Motherhood. A journey that for some comes unexpected, for others arrives after great planning, for others still the baby is an answer to many years of silent prayers. Whatever the path you walk to have a baby once that baby arrives the real journey begins. This child comes with no instructions, no manual of how to be all they will call for you to be. Whether the new mother feels ready and prepared or nervous and unsure the role of motherhood has begun.
So imagine for a moment if alongside all those feelings of apprehension and inadequacy you may feel, you also have to face a reality of being a mother surrounded by extreme poverty, poor sanitation, no running water, or basic necessities. Imagine holding your baby not knowing if they will survive or how you will keep them safe, knowing to feed and clothe them you will choose to not eat or stay warm. Motherhood in a developing nation is not only herd it is at times all too hard to bear.
No mother wants to see her baby cry with a hunger she can’t fix, or raise her child in an environment with little or no education. No mother wants to send her child miles to fetch a little water or have them use the streets as their bathroom. There isn’t a mother in the world who wants their child to play outside amongst sewage. Yet that is the reality for so many women you and I may never meet but, just like you and I, they are mothers trying to do all they can for the ones they love.
I sat alongside one such mother in the slums of Kibera, Kenya on a trip with Compassion. I sat in her mud hut with no water or electricity, no toilets or basic provisions and listened as she began to tell me about the way she had struggled alone to raise her children. As we sat on a small mat in her home we held hands and shared tears as she told me of her struggle to survive. This mother, just like you and I, wanted to be able to see her children flourish, educated and happy, healthy and safe. We shared the same dreams for our children and yet we were born into such very different environments.
Visiting a Compassion project.
However thanks to the work of Compassion, she was now able to see hope on the horizon as one of her children had been sponsored into the Compassion project. She took me to the project in the middle of the slums. It stood as an oasis of light in the midst of darkness. As we entered, her smile radiated. Inside this enclosure, her child was being fed, taught, loved and trained and she knew when it became her child’s turn to be a mother she would have a different story to tell.
Through Compassion, she had realised she was not alone when another family had reached out through sponsorship to help build her family. They had not only rescued a child but they had restored dignity and hope to this mother.
With tears in her eyes she told me, ‘What they did for my child they did for me.’ So this Mother’s Day, I want to ask you to help a mother just like the many I met in Kenya. Let us be the ones who come alongside those who feel isolated and alone and let them know we care. As a mother myself, I can’t think of a better gift to give than the gift of hope to another mother.
Bring hope to another mother by speaking up for children in poverty>
Charlotte is an author, speaker, pastor and mother, she leads Life Church in England with her husband Steve and together they have two children, Hope Cherish and Noah Brave. She tweets at @charlgambill.
This blog was originally posted in 2015.