Tue | Sep 22, 2020

Jaristotle's Jottings | The joys and burdens of motherhood

Published:Thursday | May 16, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Well, Mother’s Day has come and gone, and while mothers across the country were generally celebrated in royal manner, that was not necessarily the case in many instances. Motherhood in Jamaica is oftentimes far more difficult and thankless than many of us appreciate, and I fear it is too often taken for granted.

Regrettably, many of our nation’s mothers face abuse and marginalisation on a daily basis; some having had motherhood thrust upon them by circumstances rather than through choice, with many having to struggle not just to survive, but also (to) raise children under difficult circumstances. While some journeys into motherhood are well thought out, carefully planned and joyous, others have not been as burden-free or joyous.

Although not wishing to take anything away from the planned and joyous motherhoods under utopian circumstances, the way I see it, the real champions are those mothers who, despite having journeys which were anything but burden-free, have persevered and provided a positive upbringing for their children. Their sacrifices would not have been easy.

The joys

I guess it is reasonable to say that planned births give rise to great joy when di pickney born wid 10 finger, 10 toe and all vital signs and organs are functioning well, more so when the economic circumstances are favourable. Even then, motherhood is always a challenge. There is never a dull day: di pickney sick, di mother feel di pain too. Di pickney nah do well at school, di mother haffi wuk overtime wid di pickney. Di father tun wutless and wukless, di mother haffi mek ends meet. Motherhood is not an easy undertaking. Respect due.

The burdens

These days, young ladies in Jamaica are forever catching the eyes of men whose only objective is to satisfy their ‘animal’ instincts. Too often, hormones take over and when the rubbers burst, these young ladies are the ones left to carry the bun in the basket while the ‘fathers’ disappear like the setting sun. If you want to know about the burdens of motherhood, talk to these mothers.

And then there are those instances where motherhood is inflicted upon them by crude and uncaring men, whether by physical force or through hostile persuasion, targeting the individual ladies or their families. Such cases are alarmingly widespread in areas where gangsters rule and essentially take what and who they want. The painful reality is that these louts are more attracted to the younger ladies whose life journeys are permanently altered under such circumstances, oftentimes for the worse.

Finally, let’s not forget the cases of children being born with debilitating illnesses and who immediately become permanent challenges for their mothers.

These then are the mothers who I am more inclined to raise my hat to and to give thanks for every day, and not just on Mother’s Day. The ladies who have had little choice but to take on the enormous responsibility of being a mother – and in many instances a father as well – who have to make enormous sacrifices for their children, forever putting their interests and needs on the back burner for the benefit of those said children.

Nowadays, it is difficult enough to keep children away from trouble, but keeping trouble away from them is equally challenging. Active recruitment by gangs and the temptations of fast money often sway youngsters, especially males, to dance with the devil. Mothers have to guard against such scourges, often endangering themselves. But a mother’s love invariably knows no bounds. It not easy. Respect due.

Think on these things next year as Mother’s Day approaches; look at all the mothers, not just yours, and see the champions in them.

Nuff respect and thank you, ladies.

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