For the past four years, I have spent the lead up to Mother’s Day drinking copious amounts of re-heated coffee, phone attached to my ear whilst trying to get through the never-ending to-do lists that come with hosting a national event. The nervous energy of finalising last-minute logistics with hospitals and team leaders, doing press runs and packing parties was met in equal part with excitement and anticipation. I have had four fantastic Mother’s Days at four very different Mother’s Day Connect celebrations. I have tip-toed through labour wards, marvelled at miracle babies who arrived earth-side too soon. I have rubbed backs, seen newborns take their first breaths. I have witnessed women step bravely into the role of ‘mother’ and I have shed tears with women who have experienced the most devastating loss on a day that was meant to yield such joy. I have watched new friendships spark and quiet leaders emerge. I have beamed with pride as my own team, all mothers themselves, have stepped up and worked harder than could be reasonably expected of them, simply because they believe that other mothers matter. I have seen great compassion and skill from professionals who are undervalued, overworked and underpaid. I have seen miracles and experienced multiplied generosity, sacred sisterhood and radical kindness.
For the past four years, I have experienced a coming together of women in a unique and profound way. We have reclaimed Mother’s Day for ourselves and for our fellow sisters. To some, it may appear to be ‘just another gathering’, but to me it symbolises hope – that there is a different way to connect as fellow mothers, based on mutual respect, kindness and the willingness to listen and learn from each other.
For the past four years, mothers have shown up and inspired me. In the middle of a pandemic, with a very different Mother’s Day approaching, they continue to do so. Through the looking glass of the online world I see mothers I admire acknowledge their own fears whilst simultaneously continuing to work and school their children and keep their homes running. They hold heavy burdens but pause to ease the tension of their friends with a well-timed meme posted to their Facebook walls. They put their pride aside to ask for help. They brave this virus to continue supplying essential services. They sit dejected as their children refuse to listen, or sleep or eat the food they lovingly prepare for them. They rock small bodies on their laps and reassure with words they may not fully believe. If there is one small mercy for mothers as a result of this pandemic, I pray that its’ a deep acknowledgement of the role that mothers and mothering plays in our society. The world hasn’t stopped in lock down. The economy isn’t ruined. It ticks over in the stabilising force of mothers showing up for their families in their homes – doing important, life-affirming work to steady little children who will grow up to do great things.
This year will be different. I will be at home (probably in my pyjamas), snuggling my two little boys and wondering what I did to deserve to be their mother. I will, no doubt, miss our Mother’s Day Connect tradition but I will do my best enjoy the slower pace of the day and the opportunity to soak in the two little beings who make me a mother. I will try to take some time to reflect on all the incredible mothers in my life – message as many of them as I’m able – and acknowledge the profound effect they have had, and continue to have, on my motherhood journey.