Mom's the word: sisterhood of SA women spreads the love
Campaign is all about visiting new mothers across the country and giving them support on Mother's Day
When Katie Kangleas visited a stranger in the maternity ward in a Johannesburg hospital last year she didn’t expect the new mother to name her baby after her.
“When Katie visited this new mother in hospital, they just chatted and shared a special bond. The bond was so special that she decided to name her baby Katie. They exchanged numbers and have kept in touch. That’s the power of relationships. It wasn’t a transactional thing. Katie just wanted to congratulate a new mother and show her kindness,” Embrace movement leader Julie Mentor said.
This year Katie will join more than 1,000 South African women who have signed up to visit new mothers in hospital on Sunday.
“Now in its third year, Mother’s Day Connect aims to make new mothers feel special by organising visits to birthing facilities on Mother’s Day and asking the women of South Africa to spend an hour of their time visiting them and giving support,” Mentor explained.The aim was to show a new mother that there was a “sisterhood of mothers” to support her.
“Mother’s Day Connect is an opportunity to rally together as women to celebrate and support new mothers at a sacred point in their motherhood journey. It is an opportunity for women to extend the circle of sisterhood to include mothers at a time when the care and connections of sisterhood are most needed.”“We spend one hour of our Mother’s Day encouraging, listening to, laughing with and honouring mothers who have birthed their babies over the Mother’s Day weekend.”
It started in 2016 when Mentor decided to honour her son’s biological mother.
“I wanted to do something that would pay tribute to her and I thought about the new mothers who would be alone in hospital.
“Our ties to motherhood give us many common experiences that we’re able to lean on as we start conversations and build connections. In a society that has historically kept us separate, our shared motherhood provides a navigation tool to slowly and respectfully create paths towards each other,” said Mentor.A year later more than 400 volunteers joined Embrace, a movement focused on early motherhood and part of the DG Murray Trust, to visit 1,530 new mothers in six cities around the country.This year they will visit new mothers in eight provinces.
“It is also about celebrating motherhood. Motherhood is a hard journey but it’s also an incredibly joyful journey. At Embrace we believe that celebration isn’t frivolous. It’s powerful.
“We are not coming in as women to fix or act as the expert. We are literally coming in as fellow women in the country to celebrate and honour new moms.”
Mentor added that Embrace was not a charity.
“We are a movement focused on supporting mothers, particularly in their first 1,000 days, and making connections between mothers and mother supporters to share the journey together.”