Celebrating mothers

The mantle of motherhood is complex.

It was made even weightier by the COVID-19 pandemic, which lingers.

It would have been impossible for the country to weather this crisis without mothers, whose incalculable sacrifice sustains our households and by extension, the society built upon them.

As we have previously highlighted, women and mothers were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and suffered employment setbacks that experts fear could have a long-lasting impact on gender equality.

Research into the psychological impact of the pandemic on mothers has yielded troubling insights into what is perpetually overlooked in our society: the well-being of mothers who struggled, and in some cases, still are struggling with hardships the pandemic created, but who, often unacknowledged, soldiered on for their children and families.

A study published in 2020 in Frontiers in Psychology that surveyed expectant and postpartum women in Italy where COVID-19 claimed over 122,000 lives, found that factors including restrictive measures enacted to contain COVID-19, were putting pregnant and postpartum women’s mental health in jeopardy.

The study found clinically significant increases in depression and anxiety among both groups, noting that “social isolation, lack of support and control over one’s health may have negatively impacted women’s outcomes.”

An article published last year by the World Economic Forum on the damaging impact of COVID-19 for mothers stated, “In our study we saw especially high increases in mental health difficulties for mothers who reported losing their job or family income.

“We also saw higher increases in anxiety and depression in mothers who had difficulty accessing child care, and who reported that they were struggling with balancing home-schooling with work responsibilities, regardless of income.”

Long lines at feeding centers and social assistance offices throughout the country consisted predominantly of mothers, who braved what were at times conditions of indignity to feed their children, as joblessness coupled with unemployment assistance that might not have met the need, threatened household stability.

Many of our healthcare workers, teachers and other essential service workers are mothers who have been called upon daily to balance their fears of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting it to their families, with the need to maintain a steady income and provide services the public cannot do without.

For much of 2020 and 2021, parents were pushed out of their comfort zone to assume a larger role in their children’s education due to school closures, and while virtual learning was fraught with difficulties nationwide, many mothers rose to the challenge.

In The Bahamas, precious little is discussed about the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on the country’s mothers.

Beyond the pandemic, mothers are our anchor and our compass who not only point us to true north, but who help us recognize that our personal true north is worth pursuing.

Mothers and those who are mother figures are among society’s most priceless resources, and many of us who have overcome stubborn obstacles to attain our goals, can credit our resilience to hardworking, loving mothers who gave tirelessly of themselves to put us on a path to success.

Journalist and novelist Rudyard Kipling said, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”

And author Jill Churchill penned, “There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.”

Today, we honor mothers who consistently defy the odds, who are a wellspring of faith, and who find a million ways to be what we need them to be.

Through crisis and celebration, you are our indisputable heroes, and we thank you for who you are, and all you do.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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