Salute the mothers who haven't given birth
The second Sunday of May is Mother's Day, and for mothers everywhere, it's their Christmas. The significance of Mother's Day is very powerful and most persons go out of their way to treat Mama special on this day. The tributes pour out in various forms, from a nice home-made card done by a child to extravagant gifts from adult children, celebrating the women who have played the mother role in their lives.
It's really beautiful to see all the ways that people express their love and appreciation for their mothers. Mothers revel in this day because they get to be the centres of attention and they feel all the love from their children and partners. Commercially, the purveyors of all the gifts, cards, stuffed animals, flowers and other Mother's Day paraphernalia are kept very busy with all the business they get this time of year.
Another group that is also affected by all of the Mother's Day fanfare is the women who are not biologically mothers, and so often the effects are not positive. Once a woman is of a certain age, she is expected to have a child, and once that is not the case, this woman still faces stigma and shame from her friends, family members and in the wider community.
Valued by ability to procreate
Believe it or not, we still live in a society where women are valued by their ability to procreate. Women over 30 who have not given birth are constantly greeted with comments like "What are you waiting on?", "Who's going to take care of you when you're old?" and "That's why God create you". The truth is, women who have not had children, do so for a myriad of reasons from the physical inability to carry a child for health reasons to the lack of interest in motherhood.
On Mother's Day, some of these women are faced with depression because they are acutely aware that they are not mothers. While many of these women may not have actually given birth, they play significant roles in the lives for many children. Some of them have partners with children, they are aunts, sisters, godmothers, and they are actively 'mothering' the children in their lives.
At the end of the day, giving birth is not the only qualification for motherhood, and the women who participate in the nurturing and taking care of children should also be recognised. We are all grateful for all the women who play the role of surrogate mother, and we appreciate that motherhood requires commitment, patience and, in many cases, sacrifice.
So, to the women who are busy nurturing, loving and mothering a child, even though you've never given birth, I salute you, and I hope you had a very special Mother's Day.