I'm excited to introduce you all to my sister-in-law, Jill. She recently asked if she could write a post for this series, and I happily welcomed her to contribute. Her story warmed my heart!
Is there room for one more?
Five months ago, I did something I never thought I would do. Those of you who know me know what I’m talking about. I became a mom, or mama, mommy, even mum if you'd like. I have never had anything against being a mom, but I had always felt that we were already overpopulating our once ample planet and consuming its ever-shrinking resources. There were already so many tiny little souls in the world without parents, without homes and without regular access to food and water; it was hard for me to consciously choose to add another.
Now that our son is here, I find myself reflecting on this new experience with humility. I feel deeply grateful, but almost ashamed at times, that we are able to offer our son so much that so many other moms around the world cannot. He has his own room with a clean, brand-new crib. Actually, he has brand-new everything: clothes, furniture, blankets, and humidifier. His possessions grow daily. I contrast this with my experience of caring for young mothers in Nepal during a recent OB GYN mission trip there. Whole families live in one small room with no bathroom, no sink and no electricity. There are no Pottery Barn cribs, organic cotton baby clothes, BPA-free bottles or “sleep sheep.” There certainly are not video baby monitors to watch your little one sleep while you are off in your own bed.
Those are just physical possessions. For me, the most humbling aspect is being able to provide his most basic needs without stress or worry of whether I am able to. I drink as much clean water as I want each day. I am able to nurse him when he is hungry because I can eat enough and drink enough to provide him with his nutritional needs. He has clean bath water, clean clothes and a clean place to sleep. Worrying about providing these basics is commonplace in most of the developing world, where notably, the majority of the human population resides.
Finally, I welcome the addition of the new mundane mom activities—begrudgingly at times. The car seat carrying, the bottle washing, the diaper bag organizing and the bum wiping. These tasks and chores remind me I am one very fortunate mama.
Jill Tydell is a family medicine physician who practices in Racine, WI. She regularly participates in medical service trips abroad and appreciates the perspective this provides. She lives in Illinois with her wonderful family and is honored to practice primary care medicine.