Monday, May 13, 2013

Motherhood 101: Utah moms share the lessons they learned | The ...

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Edana Gama of North Sudan and her daughter Catherine, 13, came to Utah five years ago through an asylum program. The two are waiting for Edana's husband, six other children and two grandchildren to join them.

You probably recall dozens of lessons your mother taught you, but what of the lessons motherhood taught her?

Motherhood always contains moments of joy, occasionally complications and, too often, unexpected heartache. The lessons women take from the experience are multifaceted, unique and universal at the same time. To be a mom, however the opportunity presents itself, is to have your capacity for love and connection tested and shaped ? forever.

Here are the lessons some mothers shared:

? Edana Gama, 42

Mom to seven

"I feel like a mother with many lives. As a mother, I?m strong now. The problems make you so strong."

Tears fall easily when Edana Gama speaks of the six children and husband she left behind.

Five years ago, Edana received political asylum to come to Utah from Sudan to seek treatment for daughter Catherine?s severe cleft palate. Then 8, Catherine had trouble eating and talking because of the congenital defect.

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But Edana never imagined the separation would stretch so many years, or that in her absence the violence of civil war would repeat itself in the lives of her children.

Edana was 12 when civil war broke out, for the second time, between northern and southern Sudan.Her parents were killed as she watched, and Edana thought she was moments from the same fate. Instead, she was spared, though two awful years followed as a captive.

Life took a hopeful turn when she met her husband and they began building a family together. But the mother, she says, is "the head person." So, naturally, she was the one to bring Catherine to Utah, leaving her husband to care for the rest of their family.

Conflict erupted again last year between Sudan and South Sudan, which became an independent state in 2011. Six months ago, Edana?s family fled to Juba, capital of South Sudan. Her husband has struggled to find work. When Edana speaks to her family by telephone, her youngest son, she says, always pleads, "Please come home! I?m hungry!"

Edana sends much of what she earns ? she is a housekeeper at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray and previously worked at Deseret Industries ? to her family. Sometimes the money gets there, sometimes it doesn?t. She hopes the money, in addition to helping them with their daily needs, will help them travel to Uganda and, soon, to Utah.

When you are a mother, she says, you have to be strong, no matter what comes.

? Gina Cornia, 50

Mom to one

"Salt Lake City will get half the credit for whoever he ends up being. Without that support, I could not have done it."

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