By: Rachel Pierre Louis
Rachel is a beautiful mother and social activist in Haiti. She absolutely adores her 3-year-old daughter, Abigail, and is passionate about equipping other mothers to provide for their families through a sewing co-op she founded called Kay Fanm Haiti/2nd Chance Project. Below are her thoughts about motherhood in Haiti.
To you motherhood might mean the joy the morning when your doctor told you that you were expecting a baby; the excitement to see that baby for the first time; the excitement of choosing names, baby clothes, posting pictures of the baby bumps. It is like, “oh God why is it taking so long for the baby to come.” For some Haitian mothers, it can be a moment of shame and embarrassment if you are a church member who got pregnant before marriage. It can go as far as putting you out of the church, or they can put you and the whole family out of the church community.
Haitian mothers are hardworking people. They are not afraid to travel in a big charcoal truck every single day from one town to port au prince, no matter how many miles that might be just to be able to provide for their children. Most of the time it is at the risk of our own lives, often getting robbed while traveling, raped, and some even dying from road fatality. Haitian mothers are like producers behind a scene, no one really sees their value; no one cares to tell them how much they are appreciated. But still, they are the early morning riser in order to make sure there is food for the kids to eat before going to school. They are mothers who suffer in silence so their kids can become lawyers, doctors, nurses, presidents, but most of the time the only thing they often get in return is being humiliated, put down and abused. Unless someone is strong enough to take a stand and say or do something the cycle will continue.
I believe that women’s organization in Haiti have a lot of work to do. They must restore lives and bring hope, but mostly the mentality needs to change. Women in Haiti have to learn and begin to see themselves as the beauty that God created them to be no matter what grade they reached, rich or poor, married or not married, sexually abused or not - we all matter and motherhood is not a curse or an obligation but an opportunity and a blessing, but unless someone helps Haitian mothers get to that point, they will continue to see themselves as useless, damaged good, etc…
Haitian mothers deserve better, and we can be apart of making that happen.
Happy Mother’s Day to every mother who is fortunate enough to celebrate this special occasion.