MANILA, Philippines – We see it all over social media (particularly your Instagram feeds) – pictures of mothers and their kids, dressed-to-the-nines with no signs of chaos or any struggle at all. And while there’s nothing wrong in presenting a curated and #feedgoal kind of life, we all know that motherhood is anything but easy.
As a tribute to all sort of moms out there – from your biological mom, adoptive mom, foster mom, and everything else in between – we asked both high- and low-profile mothers what motherhood has taught them.
Spoiler alert: It’s not easy at all. So put your smartphone down, give your mom or mother figure a hug, and let her (or him!) know just how much you appreciate her love, sacrifice, and effort.
Leni Robredo, vice president of the Philippines, mother to 3 daughters
Motherhood has taught me strength, resilience, selflessness, and unconditional love.
When we started having children, both Jesse and I continued with our careers. It was always clear to us that our own sense of self worth will make us better spouses to each other and better parents to our children. So we were balancing a lot of things all at the same time. But it was also clear to us that the children came first. So I was working, studying, and doing my duties as a mayor’s wife. While doing all of these, I was personally driving my girls to and from school, bringing them to swim trainings, piano and guitar practices, doctor’s appointments, etc. I would personally tutor them, prepare their outlines, and help them in all their school requirements. My girls are 6 years apart so I was doing all these for a very long time, even if it meant just getting two to three hours of sleep because I also needed time to study my cases and prepare pleadings.
Following the plane crash that took my husband’s life, my first instinct was to protect my daughters. Because of this, I knew that I had to put up a brave front, knowing that any sign of weakness would crush my kids, who are all Papa’s girls. I believe that children take after the strength you show them, and this has helped me and my daughters through their Papa’s passing and all the circumstances that we have found ourselves in after that. I am blessed that my girls have carried themselves well amid all the difficulties we face.
Sara Duterte, Davao City mayor, mother to a daughter and son
“[Motherhood has] taught me a love that never fades.”
Leila de Lima, detained senator, mother to two sons
Motherhood is a process. It’s never easy. It’s also a mix of emotions but mostly joy and happiness. It’s not so much of a fulfilment of being a woman, than of realizing the power of feeling and giving to someone a love that is unconditional and almost perfect. The love of a mother to her children is power that is more encompassing and absolute than any other kind, and dare I say the only kind that is incorruptible.
It is a feeling that never leaves. I am now in prison, experiencing the hard reality of what it is to be deprived of liberty. But still my number one concern is how my two sons are taking all of this. I am actually worried not for myself, but for them. I think that is just how it is. A mother’s first instinct is to worry about her children, rather than herself, in whatever kind of situation.
That is why more than anything else, being in prison has taken its toll primarily on my two sons because they are deprived of whatever care that I should still be providing them, especially to Israel, since Vincent is already a father and husband and more or less can already take care of himself.
This is also why I also chose to protect my own mother from the knowledge that her daughter is in prison. If I am so worried for my children, what more would my mother feel, if she finds out that her daughter is suffering this predicament. It would probably be too much for her to take, the same way that I am finding it difficult that at present I am unable to be with my two sons and grandchildren. We all do not want suffering to be visited upon our loved ones.
More often than not, we would rather be that we ourselves suffer in the place, because no suffering is greater than seeing your children suffer. So you’d rather take it for them, to take their sickness when they are ill, to dry their tears and instead cry for them, to absorb the pain they are feeling rather than watch them in pain, to carry the burden they are carrying rather than see them crushed under its weight. This is unconditional love.
I thank my children for letting me feel what it is all about. It is the most powerful thing that a woman can possess. And because of this, mothers endure. They persevere. They survive. They hope. They fight. I think giving women this powerful force as mothers is for example. Only death will stop her. Because of this love that only mothers can know, they never surrender, almost in any kind of situation. This is what I learned as a mother. This is why I am here, imprisoned.
More than ever, with my current situation, motherhood has deepened my resolve to fight for my causes for the sake of my children and their future.
Giving your all, even if there seems nothing more to give, to keep hoping when everything looks hopeless, to keep reaching for the unreachable.
Aira Faith Galvan Aldema
That it takes a lot of selflessness and all rounded efforts to [raise] a child who will be a good citizen of this country.
Gemma Espinola Mamucud
To love unconditionally here on earth and beyond.
Are you a mother yourself? What has motherhood taught you? Let us know! – Rappler.com
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