The Unintended Consequences of Motherhood. A Mother’s Day Story

African Mother & Child Portrait

As a mother of two boys, I am grateful that I am raising them in one of the most affluent nations in the world, a privilege I do not take for granted. This privilege has also made me acutely aware of the plight of mothers in less affluent parts of the world and the fact that they want the same things for their children that we all do — food, shelter, health and education.

When my youngest son was an infant, he was often beset with painful ear infections that made him cry through the night leaving him feverish and inconsolable. I knew that if we made it through the night, a 5 minute visit to the pediatrician and a prescription would ease his pain and get him back to his normal self.

Not so with a mother raising her infant in the rural shea producing villages in West Africa. If her 6 month old has a severe ear infection she will carry the crying child on her back while trying to figure out how to get to the nearest health center which might be hours away from her village. In addition to the distance she has to find the money to pay the doctor and also for the medicine that will ease her child’s pain.

A process that would take me less than 1 hour and $10 copay will cost this woman hours or even days of travel plus medical expenses that could easily wipe out the families resources. Worse still if the child does not receive medical attention an ear infection could easily develop into a chronic condition.

In West Africa, Shea Butter is called women’s gold because the proceeds from shea butter provide women with additional income that they can use to provide for their children.

I believe that we all play a role in the global legacy of womanhood, and that one woman’s success impacts the story of us all.  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

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