If you ask children, even most adults, who their heroes and heroines are, a majority of them will say their mothers without a second thought. This is not because fathers have not been responsible or they have not impacted their children as much as mothers. I actually do not have a reason why I would say my mother without blinking an eye if asked the same question. She has fought fights for me that only a mother could, she has counselled me gently yet firmly, she has loved me even when I was unlovely, she has sacrificed her beauty to make sure I am beautiful, she has had sleepless nights when I have been in trouble, she has prayed for me since I was born and she still prays for me, she has disciplined me with love, she has celebrated me and my achievements, she has cried with me when I have done foolish things that have wounded me, she has believed in me, in my values when no one else thought otherwise she has scraped her knees and blistered her hands fending for me, she has sacrificed her happiness so that I could be happy, she has let go of her dreams so I could cherish my own; the list is endless. This is what a mother daily chooses to do for her child since she is born.
I do not want to highlight my mother as such in this article; I want to celebrate those who have chosen life when Abortion was a very enticing idea. Those who have chosen to fight for life, when everything else pointed to gloom, who have chosen fight all the odds to bring forth a baby not knowing what the future holds.
In the recent past, I have read two stories of courageous women who actually banished the idea of abortion when its end was so beautiful to the eye. One lady fought the odds when her husband who is supposed to be a co-parent to this child denounced this child and told her that if she chose to bring forth this child to the world she will be sort of banished. She would remain hidden until the child is grown up. The parents in law who supported the decision of their son ensured that even during her pregnancy, her life would not be easy. So she had to endure all this and even when the child came, the father has only seen the child once. The mother stands relentless in the fight and loves her child. She is currently staying with her parents and keeps hoping her husband will come round to love this child. The other lady got pregnant while in campus and contemplated terminating this pregnancy because she had a whole future ahead of her, she had no job, final exams looming, a boyfriend with no job, and very harsh parents among other challenges. She chose to keep her baby and this brought with it its own challenges, like going with no food, living in a makeshift house with the boyfriend as they figure out how to live the next day, depending on friends to even food the purchase of child supplies among others. However, they managed against all odds and they are still living one day at a time trusting God to keep providing for them. Their child has never lacked. This is just among the few who actually fight it out for the sake of the innocent child.
Sex has two primary purposes which are not mutually exclusive; the unitive and the procreative functions. However our world today glorifies the unitive – in the wrong way in that it is self seeking selfish kind- and frustrates the procreative by its encouragement of safe sex and promotion of contraceptives. However since the functions are not mutually exclusive, and frustrating nature will never be very successful no matter how much we try, conception does occur many times. With conception is the beginning of a new life, unique and ordained to perform a purpose in this world. However, since most of the time the idea of pregnancy is overwhelming, even for the married and since we were not ready to bear the consequences of the procreative function of sex, we start entertaining the idea of abortion. The idea is made more appealing by the social pressures that are prevalent at the time. Am I ready for a child? What will parent say? I don’t have a job, how will I fend for this child? The baby daddy has denounced their child; I am just but a teenager and my parents will banish me; my husband wants no more children, what will he say when he finds out I am pregnant? I don’t want more children, the ones I have are enough; my career will take a dip; I am still in school; I have medical conditions that will not allow my womb to support this pregnancy; the child before him/her is still very young; with all these, the choice to abort becomes almost sealed.
Every time a woman gets pregnant, married or not, in school or not, with a well paying job or with none, the overwhelming feeling of- I am bringing forth a child who will depend on me for everything- hits her. I remember wondering every day in the first few months of my pregnancy if I will be good enough for my child. What kind of mother will I be? I am really ready for this? Well, many thoughts passed through my head really. Every time a woman gets pregnant she has to make a choice to let live or to let die. Every time a woman chooses to let live, she chooses to be a hero to the child she will bring forth. She chooses to fight all the social battles that being a parent brings forth. It is choosing to embrace the fact that Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind (Howard W. Hunter).
Accepting responsibility does not mean the other party will do the same; accepting responsibility does not mean it’s going to be easy; accepting responsibility does not mean it’s going to be all smiles. Parenting brings forth its own unique challenges with every child. Many people cite financial constraints as a main challenge, but that is just a tip of the iceberg. It means choosing to trust God to guide you as you bring forth this son or daughter of His. In Jeremiah, He declares before we were born He knew and consecrated us. Choosing responsibility implies co-parenting the child with God to fulfill that which he was created to accomplish. It is choosing to be a hero to this child, who when they are born, they look at you with all the trust no one can describe in words. As N.K. Jemisin says, ‘In a child’s eyes, a mother is a goddess’. They know that in your arms they are safe. Take a crying child and place it in the arms of its mother and shush, all is well in its world. It is choosing to let the child discover the world, first through your eyes, and when they are ready, through their own. It is choosing to let your heart beat outside of you and still survive. It is choosing to derive joy in seeing someone else smile, someone else achieve a milestone, someone else be happy, someone else derive courage in your eyes. It is choosing to let someone love you unconditionally and in that love you find satisfaction. It is knowing that someone else’s life matters more than your own, yet the knowledge does not make you less. It is choosing to let the small hands that touch you with love define your waking and sleeping moments.
We would want many things for our children as mothers, and one of them is not to suffer. Gary Thomas, in his book sacred parenting says that we should allow our children to suffer so that they may build character. Many of our fears towards parenting are born from the fact that we do not want our children to suffer, we do not want them to lack; we want them to have everything. Gary says it is letting them grow through all this that they appreciate life, sacrifice, value and character formation but most of all, they learn that there is world beyond their mother. There is the one who controls the universe; there is a God who walks daily with them in the wakes of life. They realize they have a father.
My country celebrates mashujaa day. They sacrificed their all and fought tooth and nail to secure our country’s independence. They dies so that we may live free. Today I choose to celebrate those mothers who against all the odds, choose to be the heroes of the one they would forever hold dear; their children. They choose to suffer to let their children live. They literally lay down their life for their children. I have listened to many mothers, young and old, talk about the challenges they have gone through. They have all had that smile that says, against all odds, we made it and look how fine my children turned out to be. I have listened to children of such women, and they all have had pride in their voices as they say, my mother is my hero. I raise my glass to the unsung heroes, happy mashujaa day! You are the heroes who define the character of the next generation. Someday, when your child will be old, she/he will look at you and say, mummy, you are my hero and the struggle will all be worth it in the end…