National Women's Day: 09-08-2020
by Jacky Bloemraad-de Boer
Today, 64 years ago the women of South Africa sent a public message that they would
not be intimidated and silenced by unjust laws. This brave act has ensured more empowerment for women in South Africa and as we celebrate National Women’s day I have been pondering on women’s empowerment as it applies to motherhood. Empowering women means giving them a voice, allowing them to take initiative and make decisions in order to contribute meaningfully to their lives and that of their community, it means they have equality and more access to financial and intellectual resources, that they can improve their self-confidence, achieve independence, combat gender discrimination and make autonomous decisions. Thus, empowered women are change catalysts, they possess the power to take charge of their own life, including their reproductive health.
So, in considering this, does a woman become less empowered when she becomes a
mother? Do her obligations as a mother suddenly limit her choices? Some say that
motherhood makes a woman weak, that mothers always have to be there for their children, to the point of giving up their own lives. But is this true? It is no secret that motherhood is pretty tough; it takes an immense amount of perseverance and hard work. In a way, it is exactly that tenacity, that staying power, that can be an empowering catalyst for women. Motherhood requires leadership; mothers need to organise, orchestrate, delegate, plan, manage, negotiate, show empathy, patience, love, curiosity, and creativity. A mother is a child's teacher and role model therefore mothers can both bring up their children and further develop incredible skills and empower themselves.
It is true though that women need a leg-up in laying the foundations in their role as
mothers for them to maintain (or gain) that feeling of being empowered and confident.
The postpartum period is a critical transitional period in the lives of new mothers,
marked by several physiological, emotional, and psychosocial changes, which start soon
after the birth of their baby and result in the occurrence of new situations and needs.
Since the empowerment of pregnant women improves their health and reduces maternal mortality, obtaining knowledge about postpartum recovery, complications and care are of fundamental importance.
Studies show that consistent support from a care provider, family and/or
the community in the first weeks of the postpartum period has a direct impact on maternal well-being and her sense of empowerment.
Let’s celebrate women!
Let’s support them in all stages of their womanhood!
Let’s celebrate mothers (we all have one)!
Let’s support mothers so they can feel empowered and strong!