Indigenous Matriarchs, I see you.

The other day my cousin asked me, “How do you feel about being a mother?” Without hesitation, I answered. “This is what I was meant to do.”

It’s true, I’ve always dreamed of being a mom. The day that I found out that I was pregnant was the day that I became a mother. Since then, I have made many positive changes in my life, all for the happiness and well being of my baby girl. 

Thinking back to the day that Dani-Mae entered the world… this was the very best day of my life. The three of us were in the hospital; Cole and I were squeezed onto the tiny twin-size bed while Dani-Mae slept in the hospital bassinet beside us. It was around 2 AM and they were both finally sleeping after a long and exhausting day of labour and delivery. I lay there between the two of them, praying and thanking the Creator for my blessings. And honestly, I couldn’t help but cry. I cried because I was so overwhelmed with love and happiness. After a long nine months, we finally had our tiny shibebiiin our arms. So pure and innocent with a clean slate in front of her. 

It has been a blessing to spend each day with my daughter while watching her grow and learn. It is thrilling to see her learn something new or reach a new milestone, like hearing her first laugh or cutting her first tooth. We have touched down in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, BC, and the Yukon. We have attended a youth gathering out in the bush, completed training and surveyed our community of Fort McPherson, currently working as a Community Liaison Coordinator, we just recently presented at the Air North First Light Image Festival, and we’ve attended AWBEN where we gathered with a group of prestigious and powerful Indigenous woman. Many people believe that once you have a baby, that life is over and you’re automatically limited to what you can achieve. But if anything, we’re just getting started. I’m becoming the woman that I always dreamed of being. Dani-Mae is living her best life and I know she is enjoying the ride. I am more determined than ever to accomplish my goals, to travel the world with my baby and most importantly to provide a healthy, loving home for her. 

Another thing that I must address in this post is that I am so damn proud of my generation of women. It was our grandparents that were taken away as children and forced through the assimilation process of residential school. It was our parents and our aunties and our uncles, and their children who felt the intergenerational effects as well. It has been a painful journey, but we are healing. I am amazed and humbled by all Indigenous women – we are the hearts and strength of our people. Artists, scholars, educators, community workers, health workers, politicians, leaders, mothers. Indigenous matriarchs, I see you. 

And last but not least, my darling mother. I must say that I was blessed to be raised by my mom. Since having my own baby, I’ve come to realize all that she has accomplished and sacrificed for us. I am proud to share that my mom has been sober for at least 27 years. I went to sleep every single night and woke up every single morning knowing that she would be there. She is everything that I strive to be in a mother – loving, understanding, reliable and a hard-working provider. My mom always did her very best, and it was all for us. Mahsi cho shahan for this beautiful life. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there; especially the ones who have lost children, those who have lost mothers, those who have chosen not to be mothers & those yearning to be mothers. 

All of my love to Cole & Dani-Mae Maring, thank you both for giving me the privilege of becoming a mother. I am honoured to be yours and so proud to call you mine.

Quebec, March 2019. Photo by: sweetmoon photography aka Auntie Tenille

shayla snowshoe

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