November is women abuse prevention month. Rather than focus on statistics or ranting about inequality, or about the responsibility of men in prevention, today’s post is about strength. Lately, all around me I have been noticing the unbounded strength of women.
This week’s horrors in the Philippines brought us the story of Emily Ortega who managed to make her way to the airport and give birth to a baby girl amidst the chaos. Her story makes me think of all of the other mothers struggling to keep their children alive there right now.
I think of the survivors of abuse that are picking up the pieces, and with support (or without) are figuring out a way, every day, to keep providing and caring for their children; trying to make their way on a new path for their future. Single parenting is not for the weak.
Personally, (on a much smaller scale I realize) I have been struggling with some pretty awful morning (and noon and night) sickness for the past 6 weeks of a new pregnancy. In sharing this experience with other women I have learned about how others have coped and been inspired by the quiet strength and determination it takes to just live through the first weeks of pregnancy that most women don’t talk about. A teacher recalled running out of the classroom on a regular basis to be sick and would return home at the end of the day to take care of a toddler; a PhD student recalls having two toddlers in tow and needing to hide behind cars in a grocery store parking lot to be sick; a social worker on her way to home visits having to pull over to the side of the road to be sick and then continues on with her work.
All of these stories remind me of a thoughtful New York times piece written by a transgendered woman entitled: What Makes a Mother? Suffering.
Many women suffer and most women persevere through personal strength, resilience and the support of those around them, whatever the circumstance.
Share some stories of strong women you know, we need to celebrate strengths as well as focus on change.
Please consider giving to organizations offering aid in the Philippines. The Canadian government is matching the funds raised now. Two great ones:
Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). To donate, go to www.msf.ca/campaigns/typhoon-haiyan-relief-philippines/.
The United Nations World Food Program Donations at www.wfpusa.org