Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Girl Effect

Mothers Day. I thank my mother for many things. There are a few things that I’m annoyed about (like the lack of sparkly, silver party shoes), and we haven’t always got on – there have been times in her life when she has been under pressure and our relationship grew distant, but it’s only now as a mother myself that I can appreciate the things that are really important.

She (and my father) gave me a comfortable home where I was encouraged to make the most of my education, become professionally qualified and to believe in myself. She has been there for me through the good times in my life (despite the argument about whether egg mayonnaise should feature on our wedding buffet menu) even when things have been hard for her, and she has been a rock throughout the hardest time I can ever imagine facing, when our son was diagnosed with leaukaemia . For the 3 following years which included the gruelling chemo regime that Blue had to undergo, and Pink’s birth by emergency caesarean (we’re talking general anaesthetic here), she regularly dropped everything to drive 250 miles and pick up the threads of life for us when Blue had unscheduled hospital visits, on top of regularly spending weeks at a time with us over particularly hard periods of chemo. I will never be able to thank her enough for what she has done for me.

But what if I didn’t have a mother who could support me like that? What if the situation was different. One of my friends has been working on a project with her sixth form students about maternal mortality, and the impact of poverty still has in a horrible cycle that is robbing the world of mothers. I couldn't attend a fundraiser she ran yesterday, but listening to her has made me think. What if I had grown up in a place (not necessarily third world) where my mother’s life was so hard that she couldn’t give me the support that my mother gave me through those difficult times. Or that she couldn’t be there for the good times too. That thought makes me so sad.
I am lucky – I have a wonderful mother, and I hope that I can be at least half as wonderful a mother for my own children. But some people don’t even get the chance.

Perhaps you could take the time to consider  The Girl Effect .

Makes you think, doesn't it.


  1. I loved the clip, it brought tears to my eyes. As the mother of three little girls (and a boy) it feels very close to my heart...

  2. It does make you think.

    It's interesting that we find this situation so unusual now. It's not too long ago (in the scheme of things) that girls were married and having children at 12 years old, if not earlier. And not just in poverty, but in the highest of classes.

    Take Margaret Beaufort for example. Countess of Richmond and Derby. Mother of King Henry VII, Grandmother of famous King Henry VIII. Born in 1443, and married for the first time in 1450. Yes. That's not a misprint. She was 7 years old. Her second marriage was at the age of 12 years, and she had her son, the future King, at 13 years old. She was also married a further two times.

    Philippa Gregory's fictional take on the events in "The Red Queen" makes for interesting reading. It reminds us that young girls often have their life controlled for them; regardless of class or wealth.

    Great clip. Thought provoking stuff.


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