THE CHILD MOTHER: (third in mother’s day series)
I met this beautiful young Wodaabe mother during my latest travels to the Azawak. I greatly enjoyed watching her with her baby… and also without her child. In fact, I recognized myself as a first-time mom many years ago… more comfortable with chores that I was accustomed to accomplishing, and a bit confused about how to be with my baby.
She seemed eager to do everything except hold her baby. She was of course very sweet with her child, took good care of breastfeeding him, and as soon as he had finished feeding, handed him over to the multiple aunts surrounding her or her grandmother to get back to work fetching water at the well, preparing the family meals, and even assisting her aunt build her new home. Luckily, the women around her seemed enthusiastic to help, preferring to hold baby boy rather than do the harder work.
It all worked out in the end, and reminded me how rich these communities are socially to have such a strong support system so that children are never left without a caregiver, and mothers have a strong social network to provide relief and help throughout their motherhood.