“There is Strength in Numbers”: A letter from GHSP Nurse Educator and Midwife, Tess Weidner, to the mothers of Tanzania.
Dear Tanzanian mothers,
Mimi ninaitwa Tess. Mimi ni mkunga. Mimi ni hapa kukusaidia.
My name is Tess. I am a midwife. I am here to help.
I know that I have already learned more from you than I could ever give back. I may not speak fluent Swahili and I certainly do not have all the skills or resources to save every baby or to heal every woman, but I am here. I am by your side. I promise I will do my best to stay true to myself and stand by you in moments of happiness and sorrow. I will try to share my strength by holding your hand, offering a simple smile, or resting next to you in silence.
They teach us in midwifery school about women empowerment. They say it helps women to believe in themselves, to trust their bodies, and to believe in their ability to birth a future life.
I believe that you cannot teach empowerment, but that rather, it lies within.
Mothers, I will strive to be your advocate. I will do my best to help create a safe space for you and your baby. I will try to help you to realize the power you hold within. I promise to shower you with kindness. I hope to stand confident in your presence while showing that we all have weaknesses. I can assure you that I will be honest. I may be able to help, but in the end, it is you who will find the strength, the power, and the confidence to reach the maturation of your own personal path.
In light of what is going on in the world today, particularly in my own home country, I thank you. I thank you for reminding me of my own strength, my own boundaries, and my own ambitions. Woman amaze me. From young girls to the elderly, we are many; we are mighty.
Mothers please be patient with me as I try to learn a new social and medical culture as well as a new language. We need one another to get through the good and the bad days. I invite you to smile, cry, or scream with me. Don’t run away from the pain, embrace it. Don’t hide the tears for they water and nourish your growth. Let your body feel, let your soul breath. I urge you to just BE YOU.
Here is to the mothers, mothers to be, young girls, and babies… may you all realize how very special each and every one of you are. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your most vulnerable yet incredibly momentous moments. Thank you for helping me to realize the extent of my own courage. Thank you for being you.
With all my love,