Have You Seen? {May 17th, 2020}

Hi, My name is Joanna and I’m a British midwife currently working in Uganda. At the moment, due to the Corona virus restrictions, I’m aware that many women may be in a situation where they are unable to travel to a place which may have been their first choice to give birth. This can be hard for so many reasons, not least being separated from family at a time when social support is so key. 

I am so aware that there is so much power in testimony. Birth is beautiful, transformative and empowering, the whole world over! Hearing other people’s stories can make the world of difference to someone who may be in a situation they had never imagined they’d be facing. 

So what’s the idea? 

I’ve been thinking about setting up a blog that centres around parents sharing their experience of giving birth, maternity care and new parenting experiences in a country which is not their passport country. 

First of all, the aim would be to encourage those who may not have a choice right now about their place of delivery and to help others make a decision over place of birth in the future. 

Secondly, it would provide a great forum for parents to share their stories with others. There is something empowering about sharing an experience which has been so transformative in your life, knowing that it somehow helps others feel known, seen, understood and connected.

If you or someone you know would like to share your story, with as much confidentiality as you’d like, then please feel free to email me: [email protected].

Last Week’s Theme: Mothering

The Pain of Being Mother by Joy Smalley—”I think God was right, mothering is a painful labor, because its very essence is one of self-giving for the sake of another individuals well-being. There is no prize, no glory, no applause and yet without it, the entire world suffers. Our death for their life and I’ll bet you anything that Mary knew her broken heart was worth it.”

Sacrifices and Joys {Book Club} by Sarah Hilkemann—”From the very beginning, the moment we say yes to following Jesus across borders and cultural lines, we sacrifice being completely understood. Despite long hours of language study, deep and amazing friendships with local partners and neighbors, intentional and unintentional cultural lessons, we will never fully be a part of the place that we call home. We might dress like them, have homes like them, and shop in the same places they do, but we cannot completely shed the culture that we come from. When the time comes to leave that place and return to our passport country, the same can be said as well. While we might be able to slip more easily into patterns and habits and rhythms of a place we once knew, we will always be different. We are marked by places and cultures and people.”

The Help We Need by Laura Cerbus—”We’ve learned to live without our mothers, and many of us are perhaps living without mother-figures, as well. We feel the weight of cross-cultural life and ministry, without anyone to make us a cup of soup on a sick day or pop over to read to the kids so we can have some breathing room. Learning to do without, we can feel strong and capable — even as we long for things to be different, to have both the gifts of living overseas and the gifts of being physically near to our loved ones. To have someone take care of us, for a change.”

From Noun to Verb by Maria Mullet—”In her book Captivating, Stacy Eldridge blew my mind wide open about the word mother, when she asked her readers to consider it as a verb rather than a noun.  Merriam-Webster defines this verb as “to care for or protect like a mother.” Maybe it’s because I am the outsider looking in when the term mother is used as a noun, but something about changing the part of speech really resonated with me. This goes far beyond a blood connection or having a great labor room story. While mother as noun categorizes, mother as verb unites. We all mother and are mothered. The question is how well we’re doing at giving and receiving.”

From Around the Web

A Global Uninvited Companion

God’s Mother Heart

Parenting Proactively During Covid-19

Need some good book lists? Check out THIS ONE and THIS ONE

The upside down-ness of socially distant life

Finally, Peace When All Is Chaos

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

Who makes up your village?

Who are the people around you who jump in when your need a last-minute babysitter or can’t figure out how to pay your electricity bill?

Who are your kids’ adopted aunties and uncles and grandparents? Who brings you along on their family vacation, so you don’t have to travel alone?

Who stays up late with you as you wait for hard news from back home? Who runs to the local market to get your favorite produce? Who knows your favorite coffee flavor and doesn’t even need to ask if you’d like one?

It takes a village to raise our children and celebrate singleness and deal with homesickness and thrive in cross-cultural life. It takes neighbors and friends and teammates, technology to connect with family across the ocean and humility to receive and give help.

Who makes up your village? Tells us this week as you interact on the blog, and share on social media. Make sure you tag us or use the hashtag #VelvetAshes or #VelvetAshesVillage!

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