Former model and current activist Christy Turlington Burns has been working hard for the last several years to raise awareness about the health complications that women around the world face when they are pregnant and giving birth. According to her organization, Every Mother Counts, about 358,000 women die each year due to complications in pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman who dies each year in childbirth, 20 to 30 more suffer from lifelong debilitating disabilities.
To raise awareness about these dreadful statistics, Turlington Burns has launched a viral campaign, asking mothers around the world to boycott Mother's Day and let their collective silence remind the world just how much a mother can be missed. The video above describes the "No Mothers Day" campaign in more detail, with the help of Turlington Burns and other famous mothers including Ann Curry, Kelly Rutherford, Debra Messing, Blythe Danner and Jennifer Connelly, to name a few.
What do you think about this campaign? Personally, I love the idea of utilizing Mother's Day to raise awareness about mothers around the world who don't have it nearly as easy as we do here in the U.S. But, instead of using silence, why don't we use our voices to talk with friends and family about how happy we are to be mothers and how strongly we feel about the issues of maternal mortality around the world? After so many years of fighting for a voice, do we really want to go mute in the hopes that others will get the hint?
I'm not saying this because I want a lot of lavish gifts on Mother's Day. But I'll be darned if I'm going to turn down my daughters' handmade cards and (hopefully) homemade breakfast in an effort to support global motherhood.
I whole-heartedly support Every Mother Counts and the work the group does around the world — but this particular campaign does not work for me. If I thought for one second that staying off Facebook, turning off my phone, and asking my little girls not to make breakfast for me on Mother's Day would really help mothers around the world, then I would do it in a heartbeat. But I don't. Because it won't.
But I won't abandon this cause altogether, and I am grateful that this campaign brought it to my attention. This Mother's Day, I will not boycott the day. And I will not be silent. Instead, I will talk to anyone who wishes me a happy day about the important role that mothers play and what we can do to make sure that all mothers, everywhere, get the opportunity to play that role.
This Mother's Day, I will use my voice to support mothers all around the world. And then I will snuggle with my own little girls and happily enjoy the opportunity that I have to be their mother.