Friday, May 6, 2011

On the Power of Mother

As I heaved over the toilet bowl, retching because there was nothing to bring up, I felt a warm hand on my brow. My mother. This twin pregnancy was taking its toll on me, on all of us, on mother. Having never experienced any kind of sickness with my previous pregnancies, this morning sickness was new and I have to say mine was all day sickness. Every morning I opened my eyes, I was convinced that I would be dead by the next day. Such was the misery I felt as I carried my twins. I was sick from the day I conceived till the day Shami and Tendo were pulled out of my body kicking and screaming. I was in a world of my own and felt so debilitated I just could not function. My mother took over the running of my household throughout the entire 36weeks gestation and long after the babies came.
 My mother cared for the other two children and made sure that the transformation of their mother from an energetic, lively, laughing being to a morbid, perpetually scowling recluse was bearable. Ninety percent of my time was spent in bed or on the couch. If I spoke it was to complain about my aching back or my pathetic state of inertia. The nausea was so distracting I could not read, write, listen to music or even smile. I felt as though everything I did exacerbated the impulse to regurgitate the contents of my stomach along with said stomach. My mother was always even keeled, consistently positive and consistently loving all of us. My husband found in my mother a valuable resource in trying to deal with this alien creature that his wife had mutated into. They formed a team in order to cope with the unpredictability of moods, dietary and emotional demands.
Looking back on our life with my mother as we grew up, it was the consistency of her being that I recall the most. Therefore you knew where you stood with her at any given time on any given day. This gave me the confidence to venture forth even as far away as Europe, with no idea what awaited me or what would happen next. The only assurance I had was that mother was there and it was all the assurance I needed to dare, to dream and to hope. I knew that if all else failed, Mother was there. I can therefore honestly say that I am who I am and where I am because of my mother. All that I have done has been done with the knowledge that there is one who loves me, has loved me and who knows me in a way no other human being can ever know me. The fact that there is one from whom I do not try to hide any part of myself because she already knows all there is to know, the good the bad and the ugly and loves me anyway, is what has birthed my own self belief and self acceptance. Her being gives me the audacity to be fully myself and even as I grow and evolve, I welcome the changes and the different facets of myself as they manifest, because I know they have already been loved and accepted by the one who gave birth to me. Not only did she physically give birth to me, but she has facilitated the birth of qualities that may have otherwise never have been allowed to flourish. I am like the three year old who jumps from a high place without fear or hesitation but with exhilaration and enthusiasm, because she knows that there are strong arms waiting to catch her and she will not fall. My mother is my safety net, my security blanket, the arms that will catch me if I fall. And if I fall, she is the one who will pick me up, dust me off and tell me to keep going.
This Mother’s Day, I will reflect on my own mother and all she has been and is to me. I will reflect on my own journey as the mother of four daughters, praying that I will be to them, what my own mother has been to me: The wind beneath my wings, the mirth behind my laughter, the wit within my humor, the resolve in all my decisions and the power in all my passions. Thank you Mother and happy mother’s day! Here is one of my favorite poems, which beautifully describes the power of Mother.
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World.
Blessings on the hand of women!
Angels guard its strength and grace,
In the palace, cottage, hovel,
Oh no matter the place;
Would that never storms assail it,
Rainbows ever gently curled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Infancy’s tender fountain,
Power may with beauty flow,
Mother’s first to guide the streamlets,
From them souls unresting grow-
Grow on for the good or evil,
Sunshine streamed or evil hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.

Blessings on the hand of women!
Fathers, sons and daughters cry,
And the sacred song is mingled
With the worship in the sky-
Mingles where no tempest darkens,
Rainbows evermore are hurled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world
(William Ross Wallace-1819-1881).


  1. Excellent Barbara, as usual.

  2. Nice one Barbara, your mom is truly blessed to have a daughter like you, and you, blessed to have her.