Mother's Day In Pakistan: Lives Hanging In Balance

For a woman, going through the travails of giving birth is a matter of life and death, as well as an exercise of physical and spiritual endurance

Mother's Day In Pakistan: Lives Hanging In Balance

Life doubtlessly becomes easier, more beautiful, and worth living when you have people in your life who understand you, prioritise you and your health, adore you, cherish you, valorise your typical aspirations and sentiments, support you, and affirm you in times of untoward crisis. Seeking such human beings who have all these in-built characteristics amidst this meretricious yet cynical world is a rarity.

Thankfully, we all are blessed and fortunate enough to have one such unrivaled human being in our lives, but, for the most part, we fail to fully appreciate her efforts in our daily lives, whose day starts with our morning breakfast and ends with finger-licking dinner, ensuing a cup of tea brewed with unalloyed love for us sprinkled with moments of deep affection. She is famously known to us all as a 'mother'.

A mother's environment is the first breeding ground where a child plays, grows, learns, feels physically, emotionally and psychologically, and shares an umbilical connection with her. At an age when a human being is too little to fathom anything, the child only understands the language of souls, which was transmitted into him/her at the time of accouchement by his/her mother. As Rumi puts it, "Only the soul knows what love is." Her pure, profound love and dulcet voice reach and soothe the depths inside the heart and soul of a child where they feel protected when they are scared.

For a woman, going through the travails of giving birth is the toughest experience of her life. It is a matter of life and death, as well as an exercise of physical and spiritual endurance. Motherhood is the most integral part of a woman's life, and the biggest moment of her happiness is when she is blessed with a beautiful baby by her Creator.

Where vagaries and vicissitudes of life shatter the confidence, optimism and dynamism of a person, the mother takes up the gauntlet of life when the need arises to do low-paid menial jobs, standing like a solid mountain to endure life's hardships in order to nurture her beloved children. Verily, none but a truly perseverant person possesses these traits. Her entire life's efforts and struggles are a labour of love, which she undertakes selflessly while disregarding her own needs and desires for the sake of her children's future; thus, a mother truly becomes the epitome of love, care, perseverance and hard work.

But becoming a mother comes at a cost. It is at once a relationship, a full-time job, and an identity, sadly without a reward. Her presence serves like a magnet that attracts the whole family and unifies them. It is sadly that very solidarity which has become will-o'-the-wisp for the country's politicos to poach instead of working in unison for the betterment of the people. They must cultivate this quality from the mothers of the nation.

Assume if male politicians were mothers and treated the masses as their own children, then they would definitely find a way to get themselves united and work together when it comes to public service, as mothers never make a compromise on their children's health and well-being.

But what do we do with such creatures of amazing capabilities? We, the children of our mothers, have verily failed to provide an environment for future mothers whereby the process of giving birth has become a gauntlet where only the strong, physically and willed can survive.

According to data shared by the UN Women in September last year, the maternal mortality ratio (MMR) in Pakistan stands at 154 deaths per 100,000 live births. According to the Pakistan Material Mortality Survey, the ratio of MMR across the country has improved from 278 deaths to 154 per 100,000 live births. The MMR ratio in Punjab is the lowest in the country, standing at 105 deaths per 100,000 live births, followed by KP at 165, then Sindh at 224, while Balochistan has the highest MMR at 298 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. 

The federal and provincial governments have expressed their desire to reduce the MMR to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. While this is a good gesture, the government must improve the health care system and induct trained doctors into hospitals to demonstrate its commitment to lowering maternal mortality practically.

Lack of antenatal care, education and awareness, limited decision-making, substandard public or private hospitals, and total reliance on their spouses are the prime reasons for such a high mortality rate in Pakistan.

Usually, what happens at the time of giving birth is that women are taken to the nearest hospitals frantically, where lack of facilities and the inability and dereliction of inexperienced mercenary doctors to deal with this sensitive issue cause the death of the mothers. Some skinflint naive husbands also take their wives to shoddy hospitals just to save some money and expose them and their babies to the risk of losing their lives.

Education, prenatal awareness, and women's self-sufficiency can swiftly reduce the mortality rate. When a woman is educated, sophisticated, and skilled, she will know better how to deal with this delicate situation, can better guide her husband to give her life precedence over money, and can take her to a certified hospital where all facilities are available.

Mother's Day, dedicated to paying homage to and honouring mothers, is being celebrated today. The first time it was celebrated was in the 20th century in the United States. Its prime mover was Anna Jarvis, a social activist. It was the desire of her mother (Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis) to have an official national holiday for mothers, honouring them for playing their part in the country's development and recognising their role, contribution and importance in society.

A mother personifies many attributes of God that shine through her actions for her children, like inexhaustible love, tolerance, unwavering protection, loyalty, et cetera. Allah has indeed Created every woman (each a would-be mother) with an immeasurable heart of these qualities to remind people of His own attributes through her existence and actions.

And only a mother knows how to attain immortality by conquering the hearts of her children. But how does she sow the seeds of perpetuity in her children? She does it quite beautifully by way of blossoming a four-dimensional relationship: biologically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. This is why people can't erase her indelible marks on their hearts, minds and souls when she leaves them in this world. Her special place and memories in the hearts of her children are preserved ineffaceable and become irreplaceable eternally.

After all, the mother is one flower of the many flowers of Paradise whose presence, beauty and aroma complement a person's life. 

The author is a freelance writer and contributor and has a Master's degree in Education with an interest in social issues and international affairs. He can be reached at