Going Silent For a Cause: Raising Awareness About Maternal Mortality and No Mother's Day

Motherhood is having a serious media moment right now.

Beyonce brought the world Blue Ivy, Jessica Simpson finally popped, and Snooki’s swapping booze for binkies. Teen Mom is still very much a thing. Tiger Moms and weight watching mamas are landing book deals left and right. Everyone from Cameron Diaz to J.Lo is getting maternal in What to Expect When You’re Expecting this month.

And no one can stop talking about that Time Magazine cover story. Juxtaposing the “Are You Mom Enough?” headline with the somewhat startling eye contact of a mother breastfeeding her three-year-old son sparked conversation, support, and outrage all over the place.

So it’s safe to say that as a culture, we’re obsessed with mommyhood. It’s not only the norm, but it’s become chic. Trendy, even. But like just about everything else the media paints a thick layer of shiny, airbrushed fabulousness on top of, being a mom is anything but easy. And becoming a mom isn’t so simple either.

While some of us are stressing over this Sunday’s nitty gritty details (which flowers trigger mom’s hay fever again…?), some are choosing to disappear this Mother’s Day. Christy Turlington Burns is teaming up with other well-known women like Debra Messing, Jennifer Connelly and Ann Curry to promote something called No Mother’s Day:

You may know Turlington Burns as an iconic fashion model, but she’s also a global maternal health advocate, director/producer of the 2010 documentary, No Woman, No Cry, and the founder of Every Mother Counts. Inspired by the complications she suffered during her first pregnancy, Burns made the film and started the organization to support maternal mortality reduction around the world.

The campaign’s website shares some shocking statistics. For example, 1,000 women die every day from pregnancy and childbirth complications, and 90% of those deaths are preventable. Pregnancy is the biggest killer of women ages 15-19 in the developing world. And African American women in the United States are four times more likely to die during childbirth than Caucasian women.

So what can be done about all these grim facts? EMC has a Take Action page that describes different ways to donate time, money, or support. Even giving away your old cell phone can make a difference by supplying health care workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the technology to reach pregnant women in need.

So “in an act of solidarity with at-risk mothers around the world,” Turlington Burns, her famous friends, and potentially a good chunk of the 22,467 people who have “liked” the Every Mother Counts Facebook page so far are going silent on Sunday.

Will you join them?

Image via Fast Company.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carie.mcdonough Carie McDonough

    What a great cause! I’m the director of a children’s home in India, and several of our children are orphans because their mother’s died during childbirth. Thanks for sharing Michelle!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.montemurri Lauren Montemurri

    This is an awesome article and cause. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Anonymous

      TinaWhile I appreciate what she and otrhes are trying to do, some of us have looked forward to being able to celebrate that day for a long time. This is my first physical child (I lost one last year) and I want to spend Mother’s Day with her, celebrating my crossing over into motherhood. Yes, it is unfortunate that there are some who pass on from complications with the birth, however, why shouldn’t those who have made it be celebrated and treasured for having done so? Perhaps we should keep Mother’s day but do something special like light a certain color candle for an hour in memory of those who passed along the way in their attempt to become Motrhes. That’s something I can go for, not the giving up/disappearing for Mother’s Day altogether. After all, isn’t life too precious for either one of us (mother or family) to be missing on a day of celebration and thanksgiving?

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