Mother’s Day shouldn’t be for mums only!
Reflecting on my childhood, I vividly recall my mother sharing stories about her own mother, who left this world when she was just a teenager, leaving an indelible void in her life. Gratefully, her older sisters and relatives stepped in, donning the shoes of a mother, and provided the love and support that shaped Mum into the person she is today.
As I embarked on the journey from Nigeria to the UK for my A-Levels, the challenges of decision-making and learning were abundant. In the absence of today’s instant messaging apps, I relied on letters that took weeks to arrive. Despite the advancements in technology, I find myself feeling nostalgic for those letters from my parents.
During my college and university years, a myriad of women – my cousin, her friend, church sisters and aunties, my pastor’s wife, uncles’ wives and even the career adviser at college – all played pivotal motherly roles in my life. Their guidance and support were crucial in navigating life choices, career pathways, marriage decision, and building a family. Although miles away, my mother’s influence was echoed through these amazing women, and I am forever thankful for their impact on my life.
On Mother’s Day, my celebration extends beyond my biological mum to encompass these female figures who contributed to my growth. Their love, prayers and support did not go unnoticed, and I want them to know they made a significant difference in my life. Some were not mothers at the time, but they equally deserve recognition on Mother’s Day.
Reflecting on the biblical story of Moses, who had three mothers – Jochebed, his biological mum; Miriam, his foster mum, and Pharaoh’s daughter, his adopted mum – it’s evident that all played a pivotal role in his life and all are worth celebrating.
As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s essential to broaden our celebration to include all women who play motherly roles, day in and day out. Many serve in Sunday schools and youth churches, nurturing and shaping children spiritually, emotionally and socially. Some have experienced miscarriages or baby losses; others face strained relationships with their children. They, too, are mothers deserving of celebration.
To make our Mother’s Day celebration more inclusive, here are several ways we, as a Christian community, can embrace and appreciate all women:
Watch Your Words: Let’s be mindful of personal and societal expectations placed on women regarding marriage and motherhood. Our identity as women is not solely tied to these roles, and our words should reflect understanding and healing. Here are two verses in Proverbs that buttress this point:
‘There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing.’
‘Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.’ (Proverbs 16:24)
Raise the Visibility of Diverse Women: Celebrate and showcase faith-filled women who find purpose and fulfilment in Christ, irrespective of their relationship or maternal status. Their stories can inspire and encourage everyone in the church community.
Consider Ways to Appreciate Them: Make Mother’s Day services more inclusive for all women. Find opportunities throughout the year to celebrate women in different seasons of life.
Create Supportive Networks: Establish networks within the church community where women can connect, share experiences, and support one another. Recognise and appreciate the diverse roles they play, whether as mothers, mentors or friends.
Provide Resources and Counselling: Recognise the challenges women face in different stages of life. Offer resources and counselling services to address issues such as infertility, miscarriage, or strained relationships. Ensure there is a safe space for women to seek guidance and support.
Celebrate Single Women: Acknowledge and celebrate the strength and resilience of single women in the Church. Their contributions at church and their individual journeys deserve recognition and appreciation.
Extend Gratitude Beyond Biological Ties: Encourage a culture of gratitude that goes beyond biological relationships. Express appreciation for the women who contribute to the spiritual, emotional and social growth of others, whether they have biological children or not.
Highlight Unconventional Motherhood Stories: Share stories of unconventional motherhood, such as adoptive mothers, stepmothers, or those who serve as mother figures in the church and community. These stories can inspire a broader understanding of the diverse ways women nurture and guide others.
By embracing these practices, we can make Mother’s Day a celebration that honours and uplifts all women, recognising the various and valuable roles they play in our lives.
Funke Oham stands as an acclaimed mentor, author and speaker who underwent a transformative journey after facing the heartbreaking loss of two babies. Discover more about her story and work by visiting funkeoham.com.