Hanan is someone who greets visitors at her door with a huge smile, welcomes them into her home, and serves food and drink as she chats with them, as if they’ve been neighbors for years. Yet Hanan's hospitality and desire to befriend others was certainly challenged when she first came to the United States from Iraq in 2014.
When Hanan entered the last trimester of her first pregnancy, the U.S. entered lockdown because of the emerging coronavirus, and people were discouraged from leaving their homes except for absolute essentials. This social isolation was incredibly challenging for many of us, but particularly difficult for new mothers who depend on community, and especially for women like Hanan who were not only first-time mothers, but brand new to the U.S., the healthcare system, and the cultural practices around birth and motherhood.
In spite of all these challenges, Hanan pushed through the fog of new motherhood and pandemic and found herself strong and capable to nourish her infant, develop relationships with neighbors, and educate herself on what to expect at prenatal visits, how to ask for risks and benefits before every intervention, and her rights as a patient. Hanan gave birth to her second child in pandemic in February, and with the support of her husband and new friends, has continued to thrive.
“There are many stressful times, but I know that I will get through it,” Hanan says of this foggy season. As we talk for this interview, she simply exudes resiliency of motherhood - she’s feeding her newborn, holding her toddler, chatting with us, rocking, comforting, smiling. “When I care for my kids and they are happy and healthy and smiling, this gives me great joy,” Hanan shares.
When we asked Hanan if there was any encouragement she’d like to share with other mothers in this time, she “invites other moms to be patient with their kids when they are small like this, when they are home all the time. Because they will grow up fast, so enjoy this time with them… My first baby is one year now, and the time has gone so fast.”
Thank you, Hanan, for showing us what a nurturing, strong, and empowered mother looks like. We are moved by your story, and honored to know you as a true Shero this Mother’s Day.
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