Charlotte’s First Mother’s Day
Charlotte was a long way from her home and family in Burundi when she became a mother on Christmas day 2009 in Seattle, but she and her husband Hillaire made it through the long and difficult labor together. The birth of a child is an amazing experience for new parents and for many new mothers it is an experience shared with their own mothers, sisters and friends. For Charlotte, things were much different. Circumstances forced her and Hillaire to flee the persecution they faced in Burundi in 2002 and leave her family behind, including her mother and sister.
Their journey was a long and difficult one. She and Hillaire fled to Mozambique to escape war and oppression. Despite the many challenges and drawbacks they have faced, Charlotte and Hillaire have always tried to rise above the struggles that forced them and so many Burundians into devastating conditions. In the face of the realities of a long journey marked with countless challenges, Charlotte feels fortunate to have the rare chance of making it to the US where she is determined to pursue a stable future for herself and her family.
While her husband, who practiced law in Mozambique, attends community college to become a paralegal, Charlotte stays home with their newborn daughter Milcah. Her smile widens just a little and her face takes on a sparkle as she talks about her love for her baby daughter and how happy she is to be a mother: “I like to stay with her, play with her and sing to her.” When asked if she goes out on walks with her daughter she replied “we go grocery shopping together, she really likes that and she really likes going to church.”
Charlotte is grateful to have had Milcah in the US, adding “if I was in Mozambique I would have died… there, if I want to see the doctor at 1pm maybe he’ll come the next day.” She also noted that the technology here is better which helped her immensely with what ended up being a long and complicated delivery.
With a sense of pride and fulfillment Charlotte talks about her dedication to her family and her desire to find a job during the morning shift. If Charlotte is able to secure a job, they plan for her husband to take care of Milcah before he leaves to attend classes that start at 5pm. Although Charlotte understands the likelihood of finding a job that pays more than minimum wage is not great, she believes any income will aid her family in moving forward towards their goals. For the time being, however, Charlotte is embracing the joy that comes with being a mother and in a place where the possibilities are endless.
Return to the IRC in Seattle