By Partinella Ngozo
Motherhood in Zimbabwe has become painful from the physical effects of giving birth to the mental burden of unpaid care and workplace barriers, as women we are silenced.
There are lots of moms who have a great overall experience with pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. But then there are many other moms who struggle. They deal with pain and loss and are less visible to society because they remain hidden or maybe perhaps they are visible but we see only what we want to see, a health happy mom, not knowing even to the slightest incline that she is in turmoil.
Speaking during the commemorations of International Mother’s Day by Social Workers virtually Ecyclipse Ruvimbo Marufu a mother of two who is also a case management officer at DSD stated explained some of the pain experienced by mothers.
“I would like to bring attention to those mothers who experience loss in the form of miscarriages or still birth. I have noticed that society quickly disregards the loss these women go through. To some extent they are even blamed for the loss. This is pain I experienced firsthand as a mother and I wish more resources would be made available for mothers.
“Another pain of motherhood is living in an environment where opportunities for your children are close to nonexistent. Yes moms can be all the inspiration but if it amounts to your son resorting to drugs because they can’t seem to find any other means of employment after you have made all the sacrifice to educate and nurture them it is heartbreaking,” said Marufu.
Motherhood is a sacred calling, perhaps that is why it comes with so many challenges. However, Mai Chikaka who is also a social worker stated that there is need to pay attention to teenage mothers. This is largely because according to the results of studies, teen mothers face many physical psychological, social and spiritual challenges. A constant need for support and training, inability to planning and decision making, lack of maternal skills, encountering unknown situations and major changes, high risk pregnancy and birth, mental health problems, financial problems and family conflicts.
“I think teenage mothers also need attention as they are usually judged or shunned by society especially when they are single,” she said.
However, Marufu and Makaka expressed satisfaction with the progress made so far associated to motherhood in Africa though there is still more to be done.
“I think the very fact that we are discussing on this panel is testament that Africa is awakening to the contribution of motherhood in society. There has been also a drive towards equipping mothers with skills and knowledge to enable them to provide for their families. Slowly but surely we are also noting voices contributing to talk and action on mental health issues that mothers encounter. The drive towards positive parenting also speaks a lot in making sure mothers not only contribute materially but in an all rounded manner they raise positively influenced citizens To me the steps we are taking point towards challenging the status quo and paving way for more opportunities for mothers,” she said.
“I think there is development through the introduction of programs like BEAM which helps lessen the burden through education and other organizations like plan international who are helping less privileged children and the food for work program that try to help mothers to be able to care for their families,” added Mai Chikaka.
Chikaka also added that social workers have a role to play in helping mothers evade the struggles that they encounter during motherhood.
“Social workers as advocates must continue to advocate for policies that supports every mother in caring for the family be it through education, health and everyday life. Social workers are a support system for those who are vulnerable hence support the single mothers and widowed to be able to keep on with the demands of motherhood. In children’s homes and other institutions social workers are essential to be the voice for the voice less through child protection,” said Mai Chikaka.
There is need to pay attention to the struggles that we face as mothers. Government and civic society organisations should play a part in creating a conducive environment for every mother not excluding those in rural areas.