Motherhood means a lot of different things; it is so dynamic, that I would dare define it as a complex equation with no end. And it may be true, motherhood is continuous and is presented in different forms. Even when a child grows into their own, up to the end of life, the lessons and impact of motherhood remain.
It is a powerful force and a privilege to bring life into the world and to nurture it to maturity. It is even more powerful when the results of that maturity impact a whole community, or the world for that matter.
A unique aspect of motherhood is conversation, a lot of the time, especially in the African set up, motherhood is learned through day to day conversations with those who have gone ahead of you or are with you in the same journey.
Having had the privilege of meeting a number of incredible mothers, and seeing what motherhood means to them, it is so inspiring to see different people take on the same journey with grace.
Emma from Limuru, a mother of 3 says, “It means love, sacrifice and giving.I count it an honour and a privilege to bring up another person and in a way influence their lives.” This thing called impact is like the bedrock of it all. Imagine that whether there be a second caregiver for this child, the mother figure in most cases tends to be the one expected to be there most of the time, if not all the time.
It is a consuming role, one that requires an almost infinite amount of patience.
Emma continues, “As a person who was a perfectionist, they have given me lessons on really living, having fun and laughter.”
When going through motherhood, one can never really stop learning. In one season you can feel like you have it together and in the next it may feel like it’s all up in the air, but there seems to be a consistent flow of love through it all, especially where Consolata, a young mum of 2 is concerned. She says “Motherhood means love. To take care of the gift that God has entrusted in my arms. I have learned selflessness. Before being a mum I thought I was a generous person but then after, I realized you can always give more, you can always do more, that there is always more to give.”
Yet there comes that moment where a mother is heard saying that they are wiped out and they feel like everything in them has already been used and they have nothing left. Where does the strength come from then? To carry on bringing up a whole other human being, whilst still trying to grow yourself.
June, a civil servant and mother of one from Nairobi sums motherhood up by saying “Motherhood to me means total sacrifice. I never understood what it meant to sacrifice your time and resources, all for someone else until I became a mother.”
What June speaks of may be the secret to this strength, or perhaps it is staying true, to your child and to self. She shares, ” It’s not a one size fits all. I learnt that my child is unique and I am doing my best for them.
I have also learnt that it is okay to be vulnerable and talk about one’s journey while being a mother, that you don’t have to take everyone’s advice. Being the best mother your child needs doesn’t mean copying others, it means charting your own path for your individual child.”
Having a child in your life is a journey that definitely shifts your perspective and changes the way you think in a lot of ways.
For Susan, a homeschool teacher and mum of 3, motherhood is a gift and she makes sure to be deliberate in nurturing, teaching, and praying with and for her children. She says “Seeing everything or most things from each of my children’s point of view and understanding, I learn a lot from them.”
A mother is an imperfect creature trying to chart a perfect way for their little one – love, sacrifice, and daily intention are the driving force.
To those that have mothered in different ways, biologically or socially, we salute you. Happy Mother’s Day!