Bittersweet Reckoning: Newfound Respect for Mothers

Dec 23 , 2023
By Eden Sahle

I was struck with a profound understanding of the challenges and selflessness it takes to nurture a life during the quiet moments of reflection. The depth of a parent's sacrifice is unfolded as the responsibilities and joys of motherhood begin.

The birth of my daughter ushered in not just a new chapter of life but a different level of respect for the woman who had once been a stranger— my mother. She accidentally left Ethiopia and chose to stay while my father navigated the challenges of single parenthood with grace, despite the void during her absence.

I was no stranger to parental guidance. Until my beloved father took his last breath a year and a half ago, he was the guide, protector and architect behind my aspirations. His devotion knew no bounds while providing for me emotionally, spiritually and materially. He left behind a legacy of love, sacrifice and unwavering support as a sole parent. I grew up recounting the tales of his deeds, emphasized by friends and relatives that the only thing he allowed my mother to do alone was pregnancy and childbirth. His involvement in our lives, his commitment to providing, and his tireless efforts spoke volumes of a man who fulfilled both parental roles with unparalleled devotion.

Nearly two decades later, my mother re-entered my life. For a while, accepting her as a mother felt like an inadvertent dismissal of my father's years of hard work and sacrifice. Our attempts to forge a new relationship proved challenging, as the gaps of separation were too long and too wide to bridge effortlessly. While she recounted tales of my infancy and toddlerhood, the emotional connection remained elusive. The baby she knew was not the adult I had become, and the complex emotions surrounding her absence as a mother lingered. The attempt to rebuild a mother-daughter bond proved more intricate than either of us had anticipated.

Then I became a mother.

It was like unveiling the profound nature of the sacrifices my mother made. The journey into motherhood exposed the physical and emotional toll of labour and the subsequent healing process. The demands of nursing, coupled with the exhaustion, sleep deprivation and relinquishing of personal freedoms, became apparent. The theoretical understanding of my mother's sacrifices transformed into a practical, lived experience.

I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my mother's sacrifices. The difficulties I once dismissed as exaggerated tales became tangible experiences, etching a profound appreciation in my heart. Although she may not have been there for most of my life, the challenges she faced when I was a vulnerable child should be recognised.

I was told to had been a fussy baby. As I cradled my daughter, I recognised the monumental task of sustaining a newborn round-the-clock. The sleepless nights, the relentless care and the perpetual nurturing demanded a level of resilience and dedication that surpassed all expectations.

With this newfound perspective, I gained an incredible level of respect and appreciation not only for mine but for all mothers. Regardless of the circumstances, they are heroes who tirelessly dedicate themselves to the well-being of their children. The choices they make are not measured in years but in every waking moment, as they waltz the intricate dance of motherhood.

I witness my mother holding and playing with my daughter and imagine her doing the same with me. While my heart aches that my father did not live to meet my child, the bittersweet reality is that I now appreciate my mother's role during the early years.

Motherhood has a unique way of unveiling the depth of a parent's love and the complexities of familial bonds. I am grateful for the opportunity to comprehend and respect my mother's journey better. Nothing can erase the pain caused by her decision to leave, but my newfound understanding allows me to acknowledge the sacrifices made during my infancy.

Becoming a mother has unravelled layers of understanding and respect that were previously hidden. It was a transformative journey that not only forged a connection with my past but has opened my heart to a new level of compassion and empathy. The melody of motherhood plays a profound chord—one that resonates with the struggles and immeasurable love.

PUBLISHED ON Dec 23,2023 [ VOL 24 , NO 1234]

Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law with a focus on international economic law. She can be reached at

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