These strong mothers would do anything for their children. Living in poverty with limited access to health care, food and education, some of them have experienced devastating loss and pain. But they persevere for their families.
So in honor of Mother’s Day on May 9, let’s celebrate all the strong mothers around the world! Meet seven women who work hard for their children and nurture them fiercely. And when that isn’t quite enough, they know when to accept help.
Smriti, who works in the tea gardens of northern Bangladesh, became a strong mother very suddenly. Before Smriti could even get out the door to head to the hospital with her mother-in-law, baby Chalcio decided he was ready to come into the world. Smriti gave birth at home with only her mother-in-law by her side. “On the brighter side, recollecting the pain that I had to go through during childbirth,” Smriti says, “now it feels very rewarding to have my child in my hands.”
When Fabiola became pregnant with twins, the babies’ father abandoned her. Not long into the pregnancy, Fabiola’s mother died. As she arranged the funeral, she felt completely alone.
Between tears of grief and tears of joy, Fabiola welcomed Marvah and Marvens into the world. But six months later, they were on the verge of homelessness. The strong mother knew she needed to ask for help. She approached a local church that partners with Compassion, and the staff provided crucial food supplies to the hungry family — as well as a year’s worth of apartment rent!
Before she knew joy, Hadija knew little except pain and loss. Her first six children died in the womb or shortly after birth. A traditional healer in her rural community told her she was too lazy to push out the babies. It wasn’t until a church registered Hadija in Compassion’s Survival Program and took her to a hospital that she learned the truth: Her pelvis was too small for traditional delivery.
Today, Hadija and her husband are happily raising Moses and Loukiya thanks to two cesarean section deliveries. Hadija named Moses after the Survival staff who helped her.
Only months ago, 18-year-old Augusta was pregnant with her second son. She was also enduring domestic violence from the children’s father. Knowing that she, her unborn baby and her son were no longer safe, Augusta sought help from a church. “I didn’t know anything about God,” Augusta says. “I started to attend the church. Since then, there have been many changes in my life.”
Among the changes this strong mother has made was separating from her abusive husband. But that left her as the sole parent to the boys, ages 3 years and 8 months. “Before, my husband provided; now I have to provide.”
The staff at the church “taught me to make empanadas, which now I sell to earn enough money to support my children.” Augusta quietly gets up in the dark, letting her two children asleep. She silently grates chicken and prepares dough, glancing out at the sky as the sun begins to rise. “Because of my [empanada] stall, I can be at home with my children while I cook. Thanks to the Lord, people already know me and my empanadas.”
Adi did not give birth to Thomas, but she is most definitely his mother now. When Thomas, her nephew, was 4 weeks old, Adi found him abandoned on a blanket in her yard. His biological mother never returned. Unable to breastfeed him and unfamiliar with raising an infant, Adi fed Thomas porridge. By 7 months old, Thomas was severely malnourished and still looked like a newborn.
Desperate, Adi approached Compassion’s church partner for help. Thomas was rushed to intensive care, which saved his life. Adi eagerly began learning all she could about child health, nutrition and development from the church staff. With this strong mother’s help, Thomas has grown into a healthy and thriving boy.
“We grieved the loss of our first baby, who died of a skin infection when he was only 16 months old,” says Melissa. “When I found out that I was pregnant again, I rejoiced and praised the Lord.”
Through all their pain and happiness, Melissa and her children’s father have found spiritual healing and support through their church family. Their second baby, Enoc, was born in January 2020. When he was 4 months old, he contracted an infection that ended up requiring urgent surgery. The church helped the family pay for and arrange the successful operation. Today Enoc and Melissa are all smiles!
Florence, Burkina Faso
Florence couldn’t be more proud of her son Kader, who recently received a certificate from the president for academic excellence. Kader has been blind since age 5 after contracting a disease that robbed his eyesight. “I was powerless and felt desperate as I watched my son Kader have difficulties seeing from an early age.”
But this strong mother didn’t give in to her desperation. She continued to fight for the best for her son, seeking help from a church that partners with a school for blind children. Today Kader is a top student at the school. As his teacher Nana says: “Kader is a genius.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all the strong mothers who fight and persevere on behalf of their children. Learn how you can celebrate a special mom in your life by giving a life-changing gift to a family in poverty!