Today is mother’s day and while I bask in the glow of my children, I can’t help but remember the mothers around the world who can’t engage in that luxury.
For those mothers in societies where “if he loves you, he beats you” is an old adage that has become an acceptable contradiction in terms, I cringe for you. For the 2.6 million still births we still record around this globe for lack of basic prenatal care, the half a million maternal deaths during child birth that is by all accounts an underestimation, and for the millions of mothers whose infants die before they reach 12 months or the other million whos children don’t make it to age 5 for lack of food, or for bitter circumstances of abuse and neglect, or even preventable accidents from open fire pits for cookstoves, I mourn your loss.
Today in a world of plenty, we still preside over a scarcity of basic staples for the sound existence of so many around the world. In a world that boasts technology that can spread information around the world in real-time, we still accept the truth that women and girls around the world are denied a basic education. For a populous proud of its civility we are willing to turn a blind eye to abject abuse in the name of gender that robs girls of their youth and women of their lives in the name of honor. And while we engage in the beautiful ritual of mother’s day brunches and plentiful tables full of food, family and friends to celebrate the joys of life, there will be mothers around the globe today that will toil over a hot stove to prepare a sparse meal of rancid food, to feed multiple mouths of children they love, but likely conceived without a plan, and without a choice.
In a 21st century world where advancements in some parts of the world make life look like a bit sci-fi at times, let’s not forget that in many parts of this world we all share, life still takes place amid dusty roads, barren floors, and flimsy shacks for a home where running water and flowing electricity have never been a reality. By the same token family planning is a non-starter and motherhood descends on a young girl’s life almost as early as her menstrual cycle. There are no flowers and bright colored projects from school that come home on Mother’s day. There are no pretty cards with pre-printed messages of love and gratitude, or breakfasts in bed carried in with the help of a loving husband. There are chores to be done, people to be served, hard labor to be toiled through before the end of yet another day in the life of the average woman in wide swaths of underprivileged earth.
Education, awareness and the acceptance of universal rights which include autonomy for women and respect for children (namely girls) are non-starters and the average life expectancy of a woman can be as low as 40. So today, sip on your champagne of choice, revel in the froth of your latte after a good brunch, then resolve to come home and find a charity or an organization that helps women in need somewhere in the world – and support them. Perhaps just this once, or perhaps on an ongoing basis, support women by giving either your time or your money or your thoughts and help change the tide for women.
There are an unfathomable number of mothers around the world that desperately need the most basic of things, many of which we often take for granted. On this day, don’t forget them. Help empower them. Remember that humanity requires engagement.
Here are some suggestions:
Happy Mother’s Day…