Mother's Day Reflections

A few things that were sent to me for Mother’s Day. First, to take you back in a time machine, here’s a clip from The Cosby Show at its best. It was shown at an event I spoke at on Saturday night, and as soon as I got home I showed it to my family. It’s awfully funny:

And now for something completely different.

Do you know what a fistula is? It’s an endemic health problem women face across the Third World, and it happens because of lack of obstetrical care. Basically, when you’re in labour, you get a bad tear on your vagina which goes all the way through to your urethra or even your anus. And because of that tear, fluids (and other things) can start coming out of your vagina and you have no control over it. So you become a pariah to your community, because you stink, and it’s often assumed that God cursed you.

The problem is far worse among the very young moms, whose bodies just aren’t ready for labour.

Here’s a story of a 13-year-old who was raped, and faced labour alone for three days until she delivered a stillborn baby. And she had a huge fistula.

Mahabouba smelled foul, and villagers thought she had been cursed by God. They put her in a hut at the edge of the village and took off the door — so the hyenas would get her that night.

When the hyenas came, Mahabouba used a stick to fend them off. The next morning she set off crawling to get to an American missionary who lived more than 30 miles away. The missionary took her to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, where she met Steven Arrowsmith, an American urologist from Grand Rapids, Mich.

It’s the story of Christian missionary doctors who have gone to Africa to help treat this horrible problem–and surgery can fix it.

The story focused on Steven Arrowsmith, but I have a friend doing a similar thing in Uganda, Jean Froese, and she’s started a charity called Save the Mothers, which helps women suffering from pregnancy-related problems. If you’re feeling especially grateful this Mother’s Day, it would be wonderful to spread some of that gratitude to other mothers who don’t have what we do.

I have had difficult labours. I simply cannot imagine going through labour alone, as a teenage girl. And yet millions upon millions of women do that every year. We are so, so blessed, even those of us who are going through relationship difficulties. And reading that article reminded me of it once again, and so I thought I would share it with you.

I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday with your families. I certainly did, and I am grateful once again for all God has given me.


  1. I was in labor for 28 or 29 hours, I forget, and ended up with a emergency c-section. But my Hubby was there the whole time, and stuck with me for all those hours. And those hours afterwards when I was drugged up and couldn’t get out of bed but wanted to hold my baby. It breaks my heart to read stories like this and I praise God for those who are able and willing to take care of girls like Mahabouba. thank you for bring this to my attention, Sheila!
    Rachael recently posted…Reflections on MotherhoodMy Profile

  2. That video was very funny, a definite “win” for him! I had to share that on my husband’s facebook page because I knew he would appreciate it. And I am so grateful for the missionaries in those countries that are using their medical knowledge to bless others and be the hands and feet of God. Thank you for sharing these links for us to look further into it.

    ~Nicole, Working Kansas Homemaker
    Nicole recently posted…Workin’ It Mondays ~ 8My Profile

  3. This has nothing to do with this post, but I couldn’t find an e-mail address to e-mail you about a question I have about a website that explains how to live a Christian life, but at the bottom of the site it shows a strange ad that flashes something quite disturbing. I know how influential you are and smart too, and thought maybe you would know why the blogger would allow such an ad and if there’s any way to do something about it. For new Christians, or anyone, for that matter, and having the reputation of great ministers being displayed on the site, I was wondering if anything can be done about it. If you would like the url for the site so you can see what I’m talking about, please let me know by leaving a reply to this post or sending me an e-mail. Thank you.

    • I don’t think I can really help on this one! I think you’d need to email the person themselves. Do they have an email address?

  4. Isn’t it amazing just what a little shift in perspective does for us?

    We think we have it bad until we see someone else who has it really bad.

    We are truly blessed.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…On Living Your Dream – Why Being Brave (Even When Afraid) Is A Good IdeaMy Profile

  5. I loved the video! So funny and sweet!

    I’m so saddened by what those women and girls experience, and thankful that there are ministries available to help.

    I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day, Sheila. :)
    Jen recently posted…the difference between a scratch, a tickle-scratch, and a tickleMy Profile

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