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The Inheritance of Strength

A Mother’s Day Tribute: Finding Inner Strength Through Motherhood.

Image courtesy of Kakeka ThunderSky

When I received a postcard from my mom last month, I almost started crying. “Wish you were closer,” it read. “I’ll be waiting here for you”

I never expected that at 33, I’d still need my mom as much as I do— but I needed her a lot this year. I think in many ways a lot of us did. While I am fortunate to be able to talk with her on the phone almost every day, those few marks of ink on paper somehow meant so much to me. They were exactly what I needed. I have learned so much from my Mom over the years. Her strength as a young, single mother has always given me the push I needed to keep going when things get hard. I remind myself, if she could raise two kids while working at a bar and go back to school twice, then I could certainly call and make a dentist appointment on my own. All jokes aside though, I am so grateful to have her with me to channel her strength.

When I started thinking about putting together a piece to celebrate mothers, I came to the realization that so many people don’t share this experience, that Mother’s day is a time that can be extremely straining on those whose moms or children are gone, missing, sick, emotionally distant. That not everyone has a mother or mother figure to send them notes of support on rainy days.

This piece is dedicated to the mothers and children who move through this day feeling heavy, uncertain or alone. You are so deserving of kindness and love and my heart goes out to you.

I can’t imagine what it has been like for many women who have become mothers over the last year or so: To navigate motherhood mostly alone or perhaps with a clueless partner, has presented so many unforeseeable obstacles in parenting. New families starting out with no hands-on help, no mommy-and-me playgroups, and no other support through it all. It really got me thinking of the immense strength and determination mothers must endure. The common fears and anxieties that come with motherhood is already hard enough. And now, there are so many new challenges you learn to deal with along the way. Some have to learn all on their own.

With physical distance brought on by social distancing, isolation and travel restrictions, you may feel alone right now. Sometimes you need to search for the love and support you need and deserve. There is so much to be said about independence and strength, but I believe the biggest pillar of strength is asking for help.

I spoke to Kakeka ThunderSky, a Landback Activist from Winnipeg, fighting for the Liberation and Embodied Sovereignty for Indigenous People. I was inspired by her writing, her strength and the connection she has with her daughter. Kakeka is also a contributor for @redrisingmagazine, an annually printed magazine created by an Indigenous Collective of Writers, Artists and Leaders. As a new mom who uncovered her strength after giving birth, she shares how she inherited strength from her mother and growing up to find that power again on her own.

“In the work we do we are always told to do it for the children. That we come from the land, but we don’t own it, we borrow it from our children. Because of this I always knew and believed it was all of our responsibilities to take care of all children, always. When I was a baby born to my mom I was instantly connected to all my ancestors who were born before me, and now as a new mother my daughter is continuing that legacy.
After her birth, I felt so strong and powerful, but I know that she is more strong and powerful than me. Watching her grow and find her voice and grow into herself is a blessing that I am honoured to witness. Becoming a mother has humbled me and allowed me to be vulnerable within my family. I lost my biological mother 5 years ago and being a new mom has forced me to face my trauma and anxieties and grow from them, because I love my daughter too much to project those onto her. When it gets hard I think about my mom and grandmothers. I think about my baby's relatives and how loved she is. She has always been loved, because in this work we have been protecting and taking care of her inheritance before she was even born.” -- Kakeka ThunderSky



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1 Comment

Beautiful article, Shauna! ❤❤❤

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