Mom and baby

In honour of Mother’s Day Weekend, I thought I would share this story about my mom that always makes me cry.

My mother. She is someone who has many friends and no enemies. She taught me to believe in myself beyond reason, always do my best, and never burn bridges.

She left Ireland at 18 to train as a nurse in England and then went on to study midwifery in Scotland. When she started that journey she had never seen a telephone and knew very little about the world outside her small village. A story she told me about something that happened years later has reminded me that we can always make a difference.

My mom had only been in Canada for a few weeks and was working as a nurse. As a midwife trained in the farmlands of Scotland she knew a lot about pregnant women. And on one particular night shift a couple of days before Christmas, she knew that her patient, and her unborn child, needed help.

She called the patient’s doctor and told him that he needed to come back to the hospital to assess her. He told my mom that he knew what he was doing and he didn’t need to come back in.

Then my mom called the on-call doctor but his line was busy.

Her co-workers told her not to worry. She had done her job and called the doctor. But she didn’t see it that way. It wasn’t just about doing her duty, it was about doing her best.

That’s when my mother, a young Irish immigrant only in the country and in the job a few weeks, did something remarkable. She marched down to the hospital manager and told her that unless there was a surgeon in the hospital who could deliver a baby, she would have to get the on-call doctor onto the premises as soon as possible.

The hospital manager, who was scared out of her wits, sent a police cruiser to the on-call doctor’s house where it was discovered that his young children had the phone off the hook.

The on-call doctor came back to the hospital with the police, saw the patient, and went straight into the operating room to perform an emergency C-section.

A few hours later the doctor said he wanted to see my mother. She wondered whether her stay at this hospital might be shorter than she had planned.

He called her into his office and said, “Fifteen more minutes and that baby would have been gone. You did a great job. Thank you.”

As a mom of three young kids myself, I’ve often thought about that baby, who would be a few years older than me. Someone who has lived and loved and probably has a family of their own. All because my mother didn’t stop until she had done what she thought was right.

I am so proud of my mother. As Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, once said, “At an early age, my mother gave me this feeling that anything is possible, and I believe that.”

Thanks mom, for everything. And a very happy Mother’s Day.


  • Siobhan Kelleher Kukolic

    Mother-of-three. Freelance writer. Author. #HuffPost blogger. Believer in dreams.

    Siobhan Kukolic is a storyteller at heart. She writes to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see. She recently published her first book, available on Amazon and Indigo. The Treasure You Seek is about following your heart, believing in yourself beyond reason, embracing failure and knowing that you are enough. It includes inspirational stories about famous failures, cultural icons, world leaders and regular folks like you and me. The goal is to remind us that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see. A perfect read for graduates from elementary school through university, people starting their career, changing jobs or retiring, friends going through a medical crisis, new parents, empty nesters and anyone who wants to be inspired. She started her career as a copywriter working on campaigns for organizations including Esso, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Grand & Toy, Labatt, and SC Johnson. While raising her kids, she volunteered as co-chair of her school council for seven years, helped get eight 20-foot maples donated for an eco-classroom and co-ordinated the building of a school peace garden with 115 donated trees and shrubs for Earth Day. She co-founded a not-for-profit movement called Blueberry Shark, named after a healthy fruit and the only animal that doesn't get cancer, with a mission to create the healthiest kids in the world. By providing a voice for those who didn't have one, she rallied enough media attention to help crowd-fund $105,000 in two weeks to pay for an unfunded drug for a mother of two dying of stage-four brain cancer. She also used media attention to nudge the government to change drug coverage policy right before an election and get a $360,000 a year drug covered for a 12-year-old cystic fibrosis patient. Her letters to the editor are frequently published in the National Post and she has represented her neighbourhood by making deputations at city council and the school board. She spends her time blogging, speaking to students and corporations about grit, and juggling the schedules of her three kids as they follow their dreams in competitive Irish dance and ice hockey.