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My First Mother's Day

This time of the year last year, I was over-the-moon pregnant with Lucia, a baby girl who brought joy and big smiles to our families, friends, and of course to our partners in different regions who joined us in celebrating the birth of my first daughter!

Natalia and Lucia

This time this year, we are celebrating my first Mother’s Day with Lucia. And the fact that Mother’s Day is approaching made me reflect on what this day means personally to me. On one hand, I feel that it is not that important to celebrate a particular day, a commercial day after all. But at the same time, it made me remember the struggle of mothers around the world who deserve recognition and a day to celebrate, to receive love from their sons and daughters, a day that makes them special.

Just this week, my colleague Sahita and I met with mothers from Central America who confronted violence and the disappearance of their daughters and sons during a period of political violence in the 1980s. They have not reached justice or received recognition of their ongoing struggle. I remembered the mother in a remote community in rural Kenya who told me she did not have enough money to send her daughter to school, but still resisted the pressure to marry her off as a child bride to ensure her future. I thought of the mother in Haweeja, a small village in Iraq, who is desperate to get rehabilitation and treatment for her four-year old disabled son, who cannot walk. I was also reminded of the different situations that mothers face every day: mothers in Syria pressured to sell their daughters into early marriage to feed younger children and to save the girls from rape, mothers in Haiti protecting their daughters from sexual violence in the displacement camps, mothers in Colombia whose children were abducted by armed groups and forced to serve as child soldiers. Those are real stories of mothers who confront everyday discrimination, situations of poverty, violence and injustices. Those women deserve better, deserve a day of recognition and so much more.

We at MADRE celebrate the courage of all those mothers who are determined to move forward in the most discouraging circumstances, to change the conditions in their communities, to change cultural practices, to open up opportunities for their daughters. I hope I can contribute to making a better world a reality for all mothers and teach the importance of this work to my Lucia… I hope Lucia can be as determined as all these women to fight for a better future for all mothers, all daughters, all families around the world.

This year and every year, when you celebrate Mother’s Day, celebrate for your mother and mothers in your life, and all the mothers that are trying to make a difference in the world!!

May 7, 2013