A Musing on the Risks of Motherhood: A Note to My Big Sis

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Today we have a very special post by Sharifa that is an homage to her late sister and a topic that has become very personal to her – pregnancy, motherhood, and womanhood. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the post and share this topic with your community. As fertility, pregnancy, and women’s health issues are discussed in the news, media, and government – keep in mind that what is being discussed is actual people’s health and their bodies. Immensely personal and often live-changing. Too often we take our own existence for granted – this post is a wonderful reminder to remember that we still have room to grow in respect and consideration for women. Sometimes it takes a humanizing event to truly bring to light the importance of an issue – but that’s not something we should wish on anyone. Let’s work to raise awareness in every way we can. Thank you for writing this, Sharifa. –Amanda



A Musing on the Risks of Motherhood: A Note to My Big Sis

by Sharifa Simon-Roberts


According to the World Health Organization, between 1990 and 2008, “the proportion of maternal deaths among females of reproductive age in the United States rose from 0.7% to 1.3%.” I personally was surprised to learn there had in fact been an increase. I mistakenly thought the improvements and developments taking place in the world of health would have automatically resulted in a percentage drop.


I realized recently, it is as though my blog posts are in sync with events – Thyroid Awareness Month, Valentine’s Day, etc., so I thought why veer from what has seemingly become my style – writing a post for a special occasion. This time it’s Mother’s Day along with Pregnancy Awareness Month.


Within the last few years I have gained a newfound appreciation for a woman’s journey through pregnancy and the delivery of her offspring. Several risks exist – to the mother, baby and/or both. Complications may arise during the pregnancy; or actual birth whether the delivery is natural or surgical; or immediately after.


While I have not spoken about this aspect of my life much, or even at all to some people, I lost my sister the day after she gave birth to her only child. That’s when I realized truly, pregnancy is a serious affair. I no longer automatically think those nine months (give or take) are going to be smooth sailing. I do not have the expectation that delivery will be an easy ride. Nope! In my opinion, it’s so ironic a woman could be at the edge of the ledge while simultaneously bringing a human being into the world.


I remember my sister, telling me how much she wanted to start a family and become a mother and the last thing she did was fulfill the goal of becoming a mother.


I am grateful for my niece and I love her dearly. I am sorry though, my sister is not physically present and my niece can not experience milestones with her mother.  I could only imagine the type of mother she would have been. Also, I miss my big sister – the lessons she imparted to me, her laugh, her smile… Those are moments I can no longer share with her.


As you can tell, this piece is personal to me. If I can make a suggestion, this Mother’s Day, Women’s Health Week, and month of May –  especially, give all the women in your life who are mothers a special hug. They do not have to be your biological mother, or even mother figures to you. The mere fact that they are a mother and have come out of those nine months + delivery, is a feat in itself. Cherish them. I know this post is specifically around Mothers’ Day but the more often these women experience these loving sentiments, even outside of Mothers’ Day, the better.


Giselle, this one’s for you. You are missed. Just before you left, you gave us a present for which we are grateful and will continue to treasure. Happy Mother’s Day to you. Much love – Shari.


I welcome hearing about your experiences with pregnancy. Or you can you can take a different approach and share with us something which is unique about Mothers’ Day or Women’s Health Week for you.


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