While family members show their gratitude towards mothers in various ways, often the bond between mothers of different generations can invoke a special kind of appreciation. Serafina Tonumali’i, 29, relishes Mothers Day as it means a day when “it’s finally about me!” she says light-heartedly. “But I have a newfound appreciation for all other mothers, especially my own”.
Serafina reflects on the support she has received from other family members, “I have the most amazing husband, 7 willing siblings (5 of which are sisters), two sets of hands on parents, and no end of support from our church family – we are really spoilt and knowing they were all there just made it so much easier”.
“Over half of Pacific pregnant women live with other adults in their household” says Mary Roberts, Clinical Lead TAHA. “Many Pacific families have close intergenerational ties”.
Patricia Jane Lo Tam, 64yrs, affectionately known as “Mama Jane” even to her 10 grandchildren, recalls the influence her own grandmother had on her as a child.
“I remember how she treated us, she was very caring and had a very personal approach … I look after (my own grandchildren) the same”. Although one thing separates her style from her grandmother – Mama Jane doesn’t believe in special treatment, “I treat them all the same, unlike my grandma Lucy – I felt that she treated me like her favourite”.
Her own experiences of holding her children for the first time following childbirth and seeing her daughters also experience childbirth are moments Mama Jane will cherish. Although her wry smile not long after hinted at retribution for what she went through, “I think I enjoy watching them be mothers” before breaking into laughter.
Patricia has a simple request for Mother’s Day “For my kids to love and respect me. That’s all”. Judging by the affections of her family, she will certainly have her wish.
Above: Mama Jane surrounded by some of her grandchildren