A few week’s ago, I told you all about the Cape Town Embrace Mother’s Day Connect 2017 campaign and as we got closer and closer to Mother’s Day, I started to feel really convicted about this event. Because I came to motherhood via an alternative path and it hadn’t been easy, I felt that I wanted to more. It felt hypocritical to be encouraging others to attend the event, when I hadn’t flung myself into the thick of it and so I signed up as a team leader and nominated Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital for the campaign.
After literally days of phoning the hospital without a response or having any luck, Cape Town Embrace stepped in to assist me in getting approval for our visit. The approval was granted last week Tuesday at 5pm and that’s when the panic had set in.
There were literally four days to recruit a team and get together goodies for our visit and honestly, I was freaking out and feeling totally overwhelmed.
But I needn’t have, everyone pulled together!
And by Saturday evening, we were a team of 21 women and we had bulging gift bags for all of the 80+ new moms we would meet as well as gift bags for the nurses.
Here’s why this campaign was so important to me:
P.S. I apologize for the lack of electricity and also the tears!
The Day Before…..
My dining room table is under there somewhere! At 5pm yesterday, we got approval from Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital to visit all 66 new mom’s in their maternity ward on Mother’s Day as part of the @capetownembrace Mother’s Day Connect Campaign! Since then generous offers of sponsoring goodie bags have been pouring in! Our moms are going to be so spoiled this Mother’s Day! Special thanks to @sorbet_fourways WAS Foundation & @thegracefactory Find out how you can get involved here: https://www.facebook.com/events/209905802838981/?ti=icl . . . . #capetownembrace #mothersdayconnect #charity #onehoureverymother #sponsors #donations #mothersday
My Mom and two of my friends came over and we literally spent all of Saturday evening packing goodie bags for our moms.
Just taken inventory of our @capetownembrace #mothersdayconnect items for the goodie bags! I’m blown away! Each mom will receive an @avonsouthafrica cleanser & mascara, a @sorbet_fourways nail polish & @environskincare sample pack, Cotex Sanitary Towels, Soap & Energy Drink from WAS Foundation, Maternity Pads, Bennetts’s Bum Cream, Wet Wipes, Aqueous Cream & Bum Cream sponsored by @thegracefactory, a new outfit or jersey for her new baby & a baby hat, a cupcake & card! Still to be added, each mom will also receive a chocolate, a flower & a Zambuk Lip Balm! Oh & the gift bags were sponsored too! Thank you to everyone who has made this possible! . . . . . #charity #mothersday #motherhood #sisterhood #sisterhoodthroughmotherhood
And then it was Mother’s Day!
We met in the under ground car park and started the trek up to the 5th, 6th & 8th floors of the hospital.
I am so thankful to Faith from Pampers who joined us at the hospital to dish out nappy packs and also show us around, we would have been lost without her!
The staff were amazing, they were so thrilled to be included in all the treats and really helped us find our way around and direct us to all the new moms.
The reactions from the new moms was priceless. From guarded surprise to outright joy, it was incredibly special.
One of the moms in particular told me she thought this was a beautiful idea because she’d been in hospital all weekend and not one person had come to visit her or wish her a happy Mother’s Day. So many of these women and their experiences are burned into my memory. From the bewildered and overwhelmed teen mom to the mom who had just been brought back to the ward post an emergency C-section. She was so fearful and in so much pain and it was an honour to be there for her, to rub her back, call a nurse, find out where her baby was and just reassure and be there for her.
What I didn’t expect…
Was to be so emotionally spent by the end of our hour. Physically, it was quite demanding, we were 21 women and we visited with over 80 new moms in that time. We lugged more than 100 gift bags around the hospital. But what took me by surprise was how many triggers there would be for me.
I think with my history of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, I need to accept that these triggers will stay with me forever. I cannot see a new born baby without getting overwhelmed by the miracle of it all and so I cried at the sight of literally every perfect little miracle I saw. But what I was completely unprepared for and it’s rather silly that I hadn’t thought about it, was how many grieving mothers we would encounter. Four mom’s in total who had suffered stillbirths in the days leading up to our visit. There was some mad scrambling when we learned of these bereaved moms, to remove the baby items from their treat bags and I am so thankful that we had one woman on our team who specializes in counselling bereaved mothers at another hospital and she spent her entire hour counselling these women. There was also Women dying from childbirth?
There were moments of such pure joy….
When we were invited into the NICU which was also so incredibly special.
So much joy…
One woman’s story will always stay with me. When we got to her bed, she was literally GLOWING! She was beaming with pride and joy. She told me that last year her son had been stillborn and the devastating effects that had had on her, but just two days prior to our visit, she’d given birth to boy/girl twins and how utterly blessed and complete she now felt after such a horrific loss.
It’s always better to give than to receive…
It was one of the most humbling and rewarding experiences of my life. It was crazy and frantic and beautiful and happy and sad and just so incredible special. We left the hospital just after 10am, everyone of us exhausted and emotionally spent but buzzing with ideas on how we could do things differently and better next year. One of my friends has already started collecting baby clothes for next years Mother’s Day Connect!
To every person on our team who made a difference and blessed a new mom on Sunday by showing up. Thank you.
Pampers for sending a representative with us on the day.
Joanne Giles who rounded up a team and donated flowers for everyone.
Robyn van der Merwe for the cupcake donation
Claudine for the Avon and Mascara donations
Sorbet Fourways for the Environ and Nail Polish donation
The Grace Factory for the maternity packs
WAS Foundation for the sanitary towels and energy drinks
Sam from Captive Conversations for the chocolates and Zambuc lip balms and for helping me pack the bags.
Jason & Heather Bennett for the gift bag donations
And to my entire team for showing up on the day, with no ego’s in play and with no other motive other than to get welcome these new moms to motherhood. We did it girls! Well done! I can’t wait to meet up with you all again next year!
This was, for me, the purest form of sisterhood through motherhood. It was beautiful, touching, overwhelming, joyful, tragic and everything in between. Find out what the founder of Cape Town Embrace had to say about this years Mother’s Day Connect and watch out for some familiar faces in this insert!
Till next year!
Sisterhood through motherhood!