Motherhood – one word that can mean so many different and beautiful things to different people. As Craig D. Lounsbrough has said, “being a mother is not about ‘birthing a child into the world’, rather it is about repeatedly ‘birthing into a child’ a steady sense of their inestimable worth, and a prized understanding of their authentic self…” In short, motherhood is a challenge, a responsibility and a privilege. To you and me, motherhood may mean much more, and can be overwhelming, difficult, even complicated at times, particularly in a world where women face immense challenges even before they are blessed with the experience of becoming a mother, let alone the journey that comes after.
For our May 2021 issue, we decided to take on the idea of celebration – observing Mother’s Day, as well as the blessed and revered celebration of Eid, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan – in order to reflect upon ourselves and what it means to celebrate something. Beyond the superficial greeting cards, lyrical descriptions and an over-emphasis on feasting, what does it mean to hold these precious experiences in our embrace meaningfully? In our cover story, the author explores the dilemmas and weighty responsibilities of being a mother in this modern world. As the contributors to our podcast series repeatedly told us, their experiences of being mothers can be summed up in the term, survival. They do not wish to be put on pedestals as ‘superwomen’ or ‘supermoms’, but instead want to be seen, truly seen – joys, weariness, fears and happiness alike – and supported in their journeys instead of being merely admired from afar.
This is the second Ramadan that the world has experienced through a pandemic. It also comes in difficult socio-political contexts. In such a downcast atmosphere, it is often forgotten why it is imperative to observe the day of Eid, and its history and significance. Our contributors have explored this question as well, in the hope to push us all towards celebrating with meaning and piety rather than losing sight of its real significance.
In this issue of Aura, we are also inaugurating a special recurring series titled Mothers of Resistance, featuring profiles of women who are fighting for justice for their loved ones in the face of outright repression and silencing. Rather than being painted as victims or rebels, these voices speak for themselves and challenge the narratives being painted onto them.
It is with this hope that we present our third issue, Celebration, to all our readers.