Even though motherhood is universal, each woman has her own unique story and these stories offer a wealth of knowledge that should be shared with all women around the world. I became even more aware of this while I was photographing a series of images titled My Pregnancy, in which I captured pregnant women from all walks of life, in settings inspired by the beauty found in elements of nature that also bring forth new life. I photographed seeds, eggs, buds, cocoons, nests and bulbs, and visually connected these beautiful nature elements with photographs of pregnant women – in my own way linking the continuous cycle of life.
When my daughter Sophie was three years old, I was sitting on the bed in her room reading to her a book about coral reefs. As I sat there showing her the beautiful pictures, with their explosion of color, I suddenly choked up and was unable to read any more, as I realized that Sophie is unlikely to ever see a healthy coral reef because of the impacts of climate change…
My mom has moved across the country, traveled on a tour bus and made many sacrifices, so that I could pursue my dreams… She has been my anchor, guide and an incredible role model to me. In so many ways, I would not be who I am or where I am today without her.
Watching my mother and grandmother taught me so much — seeing them nurture people and animals showed me, through their actions, what mattered most. They made so many sacrifices for our family, and they set the standard. They inspired me from childhood to volunteer and advocate for those less fortunate.
As mothers, we can spend too much time focused on our mistakes, rehashing in our minds years later the soccer games and plays we missed, the conversations we handled the wrong way, the challenges, the heartaches and our inadequacies.
Mothers are important to us all. They shape us, show us how to love and care for others. That is definitely the case with my mother, Lynda. She has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever known. She was a teacher and a health professional and spent her life putting others’ needs before her own. The part of me that is driven to make the world a better place is shaped by my mom.
It has been 20 years since Eugenie Mukeshimana hid under a child’s bed so silently, the child didn’t even know she was there. She found out later the family protecting her had four other women they were concealing. Her unusual hiding spot was the only place left.
World Health Day is celebrated on April 7th for the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. Each year a theme is highlighted as a public health care concern and priority, and this year’s theme is Preventing Vector-Borne Diseases.