The tears rolled from my cheeks. Heavy, thick sobs that could no longer be hidden as my body shook with each contraction. There wasn’t much space to breathe, nowhere to escape, and the emotion of the moment caught up with me.
My midwife, whom I’ve trusted so many times, came over and whispered if it was the pain and asked if she could help me, the soon-to-be mother again sobbing in the hospital as I sat on a mint-green birthing ball while the mid-afternoon sun danced through the blinds.
I’m just overwhelmed with emotion.
That was my hushed, in-between-contraction reply. It wasn’t the pain in that moment, though it really could have been, but it was this deep core of emotion of becoming a mother again.
With each contraction rise, as my belly became taut, the tears continued to pour and with them the words, a simple song over and over again, “Thank you for Samuel.”
He was my son. And I was waiting for him to arrive.
Sometimes I wonder.
I wonder about those mothers I see on the Compassion site. I wonder about them and their journeys to motherhood.
I wonder about them laboring and if the tears fell just like mine, rolling down their faces and forming puddles on their shirts.
I wonder about the times when they open their doors and welcome children in and become mom and don’t worry about the food to provide but rather open their hearts and homes. I wonder about the mother of the little one at the top of the Compassion Blog, drinking water — safe water — from the faucet.
I don’t wonder what I can teach her. Instead, I wonder what she can teach me.
What can I learn if I were to sit in her room, with my hands in her hands and the unbreakable bond of motherhood shared?
What can she teach me about joy?
About life? About tenacity? About motherhood? About what it is to live in poverty?
What can she tell me that I can then share with you about her?
I can’t imagine her world, but I want to learn, to understand, and to simply be with her, sharing that bond between women of loving a child who calls us mom.
What can she teach me?
My world is so mixed with lattes and soccer and worrying about the rips on my couch downstairs or what color of pansies to buy in the spring that sometimes I miss out on seeing and remembering those moments when the contractions ripped through my body and the rawness of motherhood was in front of me.
I become so busy and worried about picking up Gatorade at the store or flavor enhancers for water that I forget about mothers all over the world who just want, and just need, clean water for their children.
But I want to remember. I want to learn about life, joy, and what it really means in her world to be a mother. I want to learn about the bonds we share — be it beaming with pride when they take their first steps, or dealing with a sick child and feeling your heart ache but still fighting. I don’t want it to be about me in those moments — I want it to be about us — mothers separated by miles and miles and vast swatches of ocean but sharing that deep bond of loving a child.
Sometimes on Mother’s Day I get caught up in the race of my world. Not wanting to go out to eat because I don’t want to worry about what to wear. Wanting to go get flowers and to spend money on things that are just decorations.
What can I learn?
What can I do to be a voice for the mother of the child who is sold into slavery at age 8? Here I worry about whether soccer cleats will last another year, and she worries about the day when a man walks through her door and takes her daughter from her arms. What can I do to help?
How can I live life remembering?
We share this bond, this motherhood bond. We share the moments of struggling with defiant 2-year-olds and we share the agony of labor as it rips through our bodies. But I am spoiled. I forget it, really.
Until moments like this January, when my son Samuel sat in the hospital for six days as influenza ravaged his body and the doctor looked up at me and said,
“… he would have died if he had lived in a third-world country. Children just like him die from this every single day.”
I looked at my son — his little body burning with fever, an IV pushed into his hand, the monitors hooked up to show the constant blip of his heart that was finally not racing — and again, tears filled my eyes.
And tears for the mothers in the world whose children didn’t have access to care like this. Tears for those mothers who held their babies close to their chests and pleaded for their heart to slow, for the fever to leave, for the infection to be gone.
Those mothers. Those are the mothers who, on this Mother’s Day in America, I want to remember and honor and write about. I want to remember those mothers who labor from dusk to dawn and work to put food on their table and pray that their children are safe.
I don’t want to be too comfortable. Those pansies and geraniums and impatiens could mean the difference between my front yard looking like it’s keeping up with the hypothetical Jones family and another child being clothed. Safe from slavery. Getting an education. Drinking safe water.
So on Mother’s Day I want to be a voice. I write about mothers and celebrating motherhood and pulling up your bootstraps in motherhood. That’s my heart. And part of that heart means not being silent and remembering those mothers who are, right now, raising their children in poverty that I cannot imagine.
We don’t talk much about it, it’s not that comfortable, and it makes us question the latte in our hands. Don’t not get the latte. But don’t forget about those mothers.
Let’s talk about it. Let’s be a voice that makes a difference. Let’s support those mothers. Let’s remember their children.
Today I stand in support of the mothers of this world. To the mothers who give and try and go without and bend on their knees in prayer. To the mothers who love their children and dream of the best for them. To mothers.
Please. Please join me. Be a voice of Compassion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Martin is passionate about motherhood, intentional living, and living an authentic joy-filled life. You can find her writing on her blog, Finding Joy or connect with her on Twitter.
This is post is connected to an official assignment for the Compassion Bloggers Network. Interested in joining the team? Learn more about how you can use your blogging influence to speak-up on behalf of children in poverty.