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Christy Turlington Asks Us to Skip Mother's Day

By ceridwen |

Will you participate in No Mother's Day?

In a bold, seemingly counterintuitive move, Every Mother Counts, an organization devoted to saving mothers’ lives, is asking moms to skip Mother’s Day this year. Don’t take the calls, ask that gifts not be given, ignore the Facebook love.

Christy Turlington (who started the organization) and a handful of other celebrity and civilian moms (including Blythe Danner, Debra Messing, Jennifer Connelly, Dooce blogger Heather B. Armstrong and Babble co-founder Alisa Volkman) contribute to a moving video plea to raise awareness about the 360,000 women who die each year from preventable pregnancy or childbirth-related problems. Have a look:

Turlington tells the Washington Post that pretty much everyone she asked agreed to participate in the video: “I had a few people that said, ‘Good. I hate this holiday and I can say I’m not participating.’ Some people have a negative feeling toward it, and I think it’s because of all the commercialization.”

I was raised to be skeptical of Mother’s Day, which generates over $18 million in retail spending, partly due to the commercialization aspect, but also the problematic notion that hardworking moms just want a bunch of stuff, chocolate and charred toast on ONE DAY in return for unpaid labor the other 364. But I know not everyone feels this way. This can be a meaningful holiday for mothers.

According to the Washington Post, Turlington doesn’t intend this to be an economic protest and she “doesn’t begrudge all the restaurants and florists who see boosts in business. What she’s looking for is a shift in attitude. She was inspired by Julia Ward Howe’s 19th-century anti-war proclamation that mothers were tired of seeing their sons and husbands killed in the Civil War.”

If you’d like to make this year’s Mother’s Day a day that’s about all mothers, including mothers who are at risk of losing their lives, please spread the word and send this video around. You can also go to or “like” the organization’s Facebook page.




Follow Ceridwen’s pregnancy and birth blogging on Facebook or check out her book, From The Hips.

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About ceridwen



Ceridwen Morris is a writer, mother, and certified childbirth educator. She is the author of several books and screenplays, including (Three Rivers; 2007). She serves on the board of The Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and teaches at Tribeca Parenting in New York City. Read bio and latest posts → Read Ceridwen's latest posts →

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43 thoughts on “Christy Turlington Asks Us to Skip Mother's Day

  1. catrin says:

    Totally agree.

  2. Jordana says:

    I’m not down with this at all, and it’s not only because I like my presents. It’s also because there will eventually come a time when my kids will not have me around on Mothers Day, and it won’t be because of some Internet campaign that to me seems like the equivalent of changing my Facebook picture to catch Kony or “post this as your status if you hate cancer.” It’ll be because I’ll eventually die at some point. And until that hopefully far-off day, I will savor each opportunity to celebrate motherhood with my children, and to teach them how to appreciate the people who love them.

    Also: what’s particularly bothersome about this is the smugness. I feel quite confident that the celebrity women in this video are regularly more pampered than I will be on Mother’s Day. Perhaps if you live in a series of multi-million dollar apartments and homes with personal assistants/chefs/trainers, your election of silence rather than participation in Mother’s Day is somehow profound. By my way of thinking, it’s silly and doesn’t do anything other than piss me off.

  3. Michelle V. says:

    uhm… i really don’t see the big picture here. i enjoy mothers day because that’s when all families clear their busy schedules to get together. i’m not buying into this crap.

  4. diana says:

    I really don’t see how me telling my children not to make me a Mother’s Day card is going to raise any awareness or even actually help with the serious issue of maternal death rates. It’s like those facebook statuses that say “post this if you want to help fight breast cancer (or diabetes, or whatever ailment is de rigeur at the moment).” It doesn’t actually DO anything. I think I will continue my charitable acts in real life rather than be virtually pious.

  5. Michele says:

    This makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever. How is mothers not receiving love from their family in the form of phone calls and kisses going to save a baby.

  6. fran says:

    Massive, massive epic fail.

    Christy Turlington Burns has admitted that this year her Mothers’ Day will be ‘low key’, with just a family dinner for her Mother, Mother in law, husband and kids. So, in other words, she’s not really skipping the day at all herself, is she?

  7. ceridwen says:

    I think she hopes that No Mother’s Day will make a sufficient and provocative enough of a statement to draw attention to the 360K preventable deaths per year– I am getting from these comments that perhaps something more actionable than awareness-raising might have been a good idea– maybe a one-click-one-dollar donation or something.

  8. Amy J. says:

    Turlington doesn’t like the commercialization of Mother’s Day??!! Um, hello…former supermodel paid huge sums of money to SELL STUFF to the masses.

    And, all of the women in this stupid, pointless video make money also through mass commercialization!!!!! Armstrong herself has been paid by huge corporations just over the past couple of months on her blog…Samsung, IKEA, Verizon and Levis! And to help give back she sits and stares in a video and tells women to “disappear” on Mother’s Day (while she herself is being paid to speak at some huge media summit along with CEOs from several multi-billion dollar corporations on Mother’s Day weekend!!!) Way to disappear Heather!!!


    How is treating your mom like crap or not answering your texts for a day gonna save a woman’s life!!?? Unless these dimwitted women are going to go to medical school or have millions (probably combined they definitely do…heck a few of them definitely have millions just alone) to build a medical facility in the third world, this little melodramatic cackle of hens with their sour faces and big ideals won’t do jackshit to help a single woman on Mother’s Day or any day! And, if pressed, I think they all know that. This is about THEM making THEMSELVES feel better…”look at me being all serious and talking in a circle and hear that…that’s Eddie Vedder singing a sad song about a child and it’s mother…this is “meaningful”.

    I think I threw up in my mouth a little. GET OVER YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. angie says:

    I am torn between wanting to agree with this and wanting to hate it.

    I myself already planned on hiding that day (my own mother just passed away as did my daughter).. But just because I hide that won’t help anyone/anything.

    Interesting topic none the less

  10. Lizzy says:

    Either the campaign doesn’t make sense or the author missed the point of it, because I’m completely befuddled.

  11. Lizzy says:

    After watching the video, I completely get it. It would have been nice had the author commented on the whys and hows of this campaign.

    The absence of the mother on Mother’s Day is meant to create awareness about all the mothers in the world who are lost due to preventable illness and complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

    Now THAT makes sense.

  12. caitlinhtp says:

    I have to agree with the fellow posters who didn’t get this. I really can’t understand how mothers ignoring their children on Mother’s Day raises awareness about maternal deaths across the world – it just doesn’t make sense.

  13. Heather says:

    Yeah, HOW exactly is my mom not talking to me on Mother’s Day going to help the women in Bangladesh? I don’t get this campaign at all. It’s stupid, pointless and ineffective. I lay off Facebook all the time and I don’t see any change because of it.

    Awareness does not equal change. Do something tangible. This is just straight-up dumb.

  14. Gentry Parker says:

    I get the idea and the message but can’t understand the method. I would much prefer, and commit right now, to spending that day and many more educating those I come in contact with about this important issue. I will not, however, rob my children and I of a day that they enjoy celebrating with me. None of us are guaranteed another day – Mothers or not. I will spend this day and every other day I have loving my family and friends and hope that everyone else will as well.

  15. JessieG says:

    I have lived with what happened to me for nearly 3 years (52609) and this video just helped me release, cry, and regather, regroup, remember why I am still here. NO MOTHERS DAY!

  16. diana says:

    oh, Angie. I am so sorry for your loss.

  17. ReRe says:

    seriously, you are asking mother’s to “disappear” so your children will understand “just how much a mother is missed when she is gone.” um, i’m sorry. NO. i will not do that. One day, sadly, my son will know the pain of losing his mom, i REFUSE to make him feel that before it actually happens. i’m disappoointed in the women who participated in this video. i doubt any of them have ever lost a mother (i have — i know the pain). if they had, they’d realize you NEVER want to bring that pain to your child on purpose. so stupid. why don’t we all plan mock funerals for ourselves so our kids know how it’s gonna feel to bury us.

    Mother’s day is hard when you don’t have a mom. Last year was the first mother’s day in 5 years that I didn’t feel depressed and sit at a grave and cry. But I’d never want folks to not celebrate just because my mom is gone. I cherish the 25 mother’s days I celebrated with my mama and now I’m cherishing the ones I have with my son and I’d never not want to celebrate those moments. in 30 years i want to look fondly at the macaroni art he gave to me on May 13th, instead of thinking “may 13th was the day i refused his craft so he’d realize how important i am.”

  18. Brie says:

    Oh sweet Angie, You will be in thoughts and prayers this Mother’s Day. Of course, on other days as well. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss.

    I’m just slightly confused. I thought Mother’s Day was about all mothers. Mothers to be, Moms of children, Moms of miscarriages and sadly the Moms who have passed. How is not celebrating Mother’s Day paying tribute to them? This is my first Mother’s Day. I plan on spending the day with my little family. Loving all my Mommy friends and praying for the Mommy’s who’ve lost their children or their own lives. I will have a Skype date with my Mom. I understand not buying into the corporate stuff but just ignoring it completely is silly to me.

  19. Seriously!!! says:

    Yeah like she’s not going to celebrate at all! I don’t buy it. This is the one day of the year I get to sleep in and I’m taking it!

  20. Kelly says:

    I really kind of hate this. Its “awareness” only. I’d rather get a present and a card AND make a donation to a worthwhile organization like Doctors Without Borders.

  21. Lori Nicholas says:

    I kind of get what they are doing but not really. I am like some of the other posters. How in the world will this raise awareness. I think they mean well but are just way off the mark w/ this one. Although I have a feeling this will be the viral thing of the week but not for the reasons they want.

  22. Tabitha says:

    This will be my first Mother’s Day & if I, much like Christy Turlington-Burns, had given birth anywhere other than a large, urban, Western hospital, I would not be around to celebrate.

    Three hours after my beautiful, healthy 8lb daughter arrived, I began hemorrhaging profusely & wouldn’t stop. In less than five minutes I lost over 2500 cc’s of blood (in addition to what I lost during the delivery) & literally died on the table during a Code Blue, after passing out from hypovolemic shock.

    Thanks to the quick actions of a skilled trauma team, emergency surgery, multiple blood transfusions & a stay in the ICU, I was able to walk out of the hospital, but hundreds & thousands of other new mothers are not so lucky. Especially those without access to the resources & equipment we take almost completely for granted. My case was one in a million (I am the only Code in my midwife’s twenty year career), but it highlights the risks any new mother, anywhere in the world can face, even those who are young (30 years old) & in perfect health, with no obvious risk factors, as I was.

    So, long story short, anything that gets the public talking about maternal health & mortality rates is a good thing. I will happily be participating in No Mother’s Day, to honor all those women who didn’t make it out of childbirth alive, as I was almost one of them.

  23. tyfani says:

    I get the point of this ’cause’ but think the method is rather ineffective. It’s the same method as the ridiculous ‘post your bra color’ or ‘post only a heart’ Facebook statuses. While raising awareness is great, acting in an effort to eliminate or significantly decrease the problem is the best and most sensible route.

  24. Tabitha says:

    Also, in the year since my postpartum hemorrhage, I’ve spoken with multiple practitioners (doctors, midwives, nurses), educators (childbirth class instructors, public health workers) & support personnel (doulas) only to find the most curious, but not entirely surprising trend emerge: American women do not like discussing or even contemplating maternal mortality, because it is not “supposed” to happen here, even though it does with alarming frequency.

    Pretending it is only a problem for those in emerging countries or “elsewhere” (Africa, Southeast Asia) does a great disservice, both to survivors & future victims, because it prevents an honest dialogue, hinders the development of support systems (institutional & otherwise) & denies inclusion of our experiences into the narrative of American “birth culture”.

    We are not just numbers, but women with names, faces & stories to tell. We walk among you.

    I was actually told by several friends to keep my postpartum hemorrhage experience “hush-hush”, since it might “scare” others in our Hypnobabies, crunchy mama group. If they didn’t have to hear about it, it obviously didn’t happen to anyone they knew & therefore they didn’t need to think about it too closely.

    My story will (thankfully) not be that of most other birthing women, but if discussing it helps raise awareness & empathy, then it is definitely a conversation worth having.

  25. Brittany says:

    I understand this campaign, and yet, I find it somewhat ineffective. I will be celebrating my FIRST Mother’s Day this weekend and I don’t want to give it up. I shouldn’t have to. I feel it’s totally possible to celebrate the most challenging and incredible year of my life while ALSO striving for change. I saw a midwife, I had an incredible birth (that didn’t go to plan, lol), I educated myself, and have a wonderful baby. At 11 months, we are still nursing, and I’m doing what I can to educate other women around me to empower themselves. Giving up Mother’s Day isn’t going to make more of an impact that I already am (in my own small way).

  26. Jessica says:

    Can we say “pro abortion propaganda”……

  27. Pat says:

    I agree with the other comments, which more eloquently expressed my thoughts on this video and the women who participated; THIS IS STUPID.

  28. If you’re silent, no one can hear you. If you give up your voice, no one will speak for you. Too many women are denied the right to say what they think and ask for what they need. This campaign has good intentions, but I’m not sold on the method. I’ll find other ways to help.

  29. Heidi says:

    Too late! Sorry but what exactly is this supposed to do? Should we not thank our moms? Should we not get one day where as Moms we are finally thought of first? Commercialized, sure, isn’t everything? Hey even 4th of July is commercialized.

  30. casey says:

    I don’t really see what good it will do. I would think there would be a more effective way. Personally I enjoy my mother’s day and I won’t get many more with my mom,my daughter and grandma,all of us together celebrating being moms. I love being a mom,it’s the best gig in the world. I don’t get a bunch of gifts or anything but I do get to spend time with my family which is important. I won’t give up my day when it’s not going to change a thing anyways.

  31. saida says:

    Um how about stopping Valentines day or fathers day since there’s more dead beats than fathers…im sorry mothers shld have more than one day a yr but ill take my day ….preventable pregnancies ?really ..not my problem….HAPPY MOTHERS DAY LADIES ENJOY UR DAY …GIfts of not, work or off its still ur day treat urself !

  32. Tyffani E. says:

    This is ridiculous!! I really don’t understand the point of this crap. I will be CELEBRATING my 2nd Mother’s Day as a mom. It’s to honor those awesome women who have given birth, raised and cared for children and even the ones who HAVE lost their lives from childbirth and pregnancy. Raising awareness is great, but asking people not to celebrate Mother’s Day because others have died, well that’s dumb. I almost died from an ectopic pregnancy when I was 18 ..I celebrated Mother’s Day after that happened too.

  33. ravens mommy says:

    this is my first mothers day and i will not give that up for anything i lost my first child and now i have my DD to spend mothers day with me this yaer and i am quite excited for it i dont see how they can ask women who are having their first mothers day to skip it it sounds selfish to me

  34. rhonda says:

    this is the stupidest idea! do we stop people from drving so people will stop dying in car wrecks? everything we do has it’s challenges. People know the risks of childbirth but yet we do it because we want a family. i don’t see how not recognizing mother’s day will help in any way. how is this suppose to educate people? education is about teaching, so you want to teach people to not respect their mother, grandmother, aunt, etc by honoring them on the one day of the year that we can stop and recognize all they do for us? look at how stress is on your body. stress from working full-time. being a mother. a wife. all the hats a mother wears and then think of the meds we take for stress, depression and anxiety. i bet that is much higher than people dying from pregnancy.

  35. Pamela says:

    So how about instead of not celebrating the greatest thing to ever happen to me, I ask as part of my present for people to donate to charities that are doing research to stop this from happening? Or do a viral facebook post along the lines of “repost this in memories of those moms that passed during childbirth” or some kind of ribbon thing like every other cause we raise awareness for. Its going to do the same thing. Yes, Mother’s Day is a day “hardworking moms just want a bunch of stuff, chocolate and charred toast on ONE DAY in return for unpaid labor the other 364″ as the article states. What is so wrong with wanting a thank you once a year and appreciation for everything moms do???

  36. Barbara Campbell says:

    How sad especially since my three kids and 4 grand kids almost lost me the day after Mothers day last year.I cut two main arteries and thumb and all 4 fingers off in a wood chipper. I’m glad I’m going to be here to celebrate at least one more Mother’s Day. Only some one who nearly was not here and who has as I have miscarried would know just how special this year will be. Last year Mothers Day was the 9th of May. This year its the 13th. Tomorrow will be a year and want to crawl in a hole to erase my accident.However I will be there for my grand daughters piano recital and yes we thank God for this Mothers day he spared my life. So no I won’t turn the phone off or disappear because the fact is I am here lets celebrate that.I am while we can when I’m not then there won’t be another one to celebrate.Don’t be stupid moms just say no. As the one calls her special low key Day what did she do before jump from an airplane.Celebrate every moment and cherish it as this may be indeed the last one and next year your kids won’t have to pretend your not here you may not be.

  37. Every Mother Counts says:

    We understand how important Mother’s Day is to you. All of us are mothers too, and having our children bring us breakfast in bed or making us a special gift is something we’d be really sad to go without. But the scale of the tragedy of maternal mortality is so great, and there are so many families around the world unable to celebrate Mother’s Day, that this is a sacrifice that we’re prepared to make if it raises awareness around the problem and encourages people to provide support and funding to help solve it. Of course, what action you choose to take is up to you. Say no to gifts and phone calls, or no to gifts and yes to phone calls, or just go silent on social media – it’s your choice. Our hope is that you spend a few moments on May 13th to think about those unable to do the same. We know that No Mothers Day itself and the act of silence won’t save lives- but it will raise awareness so that more people WILL be willing to take actions that will save lives.

  38. kristen says:

    This doesn’t even make sense?! Mother’s Day is a time to praise women who have devouted their whole lives to taking care of others. And they should be praised! Being a mom is a BIG job!! Maybe it’s easy to say skip this holiday when you actually have a few nannies raising your babies for you, so techinically your not doing what all the other mothers in this world are!
    This just feels like a war against moms! how horrible, what is this world coming to!

  39. Jess says:

    Happy to skip Mother’s (Hallmark’s) Day.

    Always have been.

    I also don’t do Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day.

  40. angela says:

    What about Mothers who have had to bury their children?? Should they also not acknowledge their maternity? I’ve waited years to celebrate this day,be it a box of candy or a morning to sleep in.While I support awareness,I cannot accept the validity of this.You want change? OPEN your mouths and your wallets.Also volunteer your time!………I bet that Christy Turlingtons laid back “I’m not celebrating Mothers Day honey,lets just eat in” would be the average persons whole weeks budget,come on!

  41. Lynne says:

    this is STUPID! One day a year I get a day for me. Every other day is for everybody else. Mother’s work to make every other holiday perfect for everybody else all year long. We also work to make all the other days good for them too. One day a year we get Mother’s day, where hopefully our families give us a break and try to make the day perfect for us, (in whatever way they can), and show us the love and care that sometimes they forget about throughout the year. This woman is also the same woman that sits on the Advisory Committee of Mother’s Day Every Day. Does she want Mother’s Day or not??????? Make up your mind!!

  42. liz says:

    i agree with 90% of the ppl posting on here!!! this is ridiculousy dumb!!! i work 7 days a week my son misses me and doesnt see me 75 hours a week!!! are you shYtting me?!?!i am taking that morning off just so i can spend some one on one time with my son!!! this is utterly dumb and pointless!!! stupid celebrities and their nonsense bs drama!!! get over yourselves!!!

  43. Yes Every Mother Counts says:

    Isn’t that the ENTIRE point of Mother’s Day to celebrate ALL MOTHERS? All women who have some part of Motherhood, whether they are Mothers-to-be, Mothers of children, Mothers who’ve adopted, Mothers who had to give their babies up for adoption, Mothers who’ve miscarried, Mothers who’ve lost their and babies and the Mothers who’ve lost their lives should be celebrated on Mother’s Day. How is keep our mouths shut and disappearing giving tribute to all women in Motherhood?! I just don’t get it.

    Those of you who have almost lost your lives don’t you want to be heard? Don’t you want to know others love you? Don’t you want your very existence to be celebrated? Shouldn’t those who’ve lost their lives get far more than a silent treatment? Keeping quiet doesn’t raise awareness. It makes you look smug. How will anyone ever know why you’re not celebrating Motherhood if you don’t say so? I’m sorry, I respect their purpose I think it’s great that there is a charity for this but if something ever happened to me I’d want my family and friends to celebrate my life and what I’ve accomplished. I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and whether I am here tomorrow or not I want people to celebrate the fact that I gave life to a baby. If I had lost my life during the childbirth I wouldn’t want my family to not talk about it. I woufld hope that my family and friends would give tribute to me on this special day. That my living child would understand that I paid the ultimate sacrifice and that up until the very end I loved him or her.

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