Honoring China's Courageous Mothers

IMAGE: elsoar.com

 

Flowers. Chocolates. Brunch. Nice cards. All of these are typical ways of honoring mothers on Mother’s Day in the United States. Advertisements run for weeks before Mother’s Day, reminding husbands and children to say thank you to their wives and mothers and get them something nice.


But what if your Mother’s Day gift was a forced abortion? What if the only card you got on Mother’s Day was one telling you that your children would never be able to go to school because they were “over-quota”? What if being acknowledged as a mother only brought you shame and scorn because you did not follow the ‘correct procedures’ for motherhood?


For many mothers in China, this is the reality. It is not easy to be a mother in China. Poverty, domestic abuse, pressure from family and the government, strict family planning laws, forced abortions and sterilizations--all of these are challenges many Chinese mothers face every day. Motherhood is one of the most important professions on the planet, yet Chinese mothers rarely get the praise they deserve. When they are publicly acknowledged, it is usually because they have done something wrong--had one too many children, had the wrong gender of baby, or had a baby in the wrong country.


This Mother’s Day, All Girls Allowed wants to recognize these courageous Chinese mothers and pay tribute to their stories. There are so many difficulties that Chinese mothers have to deal with, but for every one of those difficulties there is an example of a mother who has overcome them.


Poverty is a major hardship that afflicts mothers across China. Raising children without sufficient income, a stable place to live, or enough food and clothing is extremely exhausting and scary.


Ping is a mother and grandmother who lives in poverty, yet has exhibited amazing courage. Ping’s living conditions are below the minimum standard set by the Chinese government--her roof is leaky, she has little furniture, and she uses newspaper for wallpaper--but the government has denied her any welfare and has confiscated her land. This all happened to her just because she decided to follow Jesus. Ping lives with her son, daughter-in-law, and their three-month-old daughter. Despite Ping’s difficult situation, she is faithful to her family and refuses to deny her faith. Her hope in Christ is strong and this is evidenced by the words written in black ink above the doorway to her ramshackle house: “Trust in the Lord, the Source of Peace and Joy”.


Another inspiring example of a mother rising above a situation of poverty is Mrs. Wei. Mrs. Wei runs a public restroom in a small village and is raising a baby boy. She lives in unimaginably dirty conditions and makes little money for her work. One of our field workers met Mrs. Wei and enrolled her in the Baby Shower Program, and since then Mrs. Wei has helped many other mothers in her village to enroll in the Baby Shower Program. Although Mrs. Wei lives in poverty and must raise her son in the doorway of a public restroom, her heart for others is large and she eagerly discuss how to help other mothers learn how to better care for their families. Although she herself is poor, Mrs. Wei has helped many other mothers in her same situation.


Single motherhood is another great challenge in China. Not only do single mothers not have a spouse to rely on, they are also stigmatised and shunned in Chinese society. Having a child out of wedlock is punishable by massive fines and often with the denial of a hukou residence permit for the child. Not having a hukou permit means that the single mother’s child will suffer for life by not having access to school, health care, and even travel in the country. On top of these punishments, single Chinese mothers often face immense pressure to abort from their friends and families, because having a child outside of marriage is considered shameful.


Xiao Pan is one strong mother who chose to keep her baby despite pressure to abort from her parents and close friends. Xiao’s boyfriend took her money and deserted her when she was six months pregnant, but Xiao still resolved to save the child. “No matter how hard it will be, even if I have to live by picking up rubbish, I will still raise you.” Xiao told her infant son. Xiao’s inspiring story gained international news coverage.


Single motherhood is extremely hard in China, but China’s epidemic of domestic abuse has made life difficult for many married mothers as well. Studies suggest that 25% of married women in China experience domestic abuse, but in reality those are only the cases that get reported. Most abused mothers are encouraged to keep quiet about their struggles.


There is one mother who refused to accept her Chinese husband’s abuse, however. American Kim Lee was repeatedly abused in China by her husband Li Yang, but rather than ignore it, she came forward and publicized his actions. One of her main motivations for this was to protect her two young daughters. Because she bravely spoke out against her husband’s abuse, her case gained international attention and paved the way for more abused mothers to speak out.


The next example of courageous motherhood is not one of an American mother in China, but of a Chinese mother in America. Jia is the mother of a now seven-month-old boy and lives in America with her husband. Before she knew the gender of her baby, she faced pressure from her family to have a boy and abort if the baby showed any signs of a disability. Jia was torn between what her culture told her was acceptable and what God told her was right, but in the end she stood firm in God’s truth--even when that angered her family. Jia’s story highlights another hardship Chinese mothers face: pressure to abort or abandon babies if they are girls, are “over-quota”, or are unhealthy. Often, even if a mother wants to keep her precious child, friends, family members, or the government force her to kill her baby. 13 million abortions occur in China annually.


There are many unique issues Chinese mothers deal with and these mothers rarely get adequate appreciation. It is easy to be discouraged by looking at all these hardships, but mothers like Ping, Mrs. Wei, Xiao Pan, Kim, and Jia remind us that victory over this darkness is possible.

 

Motherhood is undervalued in China, but without strong mothers like these, who would raise the next generation of leaders? Without sacrificial mothers, there would be no government officials, no lawyers or doctors, no great scientists, and ultimately, no people!


This Mother’s Day, let us honor brave mothers like Ping, Wei, Xiao, Kim, and Jia--in China, America, and across the world--who sacrifice everything for their families and their faith. When hardship comes, we can look at the examples of these courageous mothers and be filled with hope in Christ Jesus.

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:35-39

by Emilie, All Girls Allowed

Help brave mothers like these by giving to our Baby Shower Program! The Baby Shower Program is bringing life, value, and dignity to baby girls in China by showing their families that girls have value.  

 


 




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