I am a mother, a previously incarcerated woman, and a child of a mother who was a victim of police brutality and gave birth to my youngest sibling handcuffed and chained to a bed in the Texas Department of Corrections. I know what it’s like to grow up with a mother behind bars. I remember the feeling as a child visiting my mother in prison, the separation anxiety, and feeling helpless as I watched her fight for her dignity and freedom. I know what it feels like to spend Mother’s Day away from your family, counting down the days until your release, praying that your children are safe, and hoping that one day your family will be reunified in spite of every barrier placed in your path.
85 percent of women in jails and prisons are mothers and most of them were the primary caretaker of their children while they were free. There is a domino effect of burdens placed on incarcerated women and their children. Everyone arrives at Mother’s Day with different experiences, but mothers who are impacted by incarceration understand the unique challenges and collateral consequences that the criminal legal system presents to families. Adjusting to parenting behind bars, coping with the pain of separation, and working to rebuild relationships is overwhelming and at times exhausting. Yet, we continue to overcome and persevere through it all, for ourselves and for our children.
Over 20 years later, my mother and I are still healing from the trauma and pain that the criminal legal system often creates for women and their families, especially women of color. It may take a lifetime to heal but The Ladies of Hope Ministries has played an integral role in our healing and provided resources and support to us both that we would not have gotten from anywhere else. I am honored and grateful to be a part of an amazing organization dedicated to helping justice-impacted mothers and children, globally.
To all the mothers who have counted the days until the next visit, we support you. To all the mothers who are bettering themselves for their children, we respect you. To all the mothers who are healing while parenting, working, and striving to overcome obstacles due to convictions and time served, we applaud you.
Today we honor you. Happy Mother’s Day from The Ladies of Hope Ministries!
Director of Communications
The Ladies of Hope Ministries