As we celebrate Mother’s Day in Australia today, I can’t help but think about the mothers I have seen all over the world in my travels.
Seeing mothers with their children just confirms that for all our differences – geographical, cultural – we are fundamentally the same. Mothers work, cook, feed, cuddle, teach, tell stories and play with their children. But most of all, they love their children unconditionally and would do anything for them.
It’s more than 30 years now since I first became a mother. Holding my first baby, a beautiful girl with a shock of spiky black hair, I was filled with those indescribable emotions that the first hours of parenthood bring. Amazement that I had helped create this child, overwhelming love, and inexplicable fear that something terrible would take this new love of my life away. I could not take my eyes off her.
Eighteen months later, this surge of emotions – mostly a flood of love – came again as my heart expanded to make room for an equally beautiful, but so different, second daughter.
Now I am a grandmother, watching my eldest daughter discover for herself the joys and terrors of parenthood.
I am also lucky enough to still have my own mother, who recently turned 91. This Mother’s Day, I can speak to her but not see her, as she’s in another country and – even if I wanted to – visiting is impossible under Covid-19 travel bans. But I hope to do so as soon as those restrictions are lifted.
In a number of western countries, including Australia and New Zealand, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. This tradition was founded in the USA in in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother and later campaigned for the day to be a holiday in tribute to mothers. Jarvis later decried the commercialisation of the day. Other celebrations, such as Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom, which is observed in March, also honour motherhood
In tribute to mothers everywhere, take a look these photos of women caring for their children that I’ve taken on my travels.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, step-mothers, aunties and those who care for children all over the world.