22-year-old Sharifa is one of the thousands of Afghan mothers struggling to overcome the hurdles that are posed by a healthcare system weakened by decades of war, poor facilities, and social and cultural barriers that are difficult to break.
I’m writing to you this Mother’s Day, at this challenging time for humanity, for you and me and for all mothers and their children.
You should never forget one thing: tough times don’t last, but tough people do!
First I have to tell you what happened this morning.
It was a bright day, like the day I first met you. The first thing that happened to me was I got a call on my radio, announcing the first baby delivered today. It was her first pregnancy. It’s not easy to become a mother. But it’s also the most beautiful thing that can happen to a woman.
As I ran to help, I clearly remembered my own delivery. You were always stubborn, and my delivery wasn’t easy. It started on Tuesday morning and finished on Wednesday afternoon. You wanted your time, your pace and your rules.
Until that moment, I was just a nurse. Suddenly I became a mother and a nurse. That day, my life changed forever.
We both remember my endless shifts, and you always understood the love that I have for my job. You knew how to share me with sick children they needed me more than you did. We were growing together, always striving to be better people.
You understood the nurse who was also your mother, and I am forever grateful.
It’s 10 May and the roses are blossoming in Anabah. Twelve babies will be born tonight, 12 new mothers looking at their little bundles of joy, 12 hearts blossoming with love.
Being a mother in Afghanistan is extremely important. Without children, it’s hard to gain respect and appreciation in this society. That’s why our role is so serious; we have to help them keep their babies safe and healthy.
If you’d been born in Afghanistan, your name would be Morsal. Morsal is the Persian word for Rose. It’s no coincidence; there’s no such a thing as coincidence. The roses were planted in Anabah the same year you were born.
In this challenging time, I have to protect the roses of Anabah. I have to protect the mothers and babies of Anabah. They have no one but us.
You are the rose of my soul. You will understand. As you always have.
I’m sure we’ll be together soon. I miss laughing out loud madly with you, walking on the beach, looking at you while you’re sleeping.
But, before that, we have to stay strong, to protect the weak, as we always have, to make a plan to build a better world.
I’ll love you forever.
Monika is the Medical Coordinator of our Anabah Maternity Centre, in Afghanistan. She is also a mother, and today she wanted to share this letter with us.
To whom is far away, to whom is near, to whom is a mother and to whom will soon become a mother. To those who can’t wait for a hug, to those who are still surprised when they hear themselves called “mum”. To those who take care of others as they would take care of their children. To those who strive to build a better world inside or outside a hospital. To all of you, happy Mother’s Day.