My Mother and the Woman I Didn’t Know

This Mother’s Day, I’m working with Clever Girls in support of Macy’s Heart of Haiti to shine a light on the “trade, not aid” program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake.


“Mother is a verb, not a noun.” ~ Proverb

I’m proud to be supporting the Heart of Haiti campaign once again. But I’m also excited to share a story that feels appropriate with Mother’s Day coming up.

Mothers and daughters – we have a complicated relationship, don’t we? I’ll never know how it feels to be on the mothering side of that relationship. I have a son. Just one child and he’s a boy. All boy. He loves his mommy and I’m often told that mothers and sons have a special bond. But mothers and daughters?

Growing up, my mother was the one that made me laugh, made me cry, carried out the discipline (always swift and immediate), and instilled in me the values that I carry with me today. But she also drove me nuts. We fought like cats and dogs. We yelled and screamed and I was pretty sure this would be the course our relationship would always take.

As we’ve both aged, we mellowed. Or maybe matured. Or maybe grown a little more alike. Scary, I know. We spend half of our lives not wanting to end up just like our mother and we spend the other half wondering how we ended up just like her. But our relationship really took a turn about four years ago.

It was January 2008, a year after my son was born. The first year for any mother isn’t easy but it seemed especially hard for me. I tend to take on stress, especially in situations I can’t control, and bottle it up until I reach a melting point. That point came in January (you can read the full journey here). After a few weeks after worsening insomnia, I felt on the brink of a breakdown. I called my mother not knowing what to do and she was on a plane that afternoon.

She came with no return ticket and stayed for a full month helping me with Evan, taking care of the house, and generally keeping me company as I battled through depression and insomnia. I never needed my mother so much in my adult life and regardless of our past, it meant a lot to know that she would drop everything to help me if I needed her to. And trust me, for a person like me, it’s very hard for me to admit I need someone.

But my mother’s support reached out beyond the walls of my house and it was evident to me the day a card arrived in the mail from a woman I didn’t know.

Because my mother used to live in Raleigh, she had some friends that she tried to get out and visit when I would allow her to leave my side. She especially loved visiting her friend Betty, an older woman who was a minister and ran a weekly Bible study of sorts. My mother attended one Friday and had shared some of the struggles I was going through. The women took on my burden and prayed for me, hoping that I would heal.

One woman, in particular, though, asked my mother for my address because she wanted to send me a little something.

As I was packing up my house this week preparing to move, I came across that card and was still touched that someone who didn’t know me would reach out to me is such a loving way.

She sent a beautiful card with a little book of devotionals and a message that still lives in my heart:

Dearest Fadra,

You don’t know me but I go to the little prayer house “Refuge” on Friday noons that Betty has services as. Your mother comes some time when she is in town. Maybe you can come one Friday. It is a very warm, loving, and friendly astomsphere, sharing the love of Jesus and eating food afterwards. Praying for you and your mother.

In His Love,


I don’t know Sharon and have never met her. I’m not even sure my mother knew her very well. But the kind words of a stranger reminded me of how a mother’s love is universal. When one of our daughters hurts, we all want to help her heal.

I hope you take the time next weekend to acknowledge the women in your life who have mothered you in ways you might not have realized.

As part of this campaign, I’ve received two beautifully handcrafted necklaces from the artisans in Haiti. This Mother’s Day, I plan to proudly wear mine as I give the other to my mother and remind her how much I appreciate her.

Thank you to Macy’s Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart” promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

What is Macy’s Heart of Haiti? Heart of Haiti is a “Trade, Not Aid” initiative launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy’s. Already, Heart of Haiti has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 people in the country.

Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.

Heart of Haiti products are available online at Macy’

  • Kelly

    As always Fadra, thanks for the endless support you give to Heart of Haiti! We appreciate it and are glad we could help you celebrate your mother this Mother’s Day! You’re right, we are all connected as mothers and daughters and we hope this campaign can help heal some of the mothers in Haiti. 

    • FadraN

      What a beautiful sentiment, Kelly. My world view is definitely changing and the more I can be a part of it, the better. Thanks for the opportunity to share my story!

  • ConnieFoggles

    So touching and something similar to my situation with my mom. I hope you share this with your mother. 

    • FadraN

      Connie – I know she will read it. She usually does. But I’m waiting for to *hopefully* be pleasantly surprised.

  • Danica Kombol

    Fadra, I love this blog post. I had no idea you went through this when your baby was born. We’ll talk at Mom 2.0 about all of this!  Aren’t moms the best though. My mom was there for me with all three of my babies.  Potty trained two out of three and counseled me via phone with the third.  Everywhere thanks you for your continued support of Heart of Haiti. I hope you can come with us one day.

    • FadraN

      Thank you, Danica!! Sad, but I won’t be at Mom 2.0. We’re moving out of state next week so I have a bigger trip planned! I hope to see you at either Type-A or at BlogHer. You are always on my radar and I’d love to go with you some day.

  • Marta

    I have a pretty strained relationship with my mother despite the fact that I know I love her and I know she loves me. Its hard to get past very different personalities, but I know if I needed her she would be there for my just like your mother was. That’s the great thing about mothers, no matter what they are always there!

    • FadraN

      I always thought the biggest problems between my mother and me were our personality differences. And while we still have some, we’re more alike than I ever thought. I think it just takes getting older to admit that we’re okay with that.

  • Bocafrau

    That was such a heartfelt post and so reminded me of the relationship I have with my mom. We don’t always see eye to eye but we are alwasy there for one another. Happy Mother’s Day!!! 

    • FadraN

      As a mother myself, my son drives me nuts but I know I would move mountains for him!

  • Wendy

    Beautiful story and what an amazing mom you have! The heart necklace is simply beautiful too.

    • FadraN

      Thanks, Wendy! Sometimes it’s simplicity that makes things so beautiful.

  • All Things Luxurious

    What a beautiful story, Fadra.  Thanks so much for sharing.

    • FadraN

      Thanks for reading. And I never would have even thought about this story unless I came across that card.

  • Jessica Cohen

    What a beautifully written post, Fadra.

    The Heart of Haiti collection is fabulous too. I love that you will be giving the heart necklace to your mother for Mother’s Day.

  • Peecoy – mom(mie)

    To my beautiful daughter Fadra…you hold such a unique place in my heart. God has granted me the privilege of being your “mom(mie)”. Reading this post brought back a flood of memories which I will always cherish. I am so surprised and will be honored to wear the Heart of Haiti necklace and share their story. I love you and am grateful for the special joy you have brought to my life.

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