A Village of Mums

It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a village to raise a mum.

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On my first Mother’s Day a few years ago, I received text messages and greetings of “Happy Mother’s Day” and it made me cringe a little. It was almost unreal.

“Mother”? That’s a title belonging to my own mum, or grandmother, or some other strong and capable woman. Or Mother Theresa…Surely, not…me?

I felt so defeated. I often cried because breastfeeding was a painful, bloody experience. I mourned my loss of independence, freedom and being with friends. I resented becoming invisible to some, who wouldn’t even bother to look at me and immediately just took my baby out of my arms.

Then, I received a WhatsApp message from my mum, also wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day, and with the message, came a link to a video about Derek Redmond. It showed the semi-finals of the 400m race at the 1992 Olympic Games, where his hamstring snapped about halfway through the race. In his moment of pain and disappointment, his father barged past security, and, together with Derek, hobbled to the finish line and completed the race.

The video was meant to encourage me to be a like Derek’s dad – a parent who would pick their child up when they were down. But at that moment, I felt more like Derek – so discouraged, and the race ahead looked so difficult and painful. I needed the support of women like my mum and other mothers, who lived positive lives, breathing life and love into their children and husbands.

With the video (and Josh Groban’s ‘You Raised me Up’ playing in the background), it brought a sense of solidarity and strength. We’re in this together. It takes a village to raise a child. And it takes a village to raise a mum.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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