Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Mommy Lens

Before I became a mother, people would always tell me that becoming a mother changes everything. I never understood that statement until I became pregnant. And yet, once my daughter was born that understanding grew even more. It grows every day. Everything I read, everything I see on TV or read online typically is viewed through my mommy lens. It’s where I’m at in life right now. I’m sometimes annoyed by it because I would love to take the mommy lens off at times and just be me. But, all that I am affects my daughter and I have to keep my mommy lens on in order to be the best and give her the best.

I recently read I Am Nujood –Age 10 and Divorced for the SV Moms Book Club. It’s the story of Nujood Ali who at the age of 10 was married off to a much older man. In this powerful memoir, Nujood shares every detail of her horrendous marriage and fight to restore the life she deserved to live. I appreciate the fact that Nujood’s focus throughout the book is her freedom. The monsters who would allow a child that age to be married, raped and abused will find their fate. But, the most important part of this book is the fact that a young girl with barely an education or financial wealth pushed past her assumed fate and found courage to write her own destiny.

As I was reading through the book, I kept asking myself where is her mother? Why has she not stepped in? Where is the mother’s love that will bridge past the cultural boundaries and control and stand up for her daughter? Why is her mommy lens not on? Those are easy questions to ask, but not too easy to answer.

I put myself in her mother’s shoes and imagined how debilitating it must have been to know your daughter was suffering and you honestly could do nothing about it. She had to voluntarily remove the mommy lens and allow her daughter’s fate to play out right in front of her eyes. With no recourse, she separated herself from the reality of her child and could only pray that things would change.

When they say that becoming a mother changes everything, they weren’t lying. I believe that every mother, whether they have separated themselves from their children or not, knows each child’s strength. Nujood had strength that surpassed age, gender or class. She had fight in her. She looked at the end of the road and decided to change course. She showed her own mother that we have control over our lives and as women, especially; we have more power than we think we do.

I don’t think our kids understand how much they challenge us to be better people. They make decisions and choices based on their own desires while also shaking our worlds. I can only imagine how Nujood’s mother felt once her daughter became the first woman in her country to win a divorce. She was no longer a victim and I don’t think her mother could remain one either. Nujood’s decision to change her situation may have just restored a piece of her mother’s mommy lens.


Torie Black said...

I also wondered what her mother must have thought. Maybe she felt that her daughter should experience the same (or similar) life and marriage to her own. In a way, it might justify her own experience. Maybe she had spent so many years being told not to think that she just didn't anymore. Social pressures and strong, domineering cultures can obliterate people's ability to think full-stop (I'm from Northern Ireland - I should know). I hope, like you, that she found some courage and inspiration from her daughter's actions.

Kara-Noel said...

I have no clue why the mother never spoke up, the big sister seemed to at leas try! I think that the daughter being 'just another mouth to feed' is just as ingrained in the women as it is in the men. The mom didn't seem to value herself or her daughter! So sad.