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 EveryMotherCounts.org or “like” the organization’s Facebook page.
Follow Ceridwen’s pregnancy and birth blogging on Facebook or check out her book, From The Hips.