The clash.

The primal fight between pain and indescribable joy.

Every mother knows it.

Every warrior woman who has brought forth life remembers the agony, and the triumph. The endless hours blending into that one moment where the entire world fades away. And suddenly it’s just you, and this little stranger, who you feel like you’ve always known by soul.

Once upon a time a little girl had a dream. She dreamed she was dancing, twirling and circling. Dizzy, spinning until the world became a blur.

And then the little girl grew up. She heard the ugly names every time she walked down the street. The world danced around her, while she kept her head down and tried to be invisible. Until one day she wasn’t. One day she was seen. One day she was picked up from the home she knew and dropped in a land whose dust hadn’t touched her feet in over a decade.

Alone. Afraid. Swollen belly, rolling with new life while she desperately prayed for time to stand still.

She didn’t think she could. Didn’t think she could care for this one, didn’t think she had enough…money, food, energy, love. Didn’t think she could be the mama he needed.

But that baby was hers, growing under her heart, and growing in it with every passing day, until The day.

The day that stretched into four. A moonlight walk, punctuated with stops to let the pain roll. A public bus and then a hospital that looks like something out of a horror film. Hours fading into hours. Another bus, and then another.

Finally a bed. In a row of beds, in a room still with heat but buzzing with moans and cries. A hard metal table, a bright light, a dozen eyes… Nothing left to give but searching and fighting for that last bit of strength.

And finally, finally! One last rush and then sweet relief. A new face staring back. A tiny hand grasping hers.

Another life joining the earthside and a mother born.

Words by Rhyan Buettner, Photos by Kadi Tiede of the Sakina Mission