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Ruta Mave: Cherish your mother, she created you

Monday 15 May 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion

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Ruta Mave: Cherish your mother, she created you
The focus of birthing a baby is not about how painful it is, it is about how strong the woman is. When the baby is born only then the woman becomes a mother, writes Ruta Mave. GETTY IMAGES/ 23051445

Motherhood is not easy, if it were, then fathers would do it, writes Ruta Mave.

Motherhood is a great honour and privilege, yet it is also synonymous with servanthood. Every day women are called upon to selflessly meet the needs of their families. Whether they are awake at night nursing a baby, spending their time and money on less-than-grateful teenagers, or preparing meals, mothers continuously put others before themselves. Selflessness is her mantra. When a woman has a baby, she no longer is the centre of her own universe – her baby is.

The focus of birthing a baby is not about how painful it is, it is about how strong the woman is. When the baby is born only then the woman becomes a mother.

A picture appeared on Facebook of a wooden board with ascending circles cut out of it spanning from 1cm up to 10cm diameter. The last circle had the perfect spiral of hair of a baby’s head in it and the caption read “his is 10cm dilated, buy your mother a gift and thank her”.

It was fascinating even for me because you know in your grey-matter recesses that is what dilation means but you certainly don’t want to visualise it. This was a much cleaner and quieter explanation that I was fascinated and went around measuring things to find what else is 10cm diameter. My coffee cup was 7cm, a box of milk 9cm wide, the ceramic sugar bowl lid 10cm and a large tin of dog food 10cm – ouch.

Motherhood is not easy, if it were, then fathers would do it, and guaranteed if a man had to dilate 10cm to push a can of chump out his rump then the world population would be much smaller with a lot of single child families.

They say the first 40 years of motherhood are the hardest. You spend all your time, money and resources to ensure your children have what you didn’t have. To build a better life with a better house and car, so you can move in with them.

This would be fantastic if true. For some, especially Pasifika families, having their mama live with them is an honour and a treasure they fight over who gets to look after or house her. Other families have rallied and followed her wishes to return to the islands and build their mama the house she never had so she can spend her last years at home surrounded with the sights and sounds of her childhood days.

In more recent times this has fast become a rarity even in the islands. An apathy for our elders has many of them abandoned to shacks living alone unsupported and forgotten. The government agencies exist but are not always the most efficient at caring for these characters of wisdom experience and working knowledge. The invention of google means young people don’t ask their elders for advice anymore, they look for it on tik tok instead.

Then there are the families who utilise their mothers’ grandmothers as child minders – free babysitters so they cannot only work but party and live their life.

It is as if they feel once you have an empty nest you have nothing else left in life to achieve. Like motherhood is all you know and all you are capable of. They are wrong.

A mother free of the burdens of helping a child survive has the opportunity to go find herself and be open to re-creating her life and purpose. The baby-brain fog has gone, the constant rushing to taxi people to places for sports, school and social dates is over. The quiet silence of the house is deafening – it is medicinal.

Then there are those who move in with their mother who has taken ill in the guise of mothering them now. They take the best rooms and relegate mum to the small room. They use her cheap power and phone rates, her pension to buy beer and let the kids run around unkempt and uncontrolled. This woman who gave her all to them is now still giving and knowing they are just waiting for her to die so they can have the house, car and land for themselves. It is increasingly more common.

The loss of respect for our mothers shows in the lack of respect for our mother earth. They are connected and it is universal. Mothers and earth provide for and nourish us, they give us all we need to be better, healthier, more loving people but it is ultimately up to us to become and experience the potential they can see in us.

Cherish your mother, she created you. If you have lost love between you fix it, or be the mother you wanted, break the cycle. Regardless, if she abandoned you remember your mother carried you inside her to give you life. Respect her gift.