- Faith & Family
The joys of motherhood have been praised countless times. From the gift of bringing a life into this world, to the prospect of molding a person into a useful member of society to finally the peace of mind brought by having someone dedicated to looking after you in your old age – are all among the “perks” of motherhood.
However, along with the great benefits of being a mother, there is also unimaginable pain and stress that are part of the bargain. From losing a child to worrying about family finances to the burden of being responsible for a person’s every need, “mamas” have a heavy load to bear.
The Miami Times spoke with a few women in the community who have had to overcome the sorrows that motherhood can bring.
Loretta Lorene Crews
Forty-eight year old Loretta Lorene Crews had always wanted to be a mother.
“I love kids,” she said. “I wish I had had a lot more kids instead of four because I always wanted them.”
Crews eventually had four children. Over the years, she enjoyed teaching them about “the right thing to do, to finish school, to become a professional and to respect their [elders] and their peers.”
For years, Crews along with her husband and her children enjoyed celebrating the second Sunday in May every year.
“Normally, we’d go out to dinner or I’d just cook for the family,” she recalled.
However, this year’s Mother’s Day will be different. In August 2011, Crews’ youngest child, 18-year-old son Miquelle Whisby, was shot and killed.
“Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him and think about him,” she said. This Mother’s Day, “we’ll probably just go out to the beach and say a prayer because [Miquelle] liked to go out to the beach all the time.”
While losing a child is one of the greatest tragedies that a mother can experience, what can be equally devastating is realizing that you may not be around any longer to raise your children.
When Adrian McClenney was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May 2011, she immediately worried about her family. The mother of two was married with a son and daughter, ages 20 and 10 respectively. After a long grueling treatment that included a double mastectomy and several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, McClenney was finally declared cancer free earlier this year. With the help of her family and friends, she always tried to remain optimistic throughout her ordeal.
“From the time that I got [the diagnosis] until the end of treatment, I just thought that as each day goes on I will just get stronger and become the same mother, the same wife and the same friend that I was before,” she said.
Beyond the traditional Mother’s Day celebration, McKinney, who is also the president of Sisters Network, a breast cancer survivor support group, is looking forward to hosting a Health Fair.
“As mothers, we have to learn how to take care of ourselves – to take care of our bodies first – and then take care of our kids and our families,” she explained.
Queen Brown’s child was shot and killed in 2006. The first Mother’s Day after his death, she visited his grave and brought him flowers. In the year’s since her 24-year-old son’s death, Brown has become an outspoken anti-violence advocate and public speaker.
But the pain has not truly subsided for Brown, who has three other children.
“What my children do now is embrace the day with me and they go with me to the cemetery,” she explained. “It’s a delicate balance since you have to go pay respects to your child that is now deceased but at the same time you have children who are still alive and they want to share you as well.”
Brown explained further that she has had to discover more wisdom in her loss.
“In some ways, I feel that I may not have protected my child enough, but then I have to regroup and realize that I did what I could,” she said. “I don’t have any regrets because I did my best.”
By Kaila Heard