There is within most mothers, an unconditional—almost desperate—love for their child that begins often before birth and never ends. This love is universal and transcends borders, cultures, and continents. Like a fierce mama bear protecting her cubs, many mothers are willing to risk personal suffering, injury, or loss to keep their children safe.
Take, for example, Joanna Krzysztonek, a Polish mother who endured 75 days of labor—upside down! Well, almost upside down. After losing one of her triplets to premature birth, Krzysztonek’s only option was to endure the position to allow her other two babies to develop further and improve their chances for a successful birth. Her baby girl, Iga, and boy, Ignacy, were born at 32 weeks.
Here in the States, Claudia Rendon lost her job because she took a leave of absence to donate one of her kidneys to save her son’s life. It had already been a difficult year for Rendon, using up her allotted vacation time to deal with the deaths of her mother and uncle, as well as her father’s battle with leukemia. When she asked for a leave of absence, the company hired another person to replace her before she came back. (As a result of public outrage, Rendon was eventually rehired by her company.)
You may also remember Sarah McKinley’s’s story. On New Year’s Eve night, the recently widowed mother of a three-month-old baby shot and killed one of two armed men who had broken into her Oklahoma home. The men were addicts intent on stealing drugs they thought her husband, a lung cancer victim who had died just six days before, stored in the house. The second man who had fled the scene eventually turned himself in to the police.
For some mothers, their love is so intense that they are even willing to die. The following mothers sacrificed their lives and showed tremendous acts of bravery to protect their children.
Last spring, during the horrific tornado outbreaks in Indiana, Stephanie Decker grabbed her two children (ages 8 and 5), ran to the basement, and wrapped them up in a comforter. Though she saved their lives and they escaped unharmed, Decker lost both legs as a result of being crushed under a mound of debris.
But in a similar situation in Springfield, Massachusetts, Mexican immigrant Angelica Figueroa Guerrero was not so fortunate. The 39-year-old mother died shielding her 15-year-old daughter in a bathtub from a tornado that demolished their apartment.
In El Paso, Karla Cerino was driving along when her vehicle blew a tire, rolled, and burst into flames. Cerino became trapped, but the heroic mom managed to hand her children over to rescuers before she died.
While vacationing in Italy, Sharrie Shelton Duncan and her 12-year-old son were standing on a pier when they were knocked into the ocean by a freak wave. Before being swept away, Duncan managed to push her son toward rescuers, saving his life.
The stories go on and on. Mothers who love their children so much they will do whatever it takes to protect them. When I look at my children, I like to think that I would do the same. I pray that I am never in that position because the thought of not watching them grow up, of not being there to love and support them, fills me with anguish.
Do you know a heroic and selfless mami? If so, share her story below and give us an opportunity to recognize her love and bravery.