Please Don’t Co-opt Me for No Mother’s Day
A bunch of celebrities and bloggers have gotten together to make a video for a movement called No Mother’s Day, which asks for women to not celebrate Mother’s Day this year in order to bring awareness to women who die from childbirth throughout the world; 358,000 women each year. It’s a worthy cause, and I certainly support it. BUT.
Babble’s article about the video and movement states:
It also brings awareness to infertility and the would-be mothers who have struggled to conceive on their own.
Now watch the video and tell me where the video brings any awareness to infertility.
Can we please not neatly wrap up reproductive health issues with a shiny bow? Can we not mix our talk about fertility treatments with abortion? Or talk about abortion with mammograms? Or talk about maternal death with infertility?
Unless we are literally bringing awareness to all the various issues, can we not pretend that women’s bodies and the issues surrounding them are not complex and messy?
It is one thing to be supportive of all reproductive health issues, standing together not only for strength but to not negate each other’s arguments. To not contradict ourselves. But it’s another to believe that we can talk about one and educate the world about the others simultaneously, without doing the hard work of presenting the actual issues at hand.
Because talking about maternal death does nothing to educate the public about infertility. It would have been lovely if the videomakers had added infertile women to the mix, pointing out how they too will not get to hold children if we don’t work to overhaul accessibility to fertility treatment through things such as the Family Building Act. Not expected in the least, but lovely nonetheless. BUT since they didn’t add infertile women into their video, it would behoove Babble to not pretend that this does anything to educate the public on how infertile women are approaching Mother’s Day this year. Because I don’t get a sense from this video that anyone is walking away with any type of consideration to the childless woman or the mother experiencing secondary infertility.
Truly, I can get behind No Mother’s Day and support it. I think the world does need to be better educated about maternal death, especially preventive measures. But please, TIME magazine, don’t think that infertility = a lack of desire to celebrate Mother’s Day as you imply in your article:
Urging moms to boycott Mother’s Day is kind of like asking patriots to burn the flag. It seems sacrilegious. Like it or not, Mother’s Day has achieved a singular spot in the American calendar.
But there are plenty of people who don’t look forward to the occasion — those who might be battling infertility or have lost their mothers come to mind — and it’s that latter group that may feel a particular kinship with what model-turned-maternal activist Christy Turlington Burns is trying to do.
Believe me, we want a reason to celebrate it, and our problem with the holiday is more about the sting out outsidership. And I would love for the public to be educated about that; to understand what a mixed bag Mother’s Day is in the infertile world as we straddle our relationships with our own mothers with our desire to have children, and all that comes after whether we achieve parenthood or not.