Mother’s Day is this coming weekend, which means that I will, this week, be thinking of something to do for my mom, and for my sister, and for other mothers that I love, and that I’ll be telling my husband to get me flowers instead of chocolates and maybe a reservation for a nice night out somewhere, and that I’ll be clearing a space on my desk for the inevitable happy onslaught of bespoke Mother’s Day cards from my children. And it means, too – or would mean, any other year – that I’ll publish a post or two about the awesomeness of mothers in general and the awesomeness of mothers in our virtual community in particular and lo, the warm fuzzies will be brought.
I’m not going to do that last thing this year. Not because I’m any less convinced of the awesomeness of motherhood and the awesomeness of our mothering community – if anything, I’m more convinced – but because this year, I want to deploy my mother-celebrating energies in a different direction. I want to celebrate the mothers that don’t have the same advantages that we have. I want to celebrate the mothers of these children. I want to celebrate mothers like Mammope.
I want to celebrate mothers like Margaret. Margaret mentors HIV positive mothers in Kenya. Margaret herself is HIV positive. Margaret underwent PMTCT (prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV) treatment when she was pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy who was HIV negative. Margaret’s son died when his father took him away to traditional healers. Margaret turned her grief into a passion to help other mothers, to be an example to other mothers, to be a mentor to other mothers.
This is her story:
Margaret’s message to mothers living with HIV is a powerful one, and one that is, I think, relevant to us all. If you are a mother, you are a mentor. You are an example. The stories that you tell, the community that you build, the examples that you set, the love that you share; it can make all the difference to another mom.
This week, I, along with a group of amazing mom bloggers who fully deserve the title ‘mentors’, am going to be posting stories from mothers like Margaret, because their stories are stories that are too rarely told, and because they are examples that we can and should all take inspiration from, and because we have the platforms on which to share those stories and celebrate those examples. Our blogs, for some of this week, will become their blogs. Throughout the week you’ll find their ‘posts’ at Dooce, at Alpha Mom, at Mom It Forward, at Mommy Niri, at Latism, at Love That Max, at MamaPundit, and elsewhere (stay tuned!), and we’d love for you to participate by helping us share their stories and spread their example. Tweet or post or send carrier pigeons!
We’re doing this to support mothers2mothers, an organization that I’ve mentioned here before. mothers2mothers has created an entire organization around the philosophy that if you support a mother, you can change the world. They train mothers like Margaret to be mentor mothers, and then employ them in that capacity, and in so doing they both empower these women and the women that they mentor, and they foster a culture – in Africa, and beyond – wherein the idea that supporting mothers, and mothers supporting mothers, is key to not only building a HIV-free world, but to building a better world in general. We want to celebrate them, and the mothers that they’ve empowered, and we want you to be inspired by their spirit. Consider making a dedication to a ‘mentor mother’ in your own life – a mother (maybe your own, maybe not) whose example and/or support and/or love have been important to sustaining and inspiring you in your own motherhood – at the mothers2mothers Tree Of Hope dedication page, or at your own blog or Facebook page, or all of the above. Just, you know, spread the love.
Because as Margaret says in the video, “it’s our prayer that you are going to be examples to others.” It’s my prayer, too.