Month: March 2020

Limitless

By Serena

Kampala Graffiti

Greetings to those who love mamas. I certainly do. After all, where would we be without ours? The answer is nonexistent. I’ve always admired the level of devotion that one takes on in having a child. I hope the day will come when I too will be ready for this experience and be able to cherish the sensation of my changing body, expanding to make room for another. Since arriving in Uganda and having the opportunity to observe what goes on in a labour ward, I have a newfound respect for mothers, all over the world. These women undergo so much and literally sustain humankind in the process, yet their value often goes unrecognized. This is especially the case in the current context I find myself in. I have so far witnessed around 15 births and each time I have been struck anew by the sheer grit these women possess. The labour ward seems to emanate a collective strength as mothers endure the gruelling process of labour. As an onlooker, I am struck over and over by the raw intensity and unequivocal power of these women. This force does not only emerge from the delivering mothers, but also from the midwives in the room helping to facilitate the births. The midwives encourage the mothers to push just once more, offering in that moment of desperation, the motivation to do what seems like the impossible. The pull of the unmistakable energy that flows between mother and midwife draws me in, flooding my senses in its ferocity and inspiring me to find my own. After all, this type of strength is exclusive to women. We have been gifted the unique ability to endure and I have yet to see a more impressive display of this than in the labour wards. The ability of these women to make do in circumstances rife with challenges, speaks to this gift of endurance. As a fellow woman, I can’t help but be filled with a flutter of pride. On another note, I am also overtaken by profound disappointment. I am aghast as to why this is the rung of the ladder that has been reserved for women in this society. I am certain that this rung is higher than it has been in the past, but it is still resulting in prolific disempowerment. This disempowerment comes in many shapes and forms. Perhaps the worst one of all, is the disregard on behalf of the government in providing adequate supplies for medical facilities, a measure which has impacted countless lives. Women and children are arguably the most vulnerable groups in a population, who can easily become affected by health problems. Resultingly, they should be prioritized rather than neglected. In my eyes, this is most conducive to a just society. My work with FullSoul will not directly change the societal structure at large, but I hope that through fulfilling our mission, which is to help medical practitioners better protect the health and safety of mothers and their babies, we manage to empower these women. I hope that this empowerment trickles its way into like forms and ongoing efforts elsewhere in society. I am most hopeful that another rung on the ladder may be reached. Given the fortitude of these women, I am sure this will come in due time. I will end with a sentiment expressed by John Stuart Mill on the nature of women: “It is a subject on which, nothing final can be known”. As author Tara Westover points out, his revelation comes from the assertion that women have had to contort themselves into patriarchal lines for so long, that it is now impossible to ascertain their natural abilities. I marvel once again at the resilience of women, what the women I encounter in the hospitals have managed to accomplish in spite of, and the untapped potential that still exists. We are limitless. Happy Belated International Women’s Day!

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