CELEBRATING motherhood was on most people’s minds last week culminating in the big celebration on the second Sunday of the month of May. Mother’s Day has taken centre stage here in Ghana with all kinds of activities to mark the day.
The celebration which is said to have sparked off in the nineteenth century by two American women is today one of the most widely celebrated days on the world’s calendar. So concerned about the welfare of injured soldiers and the families of those who died during the American civil war, the two went round offering help to those who needed it. The women exhibited love, care and passion and selflessness to those they were looking after. In the course of time, a day was set aside to celebrate these two women.
Today, many mothers, in the course of their God-given roles have exhibited and continue to show extraordinary love for theirs and other people’s children. However, motherhood has sometimes been adulterated by some mothers giving one cause to wonder. There are chilling stories out there involving some mothers prompting the reaction as to whether all mothers should be celebrated on a day like this.
I have picked up incidents reported in the news of a couple of biological mothers which surprised me especially at a time like this when we try to adore mothers. A newspaper headline, “Woman abandons new born baby” is probably not too startling because cases of abandoned babies make news all the time in our environment. However, what was a bit intriguing about the story which bore this headline was the fact that the woman in the story, in the presence of her own mother, actually rejected her newly born baby minutes after successfully going through labour and normal delivery at a private clinic where the nurses were at hand to help with the delivery.
According to the story which was carried by the Daily Graphic of March 11, 2013, the 27 year old woman was accompanied by her mother to the clinic complaining of diarrhoea. She later complained of dizziness and then passed out. When she was revived, further tests and examinations on her revealed that she was pregnant even though she denied she was.
The young woman is said to have gone into labour when she requested to attend to nature’s call. After a successful delivery of a healthy baby boy, the joy of labour that one expected to see in every new mother was not there. Instead, the 27 year old mother is said to have attempted to put the baby into a plastic bag. When that attempt failed, both the new mother and the new grandmother sneaked out of the clinic leaving the baby behind. They just disappeared.
What is more abhorring than what this mother did with the aid of her own mother? What kind of hatred would have run through this 27 year old woman and her mother for the pair to have abandoned such a precious gift of God? Some women go through labour and in the process, lose their lives. This woman was blessed to have gone through it all unscathed with the guidance and assistance of a doctor and nurses at the clinic where she reported sick. The least she could have done was to have shown some gratitude to God and the clinic staff by accepting her baby and proudly walking off with him. To reject this baby and go on to abandon him sounds too callous.
When then, does a woman’s tender care cease towards a child she has carried for good nine months with none of the difficulties some women go through during pregnancy and delivery? What is puzzling about the rejection is that the baby was normal and healthy too.
One finds it difficult rationalising this woman’s story. If the mother of the 27 year old cared so much as to accompany her daughter to the clinic because she was unwell, why would she not have counselled her when it turned out to be a pregnancy and encouraged her to accept the baby and go home with him. Was there something that both of them tried to cover up?
The more one thinks about the incident and the drama that must have been enacted at the clinic, the more one’s mind goes wandering with many more questions to be answered. How possible is it for a mother to live under the same roof with her daughter for nine months without her noticing any signs or changes in the body of the daughter? Now, as they walked away leaving the baby behind, how do they feel on an occasion like Mother’s Day?
Perhaps, the same question could be put to a woman who tried to sell off her three year old son last week simply because she was hard pressed for money. According to a story published in the Mirror last Saturday, when this mother who attempted to sell off her son was arrested, she told officers investigating the case that she was in need of money plus the little boy was an obstruction to her movements. For a mother to actually bargain a selling price for her three year old as if he was a commodity on sale in a market place is hard to take in.
As we celebrate this big day for mothers, there are still women who call themselves mothers who have and continue to abandon the interest and well being of their children in pursuit of their own selfish agenda. There is still some negligence in our society on the part of mothers which we probably are doing too little about. Anywhere else, can a woman walk into a hospital or clinic to deliver a baby and afterwards walk out with impunity, rejecting the baby? How is the law looking at those irresponsible behaviours and what deterrents are such laws bringing in as corrective measures?
There are too many abandoned children on our streets. There are many more out there engaged in child labour and child prostitution which the authorities bring to our notice, at least once in a year, when we celebrate the International Year of the Child. Would it be too much for us to declare zero tolerance for child neglect and remind communities to fish out for such neglects? What we should be mindful of is that a society’s future is always shaped by the kind of child protection laws in place and more critically how these laws are enforced.
Motherhood is highly esteemed even in the good Book and that is why the prophet Isaiah sought to compare the role of mothers to God’s love for mankind and drew similarities from a mother’s love to elaborate his point. Are mothers really living the sacredness of their roles? Certainly some are not. That is why I believe the second Sunday in May should not be a blanket celebration for motherhood for there are simply some women who do not have the heart for mothering. No, not all mothers deserve to be accorded that kind of honour on an occasion when true motherly love is celebrated world wide.