Stepping down as president-elect after I learned that I was pregnant was not an option, writes President Isabelle Athion of the Rotary Club of Grand Baie (D9220, Mauritius).
On 1 July, I was inducted as president of the Rotary Club of Grand Baie and a week later, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Mathys.
Is it challenging to be a new mum and a president at the same time? Yes, it is! Even though I took a sabbatical leave from work, my daily routine was very busy, as I was the only one there to look after baby Mathys. My husband Luciano is a front-line health worker and had been in self-isolation most of the time to keep us safe. When I learned that I was pregnant, my question to Luciano was: “Should I step down as president-elect?” Deep down, I knew that it was not an option and I was thrilled to hear him reply, “Whatever your decision, I will give you my full support.” I would not have expected less from my partner, as Rotary has been a journey of discovery for both of us.
It is true to say that Rotary is a family affair. I am very lucky to have been able to count on my mum and my sister to babysit Mathys whenever I needed them. My club members have been extremely supportive from the beginning. Whenever I needed help, there was always someone to lend a hand.
Mathys is now seven months old and has been interacting with my Rotarian friends since his first weeks – and he has an almost 100 percent attendance on zoom meetings. He has always been warmly welcomed at the meetings and I am so proud to be in a club where my Rotarian friends are so accommodating. As Paul Harris said: “If Rotary is to realise its proper destiny, it must be
evolutionary at all times and revolutionary on occasions”
Since I joined Rotary in June 2018, I have been very active. I have led projects, served as secretary, chaired the public image committee and attended my first convention in Hamburg. It has been an enriching experience as I am also honing my leadership skills. It is through service that we bring transformation within ourselves. My main aim as leader is to inspire others by embracing Rotary’s core values every day. I firmly believe that motherhood should not stop us from achieving our objectives or taking leadership roles at club, district or an international level.
Seven months into my mandate, I have no regrets and if I had to start all over again, my decision would be the same. I would still want to be a Mummy President!
(Source: Rotary Africa – May 2021)