- Nikki Mirala
On the Impact of the War: How Ukrainian Mothers are Handling the Chaos
The Russo-Ukrainian War has been developing since early 2014, but the recent escalation of conflict following Russia’s invasion in February of this year has raised intensities to new extremes. Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the intention of his February 2022 invasion was to disarm Ukraine and rid the country of its Nazi influence–defending those who he claimed were targets of the government's eight years of intimidation and genocide. Assuring Ukraine's neutrality was shortly made an additional goal. However, these seemingly honorable objectives all serve as facades for his true ambition to overthrow Ukraine and gain more regional power. The war between Russia and Ukraine is continuously developing with seemingly no end in sight, but the most unfortunately notable progression of the conflict has been its effect on the civilians involved.
The cataclysm of the war in Ukraine has left a remarkable impact on the people of the nation. Since February, 13 million Ukrainian citizens have been displaced from their homes–half of whom have dispersed throughout Europe while the rest remain internally displaced within the country. Almost 60,000 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians have lost their lives. Every individual within Ukraine has been severely impacted by the war. However, one of the groups most impacted is women–specifically mothers.
The lives of mothers in Ukraine have been transformed at abrupt rates. Many had sent their kids to safety overseas months before the war had begun. Their husbands remained in Ukraine to fight the war. Now, these mothers face a difficult decision, resulting in tragic outcomes: leave the country in an effort to reunite with their child and accept the inescapable challenges which shadow the lives of refugees, or remain in the country by their husband's side as they watch him risk his life in the war. Either situation results in the unfortunate separation of the mother from the other relationship–bringing along unimaginable emotional distress.
Mothers who have remained in Ukraine with both their husbands and children are now consumed with the pressures of taking care of a family, owning a home, and managing their finances all independently, as their husbands are engrossed in the war. While various social services and organizations have made strenuous efforts to aid these overburdened mothers, the amount of families in distress and the extent to which their needs must be met is profuse. As a result, not every family has received the support they need and are essentially alone in coping with the chaos that is ravaging their lives.
During the first days of the war, more than 4,000 children were born, many of whom were delivered in horrifying conditions. Some expecting mothers reported being carried on stretchers through debris, while others were obligated to hear the deafening sounds of airstrikes as they lay in their hospital beds. When the Russian Air Force bombed h a maternity hospital in Mariupol in March, 17 people were injured, and one mother deceased. Incidents like these highlight the brutal force used on Ukrainian civilians and Russian tactics that are impacting one of the most vulnerable groups.
Even as the war has continued to escalate at exacerbating rates, the mainstream media coverage within the U.S. and around the world has died down. Taking this into account, it’s crucial to recognize the ongoing severity and direness of the situation at hand. Mothers in Ukraine are proceeding to soldier through the chaos in their country as they strive to receive now hard-to-acquire resources and support for their families. Along with the soldiers, the forgotten mothers of Ukraine are bearing the burden of the war–entangled in a conflict they didn’t strive to begin.