My Musings – Mothers
We took a little hiatus for the past few months to host our annual Muse Conference. This year, we brought some incredible voices, stories, and conversations to our Muse stage. Here is a quick snippet of the wisdom and wit that was shared from muses such as Iranian Nobel Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Maasai Tribal Leader Sabore Oyie, teen filmmaker Ily Logeais, pro soccer player Joanna Lohman, ORIGIN publisher Maranda Pleasant, Oiselle CEO Sally Bergesen, firefighter Trish Connelly, marine helicopter pilot Kyleanne Hunter, and more:
and learned the phrase “brew to dump.”
We were told that “our issues are in our tissues”
and “our wound is our gift.”
We met a woman once called “the top vagina jihadist”
and another who told us “our biggest opponent is our smallest self.”
Teen muses told us that “when you show someone your creativity, anything is possible”
and that it is “tiring to conform to society.”
We heard that “our body is our instrument”
and “everyone has a voice that should be heard.”
We learned that “your satellite sisters are the ones you call when the worst thing happens and the ones you call when the best thing happens,”
that “not winning doesn’t make you a failure,”
and we should “try and fail rather than fail to try,”
because in the end, you have to “put on your game day vagina”
and “live your life with your whole heart and soul.”
Most importantly, you must “have faith in your path.”
We’ll be posting some of the full conversations over the next few months. I decided to dedicate this month to all the mothers. This past Mother’s Day, I woke up early and went for a run. I grabbed one of my favorite running shirts and threw it on without thinking about the semblance of the statement on it: Every Mother Counts. After my run I went to the grocery store, again not thinking about the shirt I was wearing. The cashier gave me a funny look and asked “is your shirt meant to be sarcastic or something?” I was caught off guard. I told her it was far from sarcastic and is actually the name of a non-profit organization that works to promote maternal healthcare. It did make me think about it though. What does “Every Mother Counts” mean beyond support for an amazing non-profit? I’ve spent my last few morning runs musing over that question. There are so many ways to be a mother; childbirth is just one of them. There are birth mothers, adoptive mothers, step mothers, surrogate mothers, foster mothers, godmothers, and mothers-in-law. There are also mothers of invention, mothers of companies, mothers of movements, mothers of nations, and of course Mother Nature. Every mother counts.
Christy Turlington Burns is a global maternal health advocate, mom, traveler, model, the director “No Woman, No Cry,” and the founder Every Mother Counts. In 2011, I was invited to attend the CARE Conference in DC and lobby the hill on behalf of international women’s rights. To prepare for our lobbying efforts, we heard from a variety of passionate global women’s advocates. Christy Turlington Burns was one of them. She had recently founded Every Mother Counts (EMC) and had been traveling the globe gathering firsthand accounts of the maternal healthcare crisis. There was something about her presentation of these stories, along with the facts and figures, that struck me deeply. It was obvious that this issue was her life’s work. I am always inspired by those whose work exudes a sense of deep personal purpose. Fast forward 5 years. I attended the EMC annual MPowered Luncheon in New York earlier this month. Once again, I heard from Christy about why this issue means so much to her. I also heard personal stories from frontline maternal healthcare workers and those who have lost loved ones to preventable complications during childbirth. I was twice-struck. Every mother counts.
During the same New York trip, I had a lovely dinner with Gloria Steinem. It was my first time meeting her, and I was not at all surprised that at 82, she is as passionate, quick-witted, and smart as you would imagine one of the mothers of the modern feminist movement to be. I was thrilled that my 13 year old daughter was with me. She sat next Gloria in the circle of women, and I remembered an excerpt from an article where Gloria was quoted as saying:
“You know, people often ask me, at this age, who am I passing the torch to? And I always say, first of all, that I’m not giving up my torch, thank you very much….I’m using my torch to light other people’s torches. Because the idea that there’s one torch-passer is part of the bonkers hierarchical idea—and if we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light.”
I was so very grateful to be witnessing my daughter’s torch flicker brightly beside Gloria’s. If we each have a torch, there’s a lot more light. Every mother counts.
This month, I invite you to read some of the stories of the mothers we’ve featured here in Muse Magazine ~ birth mothers, mothers of social change, mothers of creativity, mothers of ideas, etc. They each have something beautiful to share with us, they each hold their own torch. Together, we really do have the power to bring more light to this world. Every mother counts.
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