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Melissa Doyle: “I’m proud to be a mother lion”

World Vision
6 May 2014 by Melissa Doyle
Melissa Doyle: “I’m proud to be a mother lion”

World Vision Ambassador Melissa Doyle with Syrian refugee children in Jordan.

This is an excerpt from World Vision Ambassador Melissa Doyle’s new book Alphabet Soup. We have 10 copies personally signed by Mel to give away to readers of our blog. Tell us your favourite Mother’s Day memory in the comments below for your chance to win.

There is something extraordinarily levelling about motherhood.

Our circumstances are vastly different, as are our challenges, but mothers the world over share one particular common trait: an instinct to do anything to protect our children.

That mother-lion streak was what surprised me the most when I first had my babies. The belief that I could and would do whatever was required to keep them safe and loved.

Maybe that’s what unites us as mothers. For it was meeting other women in remote, poverty-stricken parts of the world that taught me no matter how different our circumstances are, our motivations are the same.

Travelling to the Dadaab refugee camp in 2011 was one of the most depressing assignments of my career. But there I met women whose dignity and determination will stay in my memory forever.

Dadaab is a small remote town in Kenya, in the north-east of Africa, which is home to one of the world’s biggest refugee camps. It’s an enormous, dry, dusty expanse of tents, children and uprooted lives. It’s been there for close to twenty years, but recent droughts and civil war have forced more people to seek refuge and when we arrived nearly half a million were living there, having to queue for food, water and basic household items.

It’s a desperate, volatile place. One thousand five hundred people were pouring into the camp every day, the majority of them women and children. Most had walked all the way from Somalia.

Babies were crying, toddlers were tired and hungry. Between 40 and 50 per cent of all children there are acutely malnourished. Their mothers seemed to be barely holding it together. But they were the lucky ones. They told me the camp is better than what they left behind.

Such families had endured unbelievable heartache as many children had not survived the long walk to the camp. One woman I met had lost two children, her home and her livelihood, but not her dignity. She was tall and stood proud, her beautiful face clearly sad but positive at the same time. She carried her youngest child on her hip while the rest ran around and played behind the UNHCR tent that was now their home. They still managed to find some fun in this desolate environment, as only kids can do.

Tent, mud house or two-storey brick home—the details and challenges may be different but there is something so consistent and familiar about motherhood. And the recognition of that between mothers is a bond that unites us.

As a World Vision Ambassador I am humbled that I can be a voice for these children, and raise help funds to make their lives a little easier.

As a woman, I have a profound respect for the women I have met and admiration for what they face and how they manage.

I used to think I would never understand how these women in the Third World kept going, what strength drives them to walk hundreds of kilometres to a refugee camp, how they face another day when they lose a baby or worse, more children.

And although I don’t for a moment pretend to have an ounce of their strength, I think I understand a little more about what motivates them and drives them to survive at all costs.

Such drive is at the core of all mothers. Whatever our children need, we will do what we can to provide it for them, and I can see in these women a determination to fight on. I can’t imagine losing a child would hurt any less living in a refugee camp than in a comfortable four-bedroom suburban home. And I can’t imagine the desire to keep your babies close and safe is any less strong either.

These are the women I admire. Women whose sense of family is as strong as mine but whose challenges make mine pale. ‘First World problems’ as my husband says when I have a whinge about something that really doesn’t matter.

I wish we could all have a little more understanding for our wider mothers’ group. Meanwhile, I will teach my children to grow up with compassion and kindness and hope they will one day do their bit to extend a hand.

I feel so very proud that I too am a mother lion.

Stand up for mums and bubs this Mother’s Day:

Sign World Vision’s petition to end maternal and child deaths and buy a World Vision Gift for the mother in your life.

Don’t forget to share your favourite Mother’s Day memory below for you chance to win a signed copy of Alphabet Soup. Our judges will choose the best 10 entries and the winners will be announced on this blog post on Friday May 9, 2014 at 5pm.

Melissa Doyle Melissa Doyle

Melissa Doyle is a World Vision Ambassador, journalist, author and news presenter with the Seven Network Australia and weekend breakfast radio host on smoothfm. She is also the very proud mother of Nicholas and Talia.

 

43 Responses

  • joy says:

    My favourite mother’s day memory was when my mum was alive and we’d bake cookies together every Mother’s Day. I miss those days but cherish those memories. Mother’s Day is a tough day for those who have lost their mothers. I lost my mother to cancer.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Joy, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. As I told Leeanne, you never get over loosing your Mum, you just learn to manage. Well done and thanks for your memory 🙂

  • Fatma says:

    It’s not so much a a mother’s day memory coz 1, we don’t really celebrate mothers day and 2, mothers day is everyday

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Fatma, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and have a great ‘official’ Mothers Day.

  • Maryann Zammit says:

    The Best mothers day is spent when my family spend time together and enjoy a nice breakfast, being grateful to have each other. The gift of love is the best gift that a mother can have.

  • Sharon Philippa says:

    It was the last Mothers day when we had three generations of mothers in the same room. The last mothers day with my grandma. This year will be special too as my mum has Lewy Body Dementia and it may be her last.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Sharon, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and hope mothers day is extra special for you this year!!

  • Jo Shtaba Karta says:

    My best Mother’s day memory was almost 25 years ago. I was a single mum with little money. My son wanted to buy me a gift but was unable to. Instead he spent many hours drawing the car he was going to buy me when he grew up. The car had a chauffeur a pool table, bar, and swimming pool, as well as many other great improvements. I still have that picture, and treasure that car to this day!

  • Tina Johnson says:

    Mothers day is special to me…..and every other day that I get to spend with my children. Being loved unconditionally by my two children is the most wonderful thing ever and I am lucky enough to have that every day.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Tina, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory and great photo with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and have a great Mothers Day.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Tina, could you please email: socialmedia@worldvision.com.au and let me know your postal address. We want to send your signed copy of Alphabet Soup out to you asap.

      • Tina Johnson says:

        Thank you so much. My postal address is c/- Custom Air Conditioning Pty Ltd Unit 11, 34 – 36 Lidco Street Arndell Park NSW 2148. Regards,
        Tina Axisa
        Subject: Re: New comment posted on Melissa Doyle: “ I’ m proud to be a mother lion”

  • Leeanne Dodge says:

    My favourite mother’s day memory was one that I was anticipating
    to be a difficult day as it was the first mother’s day without my mum after I
    lost her to breast cancer and my first one as a mum myself. But instead my
    wonderful husband and son made it one to remember for all the right reasons, as
    a loving family thankful for our time together.

    • Guest says:

      Hi Laeanne, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and have another great Mothers Day. You never get over loosing your Mum, you just learn to manage. All the best!!

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Leeanne, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and have another great Mothers Day. You never get over loosing your Mum, you just learn to manage. All the best!!

  • Robyn Salt says:

    I find Mothers day quite hard as my own mother passed in 2002 and my girls are in Perth and New Zealand while I’m in Queensland. I soon cheer up when the telephone or Skype ring as I know they are still with me. You bring your children up to be independent and strong and because of that you have also have to be…

  • Leica Pitt says:

    I would have to say without a doubt my favorite mothers day memory was when I was a single mum with my two little boys they weren’t aloud to touch the toaster and kettle as they where to young so they got up early and arranged a banana in the middle of the plate and a mandarin on the outside of the plate and got a glass of orange juice they came in and yelled out happy mothers day and gave me breakfast in bed, they where 6 and 4 at the time. They are now grown men with their own families and it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. A very special memory.

  • Alicia Hepper says:

    The best mothers day memory I have is a recent one. My second daughter was born the day before mothers day and I was able to bring her home on Mothers Day( the following day) she was less then 24 hours old and I was able to spend my mother’s day with my two year old and brand new baby girl ♡♡ This year my Mother’s day will be shared with my second daughter, celebrating her 1st birthday, surrounded by family and friends and especially my two girls ♡♡

  • Cathy says:

    My best Mothers Day was when I was young as a single Mum very poor of course lol, and I got the most beautiful hand made card and a little cement painted cat for the garden from my little girl that she has sourced from the Mothers Day Stall at school for $1.oo 🙂 Memories irreplaceable !

  • Belinda Maher says:

    My favorite mothers day was 2yrs ago when my mum and I celebrated it together in Melbourne and I took her there and we shopped till we dropped and had so much mother and daughter time it was brilliant and the best♡

  • Kristy Geddes Michael Geddes says:

    I remember waking up as a small child and helping cook brekkie for mum in bed with dad onlooking I think that the toast was a little no a LOT overdone and the spreading of the butter and vegemite was pretty unappetising but the look on my mums face is a memory that will stay with me the days of my life she was just so happy to see me and that I had made her brekky and she continued on to eat every last piece of that toast too!!! Unconditiional love……..

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Kristy, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and enjoy Mothers Day.

      • Kristy Geddes Michael Geddes says:

        Hi TimJ I have emailed you my details about a week or so ago just wondering if you have sent the book yet I am so excited to recieve and read it! Thanks.

        • TimJ, World Vision team says:

          Hi Kristy, yes we did receive your postal details (thank you) and I remember seeing one of my colleagues skipping off to the mailroom with the books a few days ago!! Shouldn’t be too long now. Have a great weekend 🙂

  • Kylie Rogash says:

    My favourite memory is of my 8yr old daughter taking notes and writing instructions on how I like my coffee made so she could make me breakfast in bed all by herself, then climbing in to join me. She is 11yrs old and still keeps the instructions to refer back to for my birthday & Mother’s Day. Love her to pieces.

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Kylie, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you. Well done and have a great Mothers Day.

  • Julie Newlands says:

    My best Mother’s Day was being able to talk about the good times with my Mum. That doesn’t happen anymore as my Mum is gradually losing her memories. She has Dementia and it breaks my heart seeing her slip away. We have seen mum fight Breast Cancer and now to be dealt this. I will make the most of my mum this year, while she still knows me 🙂

    • TimJ, World Vision team says:

      Hi Julie, thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s Day memory with us 🙂 Please email socialmedia@worldvision.com.au with your postal details so we can send a signed copy of Alphabet Soup to you 🙂 Well done and all the best to your Mum this Mothers Day.

  • Helen Richards says:

    I have the best Mother’s Day every year since both my boys were born.Each year they have shown me how much they love me by doing little things, and being there when I need them. They make me so proud to be a mother. By the way they are now 32 & 30 and they will always be my “little boys”. Love you Daniel & Adam. XXXXXX

  • Michelle Jones says:

    My best Mother’s Day was last year as it was my first Mother’s Day and I spent it with family!

  • Jenny Esots says:

    Mothers’ day is a very hard day, as my mum passed away 20 years ago. For myself as a mother I don’t like a fuss. A cup of tea and reading in bed for brekkie is bliss.

  • Karla Clark says:

    I am proud to say I gave birth to my beautiful daughter on Sunday 14 year ago. She will celebrate her birthday and I will celebrate Motherhood. We have a special bond, a connection that wont ever be broken. If I can choice my favorite part of motherhood is when my daughter arranges to have dinner or a coffee together. This is where we unite snd have our special chats.

  • Cathy Stone says:

    My best mother’s day memory was spent cuddling and kisses with my kids in bed, reading their homemade cards and enjoying opening their home made gifts made at school, reflecting and celebrating our special bond and love and what we all have achieved since I became a mum. Then my hubby and my kids cooked me my favourite baked dinner with sticky date pudding and it was so yum. Then we went to visit my mum (grandma) and had a special afternoon tea with all the cakes she like to eat. I wrote her a poem to express how much she means and then gave her favorite pot of flowers to plant in the garden to keep. They bloom so brightly and is a perfect reminder to my mum that she is so special, the sunshine of our life and Number 1 mum.

  • Jaime May says:

    Best Mother’s Day memory today.. attempting to get a photo with my three munchkins and my beautiful Mum… of course the kids wouldn’t comply so we ended up in a heap on the grass laughing. Blessed chaos! Beyond thankful for a healthy family and a beautiful, safe home. My heart is full.

  • Ron Dawson says:

    You have a book!!! Oh, I know a specail Woman in my life who could do with a copy, my lovely wife…

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