Today is a day that means a lot to me. Not just because I'm Somebody's Mother but because I get to help Somebody become a Mother. I like to think that it's more than the fact that I run in and catch Someone's baby.
On Mother's Day each year, I think of the midwives that helped me become Somebody's Mother (Bobbie, Monte and Linda). How they held my hand, told me I could do it and silently supported me through the process. No rush, no hurry - just waited. To become Somebody's Mother is much more than pushing a baby out. The befores, durings and afters of that moment are critical. There are many Somebodies who have Mother's that never pushed a baby out.
My all-time hero of the modern Midwifery movement is Gladys Milton. In 1958, Gladys Milton, wife and mother of seven children, was approached by the Florida Department of Health to become a "lay" midwife to rural Florida. What was supposed to be an effort by the powers that be to provide maternity services to the poor and black communities of Florida turned into a glorious testimony for midwifery. Gladys went through more tragedy in her life than most of could bare but always walked away standing strong and tall. When approached by the state of Florida to rescind her license she fought to keep it. When the state of Florida fought back she questioned herself, "Why Me?". The answer she got - "Why Not Me?". She fought and won.
She's gone from this world now, leaving her legacy in her daughter Maria, CNM, however, I will never forget the first time I sat in front of her and listened to this gentle soul speak. It was 1994 and what she shared with a group of midwives, wanna-be's and the childbirth community of North Florida is forever etched in my heart.
Read from her memory, not written on paper, clearly written on her heart, she read this Mary Dow Brine poem. I want to share this with all the Mother's I have helped, all the Mother's I have known, everyone who has a Mother - here on this Earth or in Heaven. Every Mother who birthed from her body and every Mother who birthed from her heart. Happy Mother's Day!
by Mary Dow Brine
The woman was old and ragged and gray
And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.
The street was wet with a recent snow
And the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long,
Alone, uncared for, amid the throng
Of human beings who passed her by
Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eye.
Down the street with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of 'school let out,"
Came the boys like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Past the woman so old and gray
Hastened the children on their way.
Nor offered a helping hand to her-
So meek, so tired, afraid to stir
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should crowd her down in the slippery street.
At last came one of the merry troop,
The gayest laddie of all the group;
He paused beside her and whispered low,
'I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."
Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,
He guided the trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.
'She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged and poor and slow,
'And I hope some fellow will lend a hand
To help my mother, you understand,
'If ever she's poor and old and gray,
When her own dear boy is far away.'
And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was, 'God be kind to the noble boy,
Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"