mom's loveToday on the news, they featured a story about a woman who killed her four children before taking her own life subsequently; she plunged into a nearby river and never surfaced… in case you’re wondering, that was the route she decided to take after a spat with her husband. I don’t know that woman; I don’t know how she looks like because they neither showed pictures of her nor her family, but I felt betrayed; frightfully betrayed. How could she? She was supposed to protect her children, even if it meant with her own life… but no, she did the complete opposite. She brought her four kids into this world, and it was painful I know, because even though I don’t have kids of my own yet, I’ve watched movie clips of heavily pregnant women from when they go into labour, the painful as hell contractions, the pushing phase that leads to the baby’s crowning and eventually that mighty push that propels the tiny infants into this cold world, which initially feels alien as they had only known the warmth of their mom’s womb. However, not all women give birth through the natural way, as others undergo the caesarian section, an operation where an incision is made in the woman’s body and the baby (ies) is taken out. There’s nothing easy about child birth; it’s not a walk in the park; some unfortunate mothers die while giving birth or shortly after.

As I mentioned earlier, I have no kids of my own yet, so pardon me if I seem somewhat oblivious to the actual process of child delivery. What I’m so cognizant of is that behind those delivery room doors, so much transpires; most of it painful. Nonetheless, there are those mothers who don’t have their blood running through their children’s veins, but that is of no essence really; a mother is a mother regardless. It doesn’t matter how they earned that title.

I have a profound admiration for mothers, an admiration which nothing else can measure up to. If I had a plane I would fly out there and write on the azure sky, “Hail all moms”, for all and sundry to see. Writing a few words, which would be blown away by the wind the instant they’re written wouldn’t really be enough to show an appreciation to every woman who’s brought a life into this world or nurtures it, but it’s only an idea I toy with everytime and seeing as I have absolutely no knowledge on how to fly a plane, I would subject myself to intense training just so I can pull off that little gesture.

Women bring babies into the world, but that doesn’t give them the ticket to play God; taking the lives of their young ones. It is not their place to call those shots… what’s the point of enduring long hours, some days of intense labour if a mother will still be the one who terminates her children’s lives?

In a similar incident, about a fortnight away, there was a woman who locked herself and her kids up in the house, then set it ablaze. They all perished in the fire. Distraught neighbours who had witnessed the scenario said the woman had complained that she couldn’t take care of her kids as she didn’t have the means- she had no job… so she resulted to slaying her innocent babies? My gut churns at the thought.

In both incidences, they didn’t explain what drove the two women to such heinous acts. Personally, I wouldn’t want to judge them too harshly, so I’ll presume to judge they were suffering from some psychiatric condition. I simply fail to comprehend how a mother can do that…  I don’t want to come off as self-righteous, but if there’s something I’ve learned from my own mother is that a woman’s first priority are her children. Only my sisters and I know the hell my mom has braved for us to be where we’re today. She hasn’t had it easy, but she didn’t do away with us; that’s why I’m still here to tell it as I see it.

When I was in my late teens, I thought my mom was my greatest enemy; she didn’t seem to understand a thing I said or did… she was always there breathing down my neck. The praises I received from her were overshadowed by her criticism… I cried, locked myself up in my room for days, only making trips to the bathroom, kitchen for food… then back to my fortress of solitude. We spoke rarely, and when we did it was anything but amicable … with voices raised, emotions hitting fever pitch… honestly I don’t miss those days. I remember contemplating to run away; move in with my first love- childhood sweetheart. Now I laugh deliriously at such juvenile thoughts.

From my mom’s experiences I’ve learnt a crucial lesson; that motherhood is the hardest job in the world. Kids don’t make it any easier, and neither do the husbands (most of them). Motherhood is all about endurance. It earns a woman more enemies than friends- as she seeks to shield her children from the callous world- and no certificates for a job magnificently done.  A mother feels her children’s pain … She risks having them hate her just so they can end up upright – behavioural wise. I don’t remember my dad ever laying a hand on me, save for this one instance; I was sixteen at the time and even though I don’t remember what I said exactly that triggered him to hit me, I still remember the slap so vividly, maybe because it was his first and last-so far. He hit me so hard that my head jerked and the stud I had on that was fastened tightly with a stopper behind my ear lobe fell off. Fully aware of the person I am, I know that whatever I told him wasn’t really an affront, but it was some truth that he couldn’t stomach.

Notwithstanding, I can’t say the same about my mom. She has slapped me so many times I lost count, she’s used slippers on me, she’s scathed my soul with words during heated altercations, she’s inflicted blisters on me in the name of disciplinary measures and it‘s one of these experiences that made me realize I wanted to be a writer; re-counting an ordeal I went through- thanks to her- when I was nine earned me my teacher’s admiration and the highest grade in that class.

I’m older now, and relatively prudent I guess; it’s been almost a decade since my mom last laid her hand on me. That means I’m either doing things right or she gave up on me… but it’s the former I know, as she compliments me more than she scolds me.

Enshrouded in anger, in my fledgling mind, I thought she reprimanded me because she hated me, but now I look back, and I realize that no earthly soul could love me as much as my mother does. No one could understand me as she does. She let me make my own mistakes, and has always been there to guide me. She’s my greatest inspiration, my mentor. When I get my kids, if I can be to them the mother my mom has been to me, I know I’ll have made it. I will have reason to celebrate.

I love my mom; she’s the greatest woman I know!

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