In the lead up to Mother’s Day, we bring you the story of one mama of three who decided to reach out and help other mothers who were in much more need than she was.
There are times when you can feel like you’re the only one suffering.
Whether it’s a miscarriage, a marriage breakdown, a health crisis or just the feeling of despair at the same-ness of your life, when you’re low, it can be very isolating. Even in this day and age when connection is only a click away, feeling connected in the true sense is almost impossible.
But what if your pain could help connect you to other women in much more need than you?
How would it feel to take your energy and channel it into helping others?
The following story means a lot to me.
I have always believed that as a community of women, we can change the world. And that in each of our pain and suffering is a chance to come together to support and grow.
Which is exactly what Adriel Booker has done.
This beautiful Sydney-based but US-born mama of three has been through some pretty dark times, by anyone’s standard. One very uncertain pregnancy and then three miscarriages in three years – Adriel would be excused for just focusing on her own life right now.
But that’s not what she did.
Over the past few years, Adriel has built a fundraising campaign and charity which supports our fellow mamas-to-be in rural PNG with life-saving birth kits. And we’re talking 20,000 of them, mamas.
This story will make you think differently this Mother’s Day. It will make you see your own blessings, and ask you to question if you’d like to do more. And if the answer is yes, make sure you check out the details on how we can all do more this Mother’s Day at the end of the story.
“I’ve always been open about my life, and felt passionate about sharing the reality of life with little ones. Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, figuring it all out – right from the beginning I’ve been pretty vulnerable about my own journey. I’ve shared parts of motherhood others might not be comfortable talking about: I remember once writing a post about motherhood bringing out an anger in me I never thought I had, and the emails I got after that went live! It really helped me see that mamas really need this – we need each other to be vulnerable and transparent. Yes, we need to share the wonderful aspects of motherhood because it’s not all horrible – I hate it when people complain about their kids nonstop – and yet at the same time it’s not all unicorns either.
We need to be real.
I had three miscarriages within three years. We were trying for a third child and I was just absolutely shocked when I lost that baby at 13 weeks. We’d already seen the heartbeat, we had no reason to think that anything would be wrong. We had had a scare with my second pregnancy – we were told that he may have a chromosomal abnormality, but he turned out perfectly. We went through that whole pregnancy unsure whether he would be ok, but he was. So we felt like we had already faced the worst, but losing our third pregnancy really blindsided me. I had no idea how common it was. I was grasping for a reason for why this happened, just trying to make sense of it. And then, we fell pregnant again and I lost that one too, and that’s when I started to get really scared. Two in a row just felt different. After my third one I was just straight up angry. It took so much to process and work through, which is why I’m so passionate about talking about it now. One of the things that I have learnt is that grief and suffering and pain is a part of life, and it’s not something that we can escape or avoid. I feel like it’s really important that we talk about these issues – it is a normal part of motherhood. It’s not a fun part or a good part but it is part of it and we really do each other a disservice when we don’t talk openly about it.
Going through all of that has made me more resilient and more compassionate and more empathetic towards others. I would never want to go back and sign up for all this pain and suffering again, but at the same time there are things that have been built in me because of that experience. I see people and their pain now, and I don’t want to run away from it. I don’t want to try and fix it. I am more comfortable sitting with people now in their pain.
It was during my second pregnancy when we were so uncertain whether our baby was going to have any abnormalities that I first started to look into supporting other mothers. It was Mother’s Day and my husband was away and I was not in a great place. I was pregnant and hormonal and tired and exhausted and I had a little one year old and I was feeling sorry for myself because who was going to make me breakfast in bed? And who was going to get me flowers?
And so while I was sitting on the couch having a little pity party for myself, this statistic pops up that 1 in 7 women in rural Papua New Guinea were dying in childbirth. There I was, in the middle of my pity party, and something just pierced my heart. Here I am feeling sorry for myself because no one’s going to bring me flowers or breakfast in bed and yet my sisters in PNG – our closest neighbour – are worried about whether they will actually survive childbirth. I was pregnant at the time too and I never had to think about that. I get upset about waiting two hours to see my obstetrician and look at what they have to face!
It put all of my problems into sharp perspective.
And so, I wrote a blog about it. I decided to just write a story about it and see if anyone out there wanted to help me gather together some clean birth kits. The leading cause of death in these areas is usually preventable and is because of infection, in these rural areas women are literally giving birth on wood planks behind their houses or wherever they can find a safe place. These clean birth kits can make a huge difference to keep births safer – they include things like plastic gloves and soap and ties to tie up the umbilical cord and a clean blade to cut the cord. So, I had the intention of raising enough for 300 kits by the end of the year – and by the end of the week I had raised enough to make 2,000 birth kits.
So far, we’ve raised enough for almost 20,000 clean birth kits. We’ve also fitted a clinic with solar power, we have resourced midwives with maternal health resources and educational resources, we’ve funded a babywearing project and we have set up a free scholarship to support young women training to be midwives. We have a young woman who is in training in rural India and we want to pay for her training for the whole year.
The amazing thing is, I haven’t even done that much marketing or publicity, it’s just grown, and I think that’s because it’s something we can all do as women together. We want to feel more connected than just our own tiny lives. Women really do want to do more – and this allows them to do it in a way that feels good. To support another mother.”
If you would like to donate to Love A Mama’s Mother’s Day campaign, you can find all the details here.
And it is with great pride that Happy Mama would like to announce that in our own gesture of support and giving back, 5% of every membership to our New Moon Mama Circle from now on will be donated to PANDA – to help support mamas with perinatal anxiety and depression. Perinatal extends from when pregnancy begins to the first year after the baby is born. You can read about PANDA’s amazing work here, and if you would like to be a part of our New Moon Mama Circle – and not only join other women on this journey but support PANDA and the mama’s that need our help – you can join here.