Mother's Day: Recognising Wish Mums

There are so many strong, resilient and inspiring mums in the Make-A-Wish NZ whānau. We sat down with two of them, Jasmine and Neelam, to talk about their experiences with motherhood, and reflect on their children’s wishes.

Jasmine is a mum of three – Bianca, Caiden and Kaylee. Her life changed when six-year-old Caiden was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. Caiden’s wish for a bird aviary came true last year.


What does being a mum mean to you?

Being a mum to me means everything. I basically live and breathe for my children. I couldn’t imagine being anything else.

Being a mum is the absolute best – it’s so rewarding. You’ve grown these children. You’ve given them life. You watch them develop into these amazing human beings. It’s the most beautiful experience.

Can you tell me about Caiden’s medical journey from your perspective as a mum?

It’s been a pretty devastating journey. It almost feels like we’ve been thrown on a rollercoaster with no choice, and we’re riding this ride continuously.

Every day you are so full of different emotions. Parts of our day – sometimes life feels almost normal again, but within an instant, reality smacks you in the face, and you remember that actually we’re living an evil, cruel time in our lives and things can change at any moment. You’re constantly being smacked in the face by a bus.

This is not the way that we planned our lives to be.

What has navigating Caiden’s medical journey helped you learn about yourself as a mum?

It’s taught me a lot about myself as a mum.

I don’t take things for granted like I once did. I appreciate the beauty in life. The simple things mean so much more than they once did.

Life will never be the same. Every day you try and find the smallest bit of beauty in the day. It’s made me appreciate life a lot more. I live for the simple things now. Materialistic things don’t mean anything to me – just my children and my family.


How do you care for yourself when you have to care for others?

I actually don’t do a lot of caring for myself. Every day our plan is just to make the kids smile.

Wind down time with my husband is the thing I look forward to. When the kids are asleep, we can watch a movie together – that’s probably the only time that we get. You almost feel selfish when you do anything for yourself during a diagnosis like this because you know so much is going to get stolen away from your child.

Obviously, I do miss some of the things that I used to be able to do – the carefree things that you take for granted. But we don’t know how much time Caiden has left, so every day we do what the kids want to do because that’s the most important to us now.

Looking back on Caiden’s wish day, can you remember the best part from your perspective as his mum?

Absolutely. Caiden has a huge love of birds – just seeing the magic light up in his eyes when he could see the birds all in flight surrounding him was pretty special.

To actually be out in an area where he can watch his birds and be free – his whole face lit up. It was really magical.

It still does when he goes in there. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. There are eggs hatching and new babies in there all the time.


How did Caiden’s wish affect you personally?

I was blown away. It’s the most beautiful thing that anyone could do for Caiden. In all of this darkness that we’re living in it brought us some light.

Along the way you have all these beautiful people reaching out. It does help you get through every day.

When I look out there now, I always think of you guys. I’m so happy there are people out there doing this for our children.


What would you say to other mums who are in a similar situation?

They are super mums. And that I’m so proud of them because this journey isn’t easy. We have to be there for one another. No one understands this journey like someone who has been through it themselves.

Neelam is the mother of 12-year-old Nishaya, who has Rett syndrome – a rare genetic neurological condition. Nishaya’s wish for a spa pool came true in 2022.


Can you tell me about Nishaya’s medical journey from your perspective as a mum?

Nishaya has Rett syndrome. She’s physically unable to do anything. She’s never crawled or walked. It is a scary journey when you hear that your child might not be able to walk – it’s all negative stuff.

But despite all of this, we are hopeful. The biggest thing we do is keep her in a positive environment. We have really rough days but then she’ll bounce back. Overall, she’s a really happy girl. Medically it is tough, and her diagnosis is really sad, but we try not to think about that too much because we believe mindset is everything.

I believe we create our own reality to some degree – I’m never going to let anyone determine my future or my child’s future. Yes, she might go away, but while she’s here I want her to know she’s got a place in this world.

What has navigating Nishi’s medical journey helped you learn about yourself as a mum?

I don’t let fear cripple us anymore. Our faith is stronger than our fear.

It’s hard but it’s been the biggest blessing. She’s introduced me to the best version of myself. Yes, I don’t want the suffering to be a part of Nishaya’s journey, but I feel like she’s given birth to me. Who I am today – it’s because of Nishaya. She’s brought out my talents and strengths that I didn’t even know existed. She introduced motherhood to me. It’s such a deep feeling that I can’t put it into words.

I didn’t use to be like this – but Nishaya’s diagnosis also really made me dive into self-development. I had to help myself before I helped Nishaya. That’s why I think she’s birthed a new version of me, because I had to reinvent myself in order to help my child.

How do you care for yourself when you have to care for others?

By taking care of my mind first. If my mind is strong then I can succeed in anything. I believe in living in a positive bubble.

I’ve had to live that way because I’ve seen the result. Instead of worrying about surgeries I decided to help ourselves – invested into buying a spinal suit for her – because you know that you’ve gotta help yourself as well.

As a mum I feel like I don’t want to ever live with regrets. I’m making sure that everything I have in my power I’m doing it.

Looking back on Nishi’s wish day, can you remember the best part from your perspective as her mum?

It was beautiful – the whole day. There’s so many different memories in my head. Everyone was gathered around Nishaya, and it made me feel so special that the whole day was about her. It was just before her big surgery – before it was postponed. And Nishaya loves her spa to this day.


How did Nishi’s wish affect you personally?

It’s made me a believer that there’s so many good people out in the world. It’s made me believe more in magic and miracles in the world.


What would you say to other mums who are in a similar situation?

Don’t give up. We are so blessed to have our children. Yes, the journey is hard, but it’s the greatest blessing to have these kids come into our lives – they teach us so much.

It’s just about love. Just love your kids.

And mums, take care of yourselves as well. If you can, have someone help you. It’s important to have some me time. You’ve gotta fill your cup up first before it can overflow to other people.