Betsy Snyder, Jesuit Missions’ dedicated Volunteer Communications Assistant, reflects this Mother’s Day on the strength of mothers around the world: those who even in the depths of suffering will do anything to give their children a chance at a better life.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on the journeys, both figurative and literal, that I have travelled as a mother over the last 13 years and that have brought me to this place in my life.
The figurative journeys, from insecure new mother to confident mother of three and back to insecure mother each time we reach a new age or milestone on our journey. Of being completely overwhelmed and unsure after the birth of my first child, from how to best meet his needs so that he didn’t cry all of the time, to seemingly endless nappy changes and sleepless nights that have now evolved into arguments with siblings and early teenage angst, all the while trying to raise three very different individuals to be kind, responsible and happy adults.
The literal journeys, which have resulted in multiple moves back and forth across the ocean between the US and the UK which became more and more challenging each time as the children got older. Yet as challenging as these journeys have been for me, I cannot begin to compare my experiences of voluntary migration with mothers who find themselves with no other choice but to flee everything they know with their children in order to survive. In this time of global diaspora, refugee stories dominate so many headlines, yet many people become desensitized to their reality. I so often think about the extraordinary lengths mothers will go to in order to protect their children, and I know that that sentiment is universal – any mother would do anything for her children.
With that in mind, I can only be grateful and count my blessings for the life my family has lived to this point. It inspires in me a great sense of responsibility and duty to play my part on behalf of, and in support of mothers around the world; those who suffer in any number of ways, be it due to illness, their own or their child’s; the challenges of single mothers living in poverty and struggling to provide their children with a warm and safe place to live, or indeed the mothers who have sacrificed everything in order that their children may have the chance at a better life. It is this feeling of solidarity with mothers around the world that has inspired me in my voluntary work with Jesuit Missions and its many efforts around the world, among them being to support the refugees who have fled war in Syria or South Sudan, to empower the mothers working on tea plantations in India to know and fight for their rights, or for those in Zimbabwe who want to give their children a better chance in life through education.
I know that when I wake up on Mother’s Day this year to cuddles and lovingly drawn homemade cards, I will not wish for a ‘day off.’ I will instead count my blessings, and continue to offer my prayers and support for all of the mothers around the world who are doing their best for their children, no matter what their journeys may look like.
Posted on 24th March 2017