace which resides in women from every tribe, people, race and tongue. A spirit which celebrates life even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.