I was first introduced to the work Mothers2mothers do a couple of years ago and when I heard Emma France speak about the work they did and quite honestly the images she painted and the fact she shared stayed with me. Whenever I face a challenging moment of Motherhood I remind myself that I their

  • I barely survived pregnancies and miscarriages with care received at some of the best NHS hospitals in the country. If you can barely survive motherhood in London, how can you survive it in countries where not everyone has access to the healthcare they deserve?

  •  I know that being a mother can be difficult. Raising three boys, ages five, nine and eleven, while holding a senior role at NGO mothers2mothers (m2m) means the juggle is real.

  •  I don’t necessarily call my children the right names and I don’t always turn up to the right place at the right time or with the right child, but I am lucky enough to have a good support system to help me through.

  •  I can see the support my children need to navigate the world and the support I need as a mother. From my own personal experience, I know that mothers need support long after they give birth. That is only the beginning of a mother’s journey.

  • I spend a lot of time thinking about my boys, what they will be when they grow up, where they will live… But what if motherhood was not about hopes and dreams but purely about survival? What if mothers couldn’t plan their child’s second birthday party because they weren’t sure if  their baby would reach this age?

  • This is the harsh reality for many women in sub-Saharan Africa where m2m works. These women are not only navigating the already difficult path of motherhood, they are also living with HIV and the added pressure of ensuring their children are born and remain HIV-free.

  •  The mothers we work with don’t always get the time to sit and look at their little person and think, do they want to be a pilot? A farmer? A nurse? Instead they are focused on survival. Will my baby make it to the future

  • The hardest part of my work is seeing women denied the opportunity to have dreams for their children because they are instead so focused on daily survival.

  • They are nervously waiting for HIV results, worrying if their baby will contract HIV, wondering if everyone in their family is healthy and struggling to maintain basic health.

  •  They are denied the freedom to focus on the future of their children because they are concentrated on surviving the now.

  •  All mothers have a lioness-like instinct to protect their young, to make them safe and to keep them safe.

  • This doesn’t change wherever you are in the world but certain social and structural barriers make this difficult for mothers, particularly when you’re dealing with something as complicated as HIV prevention, stigma and maternal health. 

  • At m2m we want to finally put an end to the HIV epidemic so that children, women and entire families can live with health and hope.

  • We want to create families that thrive, not just survive. Communities where mothers can have dreams for their children.

  • Communities where women have access to the health services they need, where adolescents have access to sexual and reproductive health support and where children reach all their developmental milestones at the right age.

  •  Through training and employment, m2m unlocks the power of women living with HIV to become changemakers, in their own lives and within their communities. 

  • Since we began in 2001, we have created 10,000 jobs for women living with HIV. These ‘Mentor Mothers’ are community health workers who work at health facilities and surrounding areas, using their personal experience and local knowledge to help vulnerable and marginalized women take control of their health. 

  • They show that yes, motherhood can be daunting and scary but also something extremely powerful and strong.

  • For these Mentor Mothers, motherhood is about hopes and dreams for their children, their families and their communities.

  • Motherhood is fragile and it is precious and no one knows this better than the Mentor Mothers.

  • By telling their own stories they can help others who are travelling the same path. They are examples that motherhood can be more than just survival. 

  • Pregnancy is a journey and we want to be there for mothers across sub-Saharan Africa who have the added obstacle of keeping their children free from HIV. 

  • We want to support women all around their own life cycle as well as their children’s. The need for support and new knowledge is at every stage of motherhood which is why we have now expanded our programmes to deliver a range of health services for newborns, children, adolescents and families.

  • Instead of focusing on survival, mothers can prepare for their child’s growth into adolescence, and adulthood.

  • I have been profoundly affected by the women I’ve met in the countries where m2m works; women who approach the fact they are living with HIV with courage.

  • They have suffered stigma, abuse, hunger, illness and yet they come out of it as extraordinary, magnificent women who I gravitate towards because of their power and strength.

  • They are making a real difference in the world and I want to be a part of this.

  • On a recent visit to see m2m’s work in Mozambique, I met an incredible woman called Eunice, an m2m Mentor Mother working in Maputo.

  • Like many of the women we work with, Eunice discovered she was living with HIV when she was pregnant while at a routine antenatal check-up.

  • Her partner, ashamed by her diagnosis, asked Eunice to terminate the pregnancy.

  • Courageously, she ended the relationship and followed her heart, knowing she was strong enough to embark on this journey by herself.

  • Eunice is an orphan and relied on her grandmother for help, and found again that support from one woman to another when she met m2m Mentor Mothers at her local clinic. She was no longer alone. Through their unconditional support, Eunice accepted her status and gave birth to a healthy and HIV-free baby.

  • I want to live in a world where every woman has this support.

  • This was one of the reasons why I joined mothers2mothers. I was so inspired by the mothers I met.

  • It has always been unacceptable to me that still, without treatment, over half of HIV-positive children worldwide will not make it to their 2nd birthday.

  • When I first started at mothers2mothers I had a two-year old and I cannot imagine how it feels to have a baby and not to expect that they will reach the age of two.

  • For me, working for m2m is about equity, justice and safe motherhood. I need to work for, and in a world, that creates this.

  • Personally, I am driven by preventable causes and the work of m2m couldn’t be more preventable.

  • No mother needs to die during childbirth.

  • No baby should be born with HIV.

  •  Over 6,000 adolescent girls should not be infected with HIV every week. 

  • I’m so proud to work for an organisation that’s established that the very best way of ensuring these things do not happen is to elevate the status of mothers and young women.

  • Since we started in 2001, m2m Mentor Mothers have changed the lives of over 11 million women and children under two.

  • They are creating a world where every mother, regardless of her age or HIV status, has the expectation that they can have babies and raise babies safely.

  • They are ensuring that motherhood is more than just survival.

  •  Though we work across sub-Saharan Africa, mothers2mothers is a global movement of women supporting other women.

  • I know how much it means to the Mentor Mothers I’ve met, to know that there are women in the UK and around the world, whose lives are so different from theirs and yet they are standing shoulder to shoulder with them.

  • They care about the pregnancies of women they’ve never met. They care about safe child birth in communities they will never know and they care about safe and happy childhoods for children their children will never meet.

  • I always say there is much more that unites mothers than divides us.

  • Through motherhood we create a shared experience that transcends geographies and culture and it has been amazing to see a network of women in the UK and across Europe support women in sub-Saharan Africa.

  •  You can join m2m’s global sisterhood too. Just by sharing this post with other people you will help raise vital awareness and remind readers that maternal health is not yet a right or even an expectation in sub-Saharan Africa.

  •  There are over 1,700 Wonder Women working right now, today, in eight countries who are changing health access in their communities.

  • If you feel powerless reading this blog, remember there are women who felt far more powerles swho are now trained, employed and paid.

  • They are frontline community healthworkers, raising the future.

  • We want to celebrate these Mentor Mothers who are changing the nature of motherhood for women across Africa.

  • You can share this blog, follow mothers2mothers on social media or host your own event to celebrate the Wonder Women we work with and the women in your own life.  We want to deliver health, hope and an HIV-free generation and you can be part of that journey with us.

  • Motherhood, wherever we are, shouldn’t be about survival, it should be about watching your children thrive and knowing they have the opportunity to do so.


Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply