By Kim Jackson
I watch “Call the Midwife” (a UK TV show) religiously, and every week I cry. It truly is one of my favourite shows. This past Sunday, however, my face was soaked in more than the usual amount of tears. Moved by a combination of factors triggered by a show about midwives.
I was thinking about my mom. I was thinking of a handful of women in my space who have all become mothers recently and a handful who are still brandishing beautiful baby bumps – arrivals being imminent.
I thought about some personal events that took place in my life last year that squarely presented me with questions and reflections that needed to be answered and reflected upon – do I want to be a mother and if so, what does that look like, feel like for me personally? And I thought about how the stories of other friends in my life intertwined with this – stories of their loss, their change, their fear, their journeys, and both their joy and heartache.
I remember vividly the moment I walked into the hospital room and saw my mother just after her accident. In a moment, an entire life played out in front of me – memories, words, love, kisses, joy, sadness – everything that is a mother and a child. What struck me, though, was the thought so loud, so resounding: “If I ever have children will she be there.”
It stuck because, of all the thoughts I was thinking in that moment, this one shouted – for me, children have never been a must have. And so I have played and unpicked this thought many times since my mom’s accident and death – maybe more so because of my age, or because of the additional wonderings of the meaning of life and the finality of death, maybe simply because I want to think the thoughts and am ready to, maybe because for me it’s never been a ‘just’ or ‘it’s the way it is’ or ‘that’s life.’ Whatever the reason, I have had a year filled with bearing witness.
What a privilege. I have held the hands of women I love as they have shared with me their stories of loss, confusion, anger and uncertainty.
I have watched friends faces change, soften, lighten as they tell me of the pure, forcefulness of unconditional love. I have witnessed women making difficult choices. And I have seen courage and strength and a fearsomeness that has been nothing short of beautiful.
Looking back on this year, my life has reflected all the things that I love about this show. The strength of women. The compassion and empathy, the endurance. The ‘get shit done’ attitude we have.
Community. Coming together – sharing of stories – the pain and reality of life, and then breaking bread and celebrating. Being grateful.
Camaraderie, friendship – following through, showing up, standing in truth and fighting for what we believe to be right and true.
Charity, helping – being kindness.
And love. Love for each other, neighbours, ourselves.
I still do not know how this part of my own story unfolds. Whether I will be mother to children that I bear myself seems small in comparison to the realization that at a time when the world seems so fractured, so apart, we all have a duty to be guides, examples and leaders, as all parents are. We all have a responsibility to our community, our world.
The thought of my mother never sharing this part of my journey with me, in a way that I would wish for, is an ache that I think I will always carry. However, her legacy, all of our legacies – what we leave is in that which we teach.
Let us bear children and raise children in a world of love – let us teach gratitude, inclusion and empathy. Let us tell our little people that they are enough. Everyday.
Let us come together as community without barriers, borders and divides. Let’s lift each other by lifting our next generations. Let us well over with love and let us find compassion and comfort for the environment and the earth too.
Let us rise to the challenges. Let us take pleasure in the knowing that every interaction, every meeting, every moment we get to choose, learn and teach. To all the mothers and fathers by all definitions – let us teach love.
Resist. Rise up. Be better. Be love.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment.