It can happen for me at any given time or moment, but sometimes I have to remind myself of the women who influenced my life.
I thought it pertinent to blog thoughts out loud about what little I know of being a mother and the role and significance of women to nationhood. I won’t bore readers with the details of motherhood so much, as being a mother is no easy thing nor does it come with a manual.
We’ve all heard about a mothers pain during labor and not to mention the delivery (if pain meds were invovled OR NOT) and of course, the joys of motherhood that start with the first poop, first laugh — in fact the firsts of anything are all awesome and cute. Although the exception might be the poopy pants after a baby starts eating solids (trust me, there is nothing sexy about changing those diapers). In reality, as my mother once shared, “a mothers work is never done.”
Recently, a colleague and I had a discussion about our experience in our doctoral program. We have completed the 4th year of our program and it has been a challenging semester. As we heard other colleagues talk about their challenges as well, we shared our thoughts and encouragement. In that convo, we also found ourselves laughing at this experience relative to labor and delivery. Which is anything but funny, and not something one can laugh about during the actual event.
For those of you who have labored and delivered a baby, you know very well, this is no joke. In fact, it’s the one thing in the world we can honestly share in relation to motherhood. You can get a woman from France, an Indigenous woman from South Africa, a Navajo, Hopi, Lakota, Cree, Pawnee, or an Ainu woman, each from a different part of the world, yet the experience of labor and delivery can be shared. It is one of those experiences that we can never forget. And once we see the beautiful blessing after we’ve gotten past the labor/delivery, the pain is all worth it. Thereafter, post pardum healing and recovery begins.
In a world where women are subjected to sexism, media hype and popular culture’s misogyny, culture of rape, racism, and abuse, women can often times struggle to live in a society where hyper male masculinity is prevalent. Without emasculating men, it has become evident Indigenous women in these times carry a significant burden. Their roles center around family and community. Her strength and resilience is needed not only as a mother but as a woman.
In some cases, a woman serves in leadership roles whereas a century ago it was a male prominent role. In addition to that, women today continue to fight the good fight with the same spirit of our ancestors so that our children and their children, and their children’s children will survive. One might ask “what exactly is the good fight?”
As women of the world (for me as an Indigenous woman) I believe the good fight is centered around Indigenous women who fight as the heart of nations. Mothers are the womb known as “home” to our children. This last week I heard a mother state it is “because of love” that she did what she did in order to protect her child. As I reflected on that I understood without an explanation that mother bear feeling. Fierce and protective of her cubs, a mother bear, by any means necessary will protect her cubs.
While in reflection I also thought more about womanhood and how being a mother is sacred and our role is significant to nationhood. The way we carry ourselves on the daily is revealed in the choices/decisions we make whether it be work and personal relationships, volunteering, advocacy, drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, negligence, you name it, our choices as women affect our children, family, friends, and community at large. No matter what a woman chooses, its important that she also know her role and responsibility to herself. I learned more about being a mom through experience, not through a class. A truth revealed itself that helped me also see that I had women in my life growing up who influenced me. I look to them today and can honestly say they helped shape and mold me into who I am by their example.
Today I live my life as an example for my cubs. I look to the future knowing I live my life drug and alcohol free and seek wellness, but also made/make choices in their best interest. I am dedicating this to my cubs as a reminder that I would not be half the woman I am without them. They have helped me in more ways than one and it is my honor to be their mama.
Mothers Day is a nice day to acknowledge a mother, however everyday is Mothers Day. From the moment she rises to the moment she rests, her work is never done.