Mother’s Day Connect has come and gone, once again, in a whirlwind of hustling and networking, friendship and sisterhood, tears and joy. What a mixed bag experience this was, the second year in a row.
The number one lesson I took from this year’s event – every woman has a story, take the time to listen.
I sat with a woman while waiting for a therapist to arrive, who is 8 months pregnant and she was terrified. She’d been assaulted on her way to work the previous day, beaten and kicked, repeatedly in the stomach for her cell phone. She scared and alone. And all she wanted was someone to sit with her, hold her hand and listen to her story, while she waited. I got to be that someone and it was a privilege.
We heard all the stories yesterday. Stories of great joy and incredible sadness. Stories of a mother, devasted by the impossible choice to terminate her pregnancy in order to save her life. Another mother, so deeply traumatized by postnatal depression that she’d refused to leave the hospital for the past month. I saw babies too tiny in the NICU that it’s hard to imagine that they can survive.
I saw warrior women too.
Who gave birth silently to perfect little beings and it was incredibly humbling and magical to lay eyes on those babies, just minutes old. I watched as each mother we approached went from weary and curious to chatty and happy and elated when they saw the gifts we’d brought for them.
The people most blessed by this event are the volunteers.
Most of my team this year were Mother’s Day Connect newbies, there were a couple of us from the previous year, but the bulk were new recruits and it was incredible watch the impact that Mother’s Day Connect had on them. From extreme excitement and curiosity to an awakening, a stark and sudden realization of just how privileged we are. Birth and babies level the playing field and it was an honour to witness every one of my team members having their lives forever changed by the experience. To see sisterhood bloom among these women. To see how sisterhood through motherhood brought out the beauty in every individual.
We were incredibly blessed with sponsors for our mothers and nurses at Charlotte Maxeke this year. It took us over three hours, with about 15 of us, to pack both the nurses and moms goodie bags.
Each mother received a baby bag literally exploding with goodies.
Each new mom received:
A baby bag from Clicks
A pack of Carriwell Maternity Pads & hospital panties
A pack of Softi Maternity Pads
Baby Krayons Soap and petroleum jelly
Baby Dove soap
Bibs, baby nail scissors and a gum brush from Baby Dove
Johnson’s wet wipes and baby oil
Tommee Tippee Breast Pads, a double pack of dummies and a sippy cup
A receiving blanket
A newborn outfit
And of course, the lovely Pastry Angel donated a cupcake for each new mom too!
We also made sure we spoiled our nurses too!
I think Mother’s Day Connect 2018 was a massive success.
Well, it certainly was for Team Charlotte anyway! From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank every single brand that donated goods and every individual that donated cash. To every member of my team, a heartfelt thank you. We did something amazing and it would not have been possible without the effort and energy of every person there that day. And especially to my buddy and best friend, Sam who helped me co-team lead our team this year, I love you. Also a special thank you to Merlize from MJ Media Group for the amazing photographs.
I can’t wait to do it all again next year!