Reflecting on Mother’s Day: it takes a village

By Jennifer Stewart

Like many women, Melanie Davis fell in love the minute she laid eyes on her first born.

“I remember the moment he held my gaze as I cradled him in my arms,” she recalled. “The moment our eyes met, I became a breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, attached mum—and didn’t look back.”

When she became pregnant with her second child, she expected everything would be the same. But shortly after giving birth to her daughter, she was struck by a mysterious illness that threw her family into crisis.

“I temporarily lost the ability to see, to walk, and to essentially be the mother I wanted to be,” she said.

Unable to walk or see and semi-conscious for the majority of her two-month-long hospital stay, Melanie was unable to care for her 3-year-old son, her infant daughter, and provide support to her partner who was left to take care of their family while she recovered.

Fortunately, Melanie’s family didn’t fall apart.

Family, friends and neighbours rallied around them. Family members helped take care of the children during the day so her partner could go to work. Neighbours provided meals so the family could sit down to a home cooked supper every night. And Melanie was given access to immediate and intensive medical care that eventually led to a full recovery.

“We were extremely fortunate,” she said of her experience. “I was able to get immediate medical treatment, and people jumped in and provided the support we desperately needed at home. Not every family – and not every mother – is as lucky as we were.”

Photo by Brittany Nguyen

Melanie would know. As the Director for Community Engagement at SOS Children’s Villages Canada, Melanie has seen the reality of mothers and families across the globe struggling to provide the most basic necessities of life each day. Sadly, babies and young children are often orphaned and abandoned due to lack of support and care.

SOS Children’s Villages is working hard to change that.

SOS Children’s Villages not only provides safe and nurturing family homes to over 75,000 orphaned and abandoned children, the organization helps keep families together through its Family Strengthening Programs.

Recently, Melanie had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to witness first-hand the impact those programs have on the communities – and mothers – that need them the most.

What she saw was nothing short of remarkable.

“Thanks to our incredibly generous donors, SOS is able to provide much-needed support in the communities,” she said. “This includes everything from food, formula, and clothing, to vital medical care for a parent who is ill, and child care programs so the other parent can go to work and continue to support the family.”

It was the very same type of care and support her own family had received, only a few short years ago.

This Mother’s Day, why not honour your mother by empowering another?

From now until May 14, by sending a free SOS Mother’s Day eCard to your mother, or a mother figure in your life, Intact Insurance will donate $10 towards SOS Children’s Villages’ Family Strengthening Programs, so that this great work can continue.

When vulnerable families fall apart, SOS steps in and helps keep them together. Send an eCard today, and help empower mothers and families across the globe.

Now that’s a gift everyone can feel good about.