This month’s Mighty Mom Award is unique in that I have asked her husband to write the spotlight. Thanks Dustin!
Celebrating Motherhood…the non-traditional way
For many women, part of life is having the dream to one day be a mother—to enjoy carrying a baby and feel the miracle of life growing and developing and then to have the delight of watching that baby experience life and find their own unique personalities. Yet, the reality for some women, despite their longings, this dream of motherhood may never be fulfilled in the traditional sense. Infertility, medical problems, age, and marital status are some aspects of life that may prevent this reality. The question is, just because they did not experience motherhood in the traditional way, aren’t they still mothers?
February’s Mighty Mom Award is Lady Hiva Bradshaw. She is a non-traditional mother. Her story is humble and inspiring, full of successes and failures just like many of you. So hopefully with her story you will join us and celebrate motherhood in all its forms.
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MEET LADY HIVA
If you ask someone what words they would associate with motherhood their answers would include words similar to these: nurture, compassion, friend, teacher, hard-working, love, kindness, selfless, loyalty, or beautiful. All of those words describe Lady Hiva. Her gentle demeanor comforts all who meet her. She is never the spotlight by choice, but works tirelessly to help others in their time of need and therefore loved by all.
One of the qualities that I admire in Lady Hiva the most is her compassion. She has the ability to touch the hearts of those around her. She can anticipate the needs of others and will selflessly do all she can to heal their hearts—even if it just means a hug or a smile. She has a striking beauty, when people—even complete strangers—stop to tell her how beautiful she is she shyly gets embarrassed and finds a way to compliment them too. You would never know that the woman standing before has faced some of life’s most difficult challenges.
FACING THE BATTLES
We all have our share of trials in life. They may be unique situations for our lives but they all challenge our beliefs, our stamina, our goals and threaten to be too much. In 2009 Lady Hiva and I were surprised to find out we were going to be parents. It was not planned. Actually, it was a very stressful time for us as a newlywed couple. However, we eventually became excited and embraced the idea of having a baby. There was some apprehension because Lady had, during a previous marriage, three prior pregnancies. The first was a pre-term labor baby and the lungs were not strong enough to sustain life and the baby died a few minutes later. The next two pregnancies were early miscarriages. A short time later, Lady Hiva went through a nasty divorce that would have left many women bitter and insecure. But not Lady. She focused on becoming the best person she could be—spiritually, physically, and emotionally. That is the person I fell in love with.
We hoped that the failed pregnancies during her early marriage were Divine intervention because He knew the marriage would not last. We told ourselves, “This one will make it!” But it was not to be. About five months into the pregnancy Lady Hiva went into pre-term labor again and the doctors could not stop it. Our baby Alli was born and again the lungs could not sustain life so she died a few minutes later.
For the next few weeks Lady Hiva struggled with the feelings of loss, we both did. She also had the compounded reminders from her body that she is a mother, milk started to come and then turned to painful mastitis because there was no baby to drink it. The drive to be a mother was stronger than ever for Lady Hiva after that.
She was so excited to find out that she was pregnant again several months later and we started the pregnancy journey carefully not sure what the outcome would be. Two months into the pregnancy we found out that there was a large blood clot in the womb. For the next several months we rode the medical rollercoaster in and out of the hospital trying to keep our baby healthy. Lady Hiva eventually had to stop taking classes and stop working to be on full bed rest. At seven months our boy, Vaitafe was born. He was so small, but he was a fighter. We spent every moment we could with him in the NICU. We sang to him, we read to him, we talked to him. To see the sheer joy on Lady Hiva’s face when she was able to hold him for the first time was priceless.
Yet again, Lady Hiva was denied being a mother the traditional way because after two weeks in the hospital Vaitafe had contracted an aggressive virus that attacked his nervous system. Within 24 hours of struggling to help his failing body to stay alive, we as parents, had to make the hardest decision of our lives and took Vaitafe off life support and held him until he returned Home.
Our mourning was intensified when four days later my brother committed suicide. We thought that was hard but this year Lady Hiva’s brother that she was really close to also committed suicide. One emotional experience after another came crashing into our lives wave after wave, all we could do was hold on to each other and keep swimming so we did not drown in sorrow and bitterness. We had to face the battle and move forward.
MOVING FORWARD AND BECOMING BETTER
Each trial in our lives teaches us a different lesson and the lessons we learned in the past gives us the courage to keep fighting on step at a time. Yes, there are still times we mourn for those we have lost and we miss them terribly. Christmas, Mother’s Day and birthdays are tinged with sadness that there are family members missing. But, just as Lady Hiva became a spiritual giant after her divorce, she has risen above the trial and looked for ways to help others who may be struggling with the same issues.
I watched her, three days after Vaitafe died, stand regally before a large group at his funeral and speak of love. I watched her five days after that stand and hug complete strangers to her at my brothers funeral, she the person who should be hurting the most with her recent loss, was comforting them as a pillar of strength. Again I watched her stand with power and tell a group of people at her brother’s funeral that the power of love transcends all hurt, pain and differences. She of all people can teach us that there is healing, there is joy once again, and there are ways to achieve our dreams even if it seems impossible.
We were approved as an adoptive couple with LDS Adoptions and are waiting for the chance for her to be a mother that way, again the untraditional way. Lady Hiva has found ways to touch lives of children around the world as she teaches Primary children at church, as a youth leader for young women, she loves her nieces and nephews and finds every opportunity to do crafts and spend time with them, and through service projects with those less fortunate than we are.
Lady Hiva truly is an inspiration. Though she may not be a mother in the traditional sense, she still fills that role, like all the other women who struggle with similar challenges, by finding opportunities to better herself and the lives of those around her.
So when you think of Lady Hiva’s example, remember to celebrate motherhood, those moms in our lives that selflessly have made our lives better. It may be our neighbor, a teacher, a co-worker, or friend. To all of them, we say thank you. Thank you for inspiring us with courage to face our battles, heart aches and failures with dignity and grace.
You can follow Dust and Lady Hiva’s family experiences, including Lady Hiva’s current pregnancy journey on their family blog: Here and There.
Thank you Dustin and Lady Hiva for your inspiring example of endurance and faith! You have touched many lives through the powerful people that you have become. May this blog post bring you added prayers in your behalf!
We would also like to thank Country Mercantile for being this month’s Mighty Mom sponsor! Like many of us women, Lady Hiva has a liking for chocolate and Country Mercatile will be honoring her with their delightful chocolates! Please like them on Facebook!
You might also be interested in reading about last month’s Mighty Mom.